Throughout history, raising a family has never been particularly easy, regardless of the century. However, nowadays, it just feels like raising a faith-centered family has become increasingly difficult because of all the distractions that the enemy uses to make our lives chaotic. Like a huddle during a football game, it’s critically important that Christian parents pull their families back together again by refocusing everyone’s attention on Jesus during times of distress and uncertainty. Having a go-to list of Christian parenting and family resources can help guide you by providing a biblical perspective on many of the challenges that moms and dads encounter daily.
In this article, we will examine family life in the Bible, discuss some of the everyday situations affecting Christian parents today, and recommend some of the best Christian parenting and family resources that can help. Below is a list of popular topics affecting Chrisitan families that we will discuss:
- Disciplining your Christian child
- Christian parents and homeschooling
- Christian parenting and empty nest syndrome
- Christian parents and children getting married
- Christian families and abortion
- Christian parents with sick children
- Christian families and divorce
- Christian single-parent homes
- Christian interracial families
Family life in the Bible
Many Christians assume that families in the Bible modeled the type of behavior and character that God expects from us today. However, this couldn’t have been farther from the truth, and in fact, it’s safe to say that much of the drama in the family life of some of our greatest Christian heroes would have left you absolutely speechless.
This includes everything from infidelity, incest, betrayal, and even murder, to just name a few. Despite these many imperfections, God still used husbands, wives, single parents, and children to bring about incredible miracles to show us that nothing is beyond repair when our faith rests in the hands of the Almighty. To put parenting and family life in the Bible into context, in the book of Genesis 16:1-6, we see one example of a messy relationship between Abraham, his wife Sarah, and Sarah’s slave Hagar:
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
This is just one of many stories in the Bible of dysfunctional relationships between family members. In this case, Ishmael was an innocent child that was born into a chaotic situation. The good news is that God blessed Ishmael despite his circumstances, and Abraham went on to be called the “Father of many nations”. The point here is that if you are reading this article with a heavy heart because of the fiery trials you are experiencing within your own family, cheer up because God uses messy situations to do incredible miracles. Of course, only if you believe.
1) Disciplining your Christian child
Many Christian parents wonder if disciplining their children is still appropriate in modern-day society. It is important to remember that even though social standards and human laws change, God’s word has never changed on the subject of child discipline. While it may be an uncomfortable topic to non-believers of the faith, the Bible is clear about the importance of disciplining a child and the type of discipline that should be used when appropriate.
We love our children, but as parents, we must remember that every child is born with a spirit of rebelliousness that was a trait inherited from the offspring of Adam and Eve after they were expelled from the garden. This is why many children naturally adopt attitudes of selfishness, entitledness, and rebellion at a very young age. When these behaviors are not addressed early on in life, what seems relatively innocent at first can turn into turbulent teenage years and a tumultuous adult life.
Proverbs 13:24 says that “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” It’s important to note that the word “hate” is used here, which from a biblical perspective, is an intense way to describe any parent who doesn’t discipline their child, specifically in the form of physical discipline. However, the Bible doesn’t just drop the mic on this advice and then moves on to another topic, but in fact, Proverbs 29:15 also says that “the rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
Parents should not be afraid to impose physical discipline when appropriate because, without it, the child will eventually bring disgrace on themselves and their parents in the future. It is important to note that the Bible doesn’t advocate physical abuse, and there should be a clear distinction between discipline and abuse. Discipline is for the child’s benefit to discourage behaviors that will harm the child or prevent them from harming others. Abuse is always done at the “parents” benefit because of some internal frustration they carry inside themselves. God does not endorse abuse, because remember, your kids are also God’s children.
Not all corrective actions require physical discipline to be effective, and we are not advocating for that. However, the severity of a punishment should be proportional to the offense the child has made. Also, always take into account if the violation was intentional or unintentional. This is because the Bible also tells us that it’s important that parents do not frustrate their children or mistreat them. Like everything else in your Christian life, make sure you do things out of love, including disciplining your child.
2) Christian parents and homeschooling
For decades, there has been a concerted effort to extract God away from public schools and American culture. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of parents around the world to rethink their approach to schooling their children, as well as making the Bible once again a core part of their curriculum. While the pandemic itself has been devasting in many ways, God never takes something away without giving us an opportunity to rise higher in the midst of the storm. For Christian parents, homeschooling their children has provided a chance to put God back into their coursework, in addition to their traditional curriculum.
The Bible teaches us that God is a big supporter of those who seek knowledge. In fact, Ecclesiastes 7:12 says, “For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.” While secular education, such as math, English, and science are important subjects for kids to learn, we know that true wisdom in this life comes from only one source, which is the Bible itself. When Christian parents keep their children rooted in the faith as part of their formal education, their future is now in the hands of the Creator instead of relying solely on faulty human logic to navigate many life’s potholes.
3) Christian parenting and empty nest syndrome
Every year millions of Christian parents are faced with an unexpected dilemma of being happy for their children to leave the house after high school, but on the other hand, feeling sadness on the inside. This emotional weight has become popularly known as an empty-nest syndrome. More often than not, one of the reasons why Christian parents have a sense of fear of watching their kids leave home is out of fear that they might not be prepared for the many harsh realities of the real world. As Christians, after having experienced our share of emotional mountains and valleys along our journey, we know that some things can only be overcome with the help of Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10-12, the battles that our children will face are not of this world:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
In proceeding verses 13-17, the Apostle Paul speaks to the process of putting on the full armor of God and why this is necessary:
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
As Christian parents, our duties extend further than just preparing our children to be responsible adults. We must also equip them with the tools that Paul described to help them be ready for battle. The spiritual warfare that they will one day fight can take the form of many things, including a verbally abusive mate, a vindictive coworker, drug addictions, a manipulative pastor, or even a violent encounter with a stranger. It’s essential that while our children are young, we instill in them biblical values such as truth, righteousness, peace, and faith so that when they embark on the world on their own, they can bear the full weight of adulthood.
4) Christian parents and children getting married
If dealing with empty nest syndrome wasn’t challenging enough, many Christian parents also struggle with their sons and daughters getting married. And while there can be legitimate concerns about the quality of the person they are marrying, oftentimes, parents’ biggest reservations can be more on the selfish side. We see this frequently with single parents who have become best friends with their adult children and are reluctant to let go of the intimate relationship they have developed with their kids. There are two important concepts to remember if you are a parent that is preparing to give your child away in marriage, or worried about this happening one day in the future.
Marriage is an expectation of the Bible
While feelings of abandonment after children get married aren’t necessarily unique to Christian parents, what is notable is that the Bible expects that one day our children will leave and become joined with the opposite sex. Genesis 2:24 tells us, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Knowing that they will leave you one day because it is biblically ordained can help provide comfort during this time.
Marriage protects children from sexual immorality
One of the common misconceptions of marriage is that it was made solely for the purpose of finding a soulmate. While God wants us to be happy in our relationships, marriage was established primarily to protect us from sexual sin. Young adults are particularly susceptible to sexual immorality. This can cause them a lot of physical injury due to coming due to sexually transmitted disease and spiritual harm because promiscuity opens the door for the enemy to operate in their lives in a myriad of different ways.
Regardless of faith, we at BCW have never met someone who was sexually active with different mates simultaneously, and as a result, truly felt good about themselves deep inside. While sexual immorality can bring temporary satisfaction, the long-term consequences just aren’t worth it. As a Christian parent, even if you feel an impending sense of loneliness due to your children marrying, be happy that your children will be protected from the dangers of promiscuity.
5) Christian families and abortion
While it may be an uncomfortable topic for even many Christian families to embrace, one thing is for certain, and that is God hates abortion. In fact, Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us that there are seven things that God sees as an abomination, and one of them is the shedding of innocent blood. It’s important that as Christians that we don’t unintentionally create our own modified version of the Bible in order to help us better assimilate into the cultural trends of modern-day society.
Although the debate between both the pro-life versus pro-choice perspectives consumes national headlines outside the home, as Christian parents, it’s essential that we teach our children inside the home the truth about what God says about the matter and prepare them to make the right decision should they find themselves facing this tough situation.
There was a story about two men who were having a conversation one day, and the first man told the other that he had gotten a woman pregnant by accident. He didn’t want to keep the baby, largely because he did not see a future with the woman in which he impregnated. The second man, while listening to the story, received a message from Jesus, telling him to tell the first man that rather than having an abortion, he should have the baby and then give it up for adoption. At least then, Jesus could bring the child into a good home of a couple who weren’t able to have children.
We see through this true story that Jesus understands that people will make mistakes, but He would rather the child be born and given into adoption rather than never being given the opportunity to live in the first place. Even though, for some, this may be an inconvenient truth, abortion is never okay in the eyes of God under any circumstances. When in doubt, remember these words from Proverbs 31:8-9, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
6) Christian parents with sick children
As parents, we try to do everything possible to shield our kids from sickness and disease. However, times of pain and suffering will be unavoidable even for the most innocent among us. While frequent trips to the doctor’s office and late nights spent by their bedside can become emotionally overwhelming, it is essential to always keep a biblical perspective on sickness and healing.
During Jesus’s time on earth, a large portion of His time was spent healing the sick, including children. It is important to note that in almost all cases in which Jesus healed a child, the parents of the child had to travel to Him and beg for help. In other words, they had to be proactive in finding a solution to their problem. As told in John 4:46-54, the second miracle Jesus ever performed was the healing of a Roman official’s son:
46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” 49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” 53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. 54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.
But how exactly does this story apply to your child’s situation? Let’s breakdown the steps that the Roman officer took to receive his blessing:
He went looking for Jesus
Often, when we have a sick child, it’s easy to get lost amid our own despair and sadness, and we completely forget to go looking for Jesus. The Roman officer heard about Jesus and immediately went to find Him. The officer could have allowed the weight of the situation to convince him that things we hopeless. But, he didn’t give up and ultimately found the man that could rescue his family from a bad situation.
He begged Jesus
By this time in Jesus’s ministry, He had only performed one other public miracle, which was turning water into wine. So it’s reasonable to think that Jesus had not yet risen to the climax of His popularity, and yet, the Roman soldier still begged Him for help. This gives us an idea of the level of desperation inside the Roman soldier official to find help.
He was humble
During the lifetime of Jesus, the Jews were controlled by the Roman authority under emperor Tiberius. So from a political and social standpoint, the Roman officer had power over Jesus. However, when faced with a dire situation, he humbled and submitted himself to Jesus.
He trusted that Jesus would do what He said
Once Jesus told the Roman officer that his son would live, the story says that the officer took Jesus at his word and departed. Sometimes in our desperation, it’s easy to completely miss the answer to our prayers because we become trapped in our own reality that nothing will ever change. The Roman official believed Jesus and waited until he received word that his child was healed.
His entire household became believers
Jesus never likes to waste a miracle, and He loves being efficient in His work. As we see in the story, by Jesus healing the young boy, He converted an entire household into believers. For this to happen, everyone in the official’s house needed to already have a spirit that was receptive to making radical changes in their faith.
In your household, today, are there people that would deepen their faith upon seeing your child get healed? Or would some be joyful temporarily but soon forget what the Lord had done for their family members once things returned to normal? If you are a Christan parent with a sick child, the very thing holding your household back from getting your blessing may be a pervasive spirit of doubt or unbelief. Or, it could just be the time has not yet come for Jesus to bring the healing. In either case, work on raising the entire household’s faith and never stop praying for your miracle with all your heart, mind, and strength.
Christian families and divorce
Marriage is not easy and comes with stretches of high moments as well as low ones. The desire to want to throw in the towel on a spouse always seems greatest at the height of the turbulence. The good news is that God knew this would be the case and provided us with a parachute to slow the descent into divorce. That parachute is the covenant that was made between you and your spouse and God when you were married. We will get to this more in a second, but first and foremost, except in cases of adultery, getting a divorce is forbidden by God. This reiterated many times throughout the Bible, but Malachai 2:15 tells us precisely why God disapproves of divorce:
And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
God does not approve of divorce for one simple reason, and that is because when you entered into a union with your spouse, you both signed a contract with God. As part of this three-way negotiation, you agreed to produce Godly offspring as part of this deal. This contract is the parachute that God gives you while in rough times, which is knowing that your marriage is about more than merely each of you “being happy” at the moment. Divorce damages families and weakens children’s spiritual protection, making them prime targets for the enemy to invade their lives.
Your union serves a greater purpose in the Kingdom of God, which is why even though God won’t stop you from walking away from a spouse, you should know that breaking a contract does have it’s consequences in heaven like it does on earth. Just think about all the stories of emotionally broken adults who all trace the origins of their lives’ disfunction back to a single event, which was when their parents got divorced.
As a Christian parent, your allegiance is to God first and your children’s spiritual protection second. This should always outweigh the emotions that are telling you it’s time to end the marriage. Also, keep in mind that it’s not your emotions trying to convince you to get a divorce, but it’s the enemy putting those thoughts in your head. This is why married couples should seek counseling from a reputable Christian pastor who can provide you with advice from a biblical perspective, which is the only way to find real solutions to spiritually-oriented problems.
Christian single-parent homes
It was never God’s plan for any man or woman to end up as a single parent; however, due to life’s circumstances and changing social norms, over the last 50 years, single-parenthood has greatly increased from where it was halfway through the 20th century. Regardless of the reason why a Christian man or woman becomes a single-parent, as long as it’s not due to divorce, God has a magnificent plan for your family’s life. It is important to note up front that there are few topics in the Bible that God takes more seriously than the treatment of the poor, widows, and orphans, as told here in Exodus 22:22-24:
You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
These groups carry a special place in God’s heart, and few things anger Him more than seeing these groups mistreated or taken advantage of. God vowed that He would become a Father to the fatherless, but that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t many tough days that lay ahead for many Christian single-parent homes. Sometimes when we are faced with fiery trials, it’s important to maintain the proper perspective and find the light in the darkness.
For example, we at BCW have encountered many single mothers who have struggled to raise their children in both poor and affluent social environments, and for different reasons. A common characteristic between many of these stories is that the child’s natural father was a disruptive or toxic force in the household. Or vice-versa, when we encounter single fathers, it’s almost always because the mother has become a destructive presence in the home. In either case, God removed one of the parents intentionally to minimize the long-term damage to both the responsible parent and the child.
However, not all single-parent households are the result of the fault of either parent, but because of a death. If we take a look at the Bible, many of the examples of Jesus healing a child came when both parents were present, but Jesus never excluded single-parents from receiving their miracles as well. Luke 7:11-17 tells a story about a widow who received a timely but unexpected miracle:
11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
What immediately jumps out about this story is that in verse 13, it says that Jesus’s heart went out to the widow and told her not to cry. The second interesting note is that this miracle was one of the few instances in the New Testament in which Jesus performed a miracle for someone who wasn’t actively pursuing Him looking for one. We know that from the days of the Book of Exodus, all the way through the ministry of Jesus, God’s stance on the fatherless or motherless has never changed. So if you are in this situation today, know that you are a prime candidate for Him to do something extraordinary in your life.
Christian interracial families
In this day and age, it’s deplorable to see the challenges that Christian interracial families deal with daily. And to make matters worse, it’s even more disheartening to see other Christians as the culprit behind the venomous rhetoric and criticisms. The Bible is the single most important book in human history. However, many people have used its powerful words out of context to pursue ungodly agendas over the centuries. God has never supported prejudice or discrimination in marriage based on skin color.
Today around the world, a significant amount of racial discrimination is based solely on skin color and not ethnicity, which again, God has never supported. In the Old Testament, God prohibited the Jews from marrying people of other nations mainly because other nations at the time were deeply involved in polytheism, occult, and other unclean cultural practices that would have enticed the Jews to serve other gods. But not because other nations had a different skin color than the Jewish people. Keep in mind, the vast majority, if not all, the stories in the Bible took place in the Middle East and Northern Africa, so much of the population tends to have a darker completion anyway.
In Numbers 1:9-12, we encounter an Old Testament story about God confronting Moses’s brother Aaron and his sister Miriam who had privately criticized Moses for marrying a Cushite woman.
9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them. 10 When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease, 11 and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.”
This is a clear example of how God views interracial marriage and those who speak out against His servants who marry outside of their race. God unequivocally supports interracial marriage, and anyone who says otherwise is not basing their opinion on the contextual evidence provided in the Bible. Today, if you are part of a mixed-race family and you are a servant of the Lord, it’s important that you know that you have a defender who will bring judgment against those who criticize you, just like He did for Moses.
Christian Parenting and Family Resources
We have explored the various topics that Christian parents and families deal with every day and hope this article was able to bring some context to a situation that you may be experiencing right now within your own household. God is faithful to His servants and sent us His only son Jesus Christ so that we could all have hope and a future. If you would like to know more about Jesus or looking for Christian prayer resources, click here.