As moms who love Jesus, we want nothing more than to raise our kids to know, love, and follow Jesus too. But how do we best impart this devotion to our kids when we are flawed and sinful by nature? The answer, I believe, is to let Jesus transform us to become more and more like Him in the way we act and how we disciple our kids. We need a mommy make-over…not a make-over of our outer appearance but a makeover of our hearts.
What God really cares about is a continual makeover of our hearts.
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
Are we being transformed to look more like Jesus in the way we act towards our family? Are we teaching our kids to love God and love others, and are we leading by example? Are we more preoccupied with making our children happy or holy?
The Lord loves us and our families so much, and it is His desire to grow us in a deeper relationship with Him. He longs to help us become more and more like Him if we are only willing to let Him transform our hearts.
One way to help us become more like Jesus is to study how He taught His disciples. I believe God gave us the greatest example of family discipleship through Jesus’ three years of loving, teaching, and training His own disciples to follow Him. Let’s take a closer look at how Jesus discipled His followers to learn how we can be Mamas who disciple our kids to follow Him too.
Let’s first look at what it means to disciple.
Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU), an international discipleship ministry, defines the term as “a journey of intentional decisions leading to maturity in your relationship with Jesus so that you become more like Him in your attitudes, focus, and ultimately behavior.” Campus Crusade goes on to state that discipleship requires a long-term commitment from both the disciples (in this case our children) and the disciple makers (in this case ourselves as parents). The disciples eventually will disciple others (our grandchildren), and the pattern continues through the generations.
As Mamas with a heart like Jesus, it is one of our primary focuses to help our kids grow in their relationship with Christ. Let’s look at 5 ways Jesus discipled his followers.
“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ And he said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Luke 11:1-4 (ESV)
1. Jesus modeled and taught the disciples to know and love God through His Word and prayer.
When we teach our children to spend time with God by reading and meditating on His Word and praying, they are more apt to develop a relationship with Jesus.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 (NIV)
2. Jesus built a close friendship with His followers and earned their trust.
When our kids feel loved by us, they will want to listen and follow our example because they trust us.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13 (NIV)
3. Jesus warned the disciples to stay away from evil.
When we caution our children to stay away from worldly temptations, and we pray protection from the evil one, we are helping them maintain a good relationship with the Lord and not get caught in the enemy’s traps.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:27-29, 31
4. Jesus trained His disciples in godly character.
When we train our children in Biblical values according to scripture, they will learn to have a heart like Jesus and bring Him glory in the way they act toward others.
“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
Matthew 10:5 (NIV)
5. Jesus equipped the disciples to share His love with others.
When we model sharing God’s love with others and encourage our children to pursue ministry opportunities, they will be equipped for the work God has for them.
Jesus gave us a great picture of what it looks like to disciple our children. When we learn to apply these practices, we will be discipling our children the way Jesus discipled His own disciples. As we also pray for a continued transformation of our hearts, we will grow in having a Mama Heart Like Jesus: A heart that leads our kids to know, love, and follow Jesus.
Check back in the coming months, as we expand on each of these five areas to go deeper in how we can intentionally disciple our children with these principles.