What’s your reason for having children?
When somebody asked me why I had children, my honest answer was, “I don’t know.”
It’s what most people do after marriage. I had been married seven years so maybe it seemed like the time was right. Maybe I was bored with the career track and ready for a change. Or maybe it was pure sentimentality. Seeing cute babies sleeping peacefully in their mother’s arms offered a gushy vision of motherhood.
My husband had wanted kids for years but I said I wouldn’t have them until I felt ready. I didn’t define what ready was but I knew I wanted to have enough money so I could stay home with my kids. But we never took time to figure out how much is enough. Having kids was obviously not very high on my priority list.
When I finally got pregnant, it wasn’t because we decided we were ready. It was more of a spontaneous, “whatever will be will be” kind of moment.
We had two children without ever questioning why. As if being responsible for another human life wasn’t a serious concern.
My husband and I didn’t have any reason for having children.
But we also didn’t have a relationship with God.
We didn’t know God had special reasons for people to have children.
Nor did we know some of these crazy reasons other people have children.
21 Reasons Why People Have Children
- Children entitle you to major tax savings.
- Children get you better parking.
- Children keep you from doing crazy things.
- Children renew your thirst for knowledge.
- Children make you sexier, they’re a chick magnet.
- Children increase your self-esteem.
- Children remind you to stop and smell the roses.
- Children make you happier.
- Children can take care of you when you get old.
- Children make you laugh.
- Because I love babies.
- It’s human nature – instinct to preserve the species.
- To give your parents grandchildren.
- To give back to society.
- To embody the parent’s love for each other.
- To have your own bloodline.
- To have somebody to love me.
- To start something different – bored with the same old thing.
- To carry on family name.
- Parenting is something else to do with your partner.
- You will have something meaningful to live for.
Some might seem valid, others just sound silly. But these are actual statements people made! But the problem is, most of these are self-centered reasons.
When Albert Einstein was asked, “What’s the meaning of life?” he replied, “To create satisfaction for ourselves and other people.”
That is a good summary of the 21 reasons why people have children.
3 Things About Christian Parenting You May Not Have Known
But Christians are not called to live for their own satisfaction, or the satisfaction of others. They are called to live a life that glorifies God by reflecting His image.
When people have children for selfish reasons, they are not fulfilling God’s will for their lives.
In fact, having children for the wrong reasons is considered disobedience. Our calling in life is to love God with all our heart, mind and strength. If we have children to satisfy our own fleshly desires, we put ourselves above God. We love ourselves more than we love Him.
#1 Having children is a command, a privilege, and a way to reflect the image of God in the world.
At the beginning of time, God commanded the first married couple to have children. God could have created children, but instead he gave Adam and Eve the directive to procreate. It was one of their blessings.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
From the very beginning, God had a specific purpose for populating the earth. He wanted it filled with godly offspring – people who would know and worship God.
Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
#2 Having children and parenting is a way to glorify God!
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
Maybe you had kids for the wrong reasons. Or maybe like me, you had no particular reason at all. Does it really matter?
#3 Your reasons for having children will affect how you parent them.
Motives affect methods. When you have wrong motives for having children, you most likely will use wrong methods for raising them.
Wrong Reasons For Having Children
Referring to the “21 Reasons” list above, most of the reasons for having children are purely selfish. Parents are motivated by benefits for themselves.
When you want children so you’ll have somebody to love you, you teach that loving a parent is their primary duty and you are teaching them to be idolaters! Your real duty is to teach them to love God first and foremost.
You will have wrong responses to them when they don’t act loving towards you. This will teach them that love is based on merit. They will become like the proud and self-righteous Pharisees when you are pleased with them.
But when you express your disappointment when you don’t feel loved, they will not grasp their need for a Savior who will love them unconditionally. They will attempt to earn favor with God through their own merit. This is a complete denial of the gospel they so desperately need.
If you have a child so you’ll have a caregiver when you get old, you deny him the dignity he deserves as an individual person with his own unique, God-ordained purposes in life.
Children are commanded to honor their parents during every stage of life, but that is not their only role. You fail as a parent if you do not instruct them how to have a relationship with the God of the universe and seek His direction for their lives.
If you have a child to relieve the boredom in your life, what happens when you get bored with being a parent?
And if you’re looking for a boost to your self-esteem, I promise that children will only prove how bad you fail as a parent!
I wasn’t aware of God or His purpose for my children when I had them. My oldest son was three years old before I was saved, and it took years of bible study and prayer before I understood that life is not about me.
Right Reason For Having Children
The right motive for Christians having children is to honor God through procreation and making disciples.
I am not saying that people who choose to not have children are disobeying God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. Nor am I saying that couples who cannot have children because of physical limitations are disobedient.
The point is, whether you already have kids or are considering it, your motives and methods for parenting should align with God’s purposes.
What I Wish I Knew About Having Children 20 Years Ago
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
What The Bible Says About Having Children
In order to have right motives for having children, you need to view them the same way God does. They are precious, yet they are sinners.
These may seem like contrary characteristics but both truths equally exist.
Your children are a blessing.
Your children are valuable. Despite their weaknesses and flaws, they are made in God’s image. Because they are a gift to you, you should acknowledge it is a privilege to have them and you should accept and treasure them for who they are. They may come in a small package, but they are filled with great potential!
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Your children are a responsibility.
Your children are sinners. As sinners, they do not glorify God but reject Him. It’s your responsibility to point them to the only one who can redeem them from their sin.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
Your children’s hearts are a mission field and you’ve been given a ministry to point them to God. It is a high calling.
In Jesus’ day, caring parents brought their babies to the Lord for blessing. They wanted them to know the God who created them and become a member of His kingdom.
Jesus used the opportunity to teach the Pharisees that legalism wouldn’t gain them a pass into His kingdom. Only those who realized they had nothing to offer God but trusted in His grace for salvation would enter the kingdom.
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Children tend to know they are dependent upon others. Your job as a Christian parent is to teach them about God, to depend on Him, and pray for His mercy to save them.
You will have great challenges, as well as great opportunities.
And there are great rewards to those who are faithful.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.
- Having children is a command, a privilege, and a way to reflect the image of God in the world.
- The Christian parent’s motives and methods for parenting must align with God’s purposes.
- You need to view your children the same way God does–sinners in need of His grace.
- You glorify God when you parent children according to God’s principles defined in the bible.
- Your children are gifts and you are a steward who is accountable to God to manage the children He put under your care.
- Whatever your reasons for having children, it’s never too late to learn God’s way of parenting them.
As a child of God, I experienced my heavenly Father’s gracious parenting of me. And in the process, I learned His ways of how I should parent my children with grace. It didn’t happen overnight.
Although I felt inadequate through all my parenting years, His word says that all things work together for good. Even in my failures, He used parenting to conform me into the image of His Son.
You might feel like a failure as a parent. That’s the best place to start because God gives grace to the humble.
God’s grace is available to all Christian parents who depend on Him.
2 Corinthians 12:9
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
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