What parent doesn’t love to spoil their kids – when they’re behaving of course?! I absolutely love rewarding my children when their behavior is exceptional – a date with mom, an ice-cream cone, a toy from the dollar aisle, or a fun getaway in nature. I also love spoiling my kids through the privilege of playing a sport they love or honing their musical skills.
Lately I’ve been challenged by the idea as to whether I’m spoiling them enough spiritually. Meaning, am I prioritizing their spiritual life above all the good things God gives us like sports, friends, social life, games, technology, and more? Am I lavish towards them in what will impact them for eternity – teaching them God’s word, spending time in devotions and prayer, memorizing Scripture, worshipping through our praise and thankfulness, making sure our home is one that reveals God’s love and acceptance?
Growing up, my dad and mom were intentional in how they raised my sister and me. Our spiritual lives were priority to them even as we were busy athletes. In fact, they chose our church primarily because it had a strong youth group. They also knew how important it was to set a foundation early so they encouraged us to take mission’s trips, attend Bible studies and Wednesday night Bible study, participate in church-wide evangelism, serve others through hospitality, engage in discipleship groups, read our Bibles and devotionals, and more.
I remember thinking one day, I can’t believe my parents are letting me do this, when traveling to Puerto Rico with my youth group to share the gospel and restore homes for others. I can’t recall a time when they said “no” to opportunities that would grow and stretch my faith and belief in Christ.
Even at a time when my heart drifted towards rebellion from the Lord, his Word was always sown in my heart because of their faithfulness to focus on me spiritually. I still knew God’s love for me even when I wasn’t living like it.
I’m convinced today that as parents you can never out due your children in giving them opportunities to experience God’s love and faithfulness in their life. Sports, trophies, and medals won’t last forever but the hard work you put into sowing spiritual seeds will reap future dividends.
Spoiling your kids spiritually will teach them that…
- They are to grow up not only physically, but also in their faith as they’ve tasted God’s goodness. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:2-3
- As parents God has given you the responsibility to shepherd their hearts toward righteousness- so they will not forsake it. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” – Prov. 1:8-9
- True blessing and satisfaction is found first in a relationship with Jesus – not in worldly ways of fame, power, control, lust, pleasure, self-glorification, and more. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Prov. 3:6
- The greatest command is to love God. And the second greatest is to love others. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” – Matt. 22: 37-39
- You value and care most for their soul more than any other material blessings or experiences in their life. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Prov. 4:23
We spoil our children with good things because we love to see the joy and happiness in their hearts- may it be so spiritually too. I pray that you’ll join me in taking a deeper look at the priorities in your family life. Life gets crazy busy and we all have to adjust along the way- even daily!
When that day comes for your children to leave home, may they know without a doubt that their faith in Jesus was most important because of what you taught and treasured above everything else.
** This article first appeared on TheCourage.com
Blessings to you and yours,
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. She is the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.