- David Sutton
Growing Our Children in Favor with God
Updated: Apr 9
The Bible teaches that Son of God shared eternal glory and fellowship with His Father. But when He came to the earth as a child, the Lord Jesus increased in favor with God. The word favor is often translated “grace,” which can have the idea of "pleasing." Jesus never sinned, but He did grow in His ability to please God. God was increasingly pleased with the Lord Jesus as He grew into an adult. God can be pleased, and our children can grow in favor with God through their understanding of Scripture, their desire for spiritual things, and their maturity in obedience.
First, their understanding of Scripture. The context of Luke 2:52 shows Jesus in the temple as a twelve-year-old boy hearing the doctors of the law and asking them questions. The fact that Jesus was interested in spiritual things pleased God. Spiritual interest comes from personal choice. At the same time, interest can be cultivated by teaching the Bible to your children and showing them the greatness of God’s Word along with your own desire for and obedience to God’s Word.
Teach your children the Word of God, and teach them to obey the Word of God. Deuteronomy 6:7 says to talk about God’s Word all throughout the day. Timothy from a young child was taught the holy Scriptures by his mother and grandmother, so much so that he knew and understood the Bible. Those same Scriptures made him wise unto salvation (II Tim. 3:15). God is pleased when your children learn the Bible, especially as those verses relate to salvation. Teaching your child to obey the Bible elevates the utmost importance of following God's Word. Children are trained up in the way they should go by first framing their character and their basic knowledge of Scripture. Biblical restraint coupled with Biblical instruction points a child to Christ. This please God.
Second, their desire for spiritual things. Our children grow in their desire for spiritual things by watching the genuineness of our example, from their own involvement, and ultimately with their personal salvation. When we model to our children love for God and a desire to obey His Word, as well as a love for serving Him, we show that our faith is genuine. In addition to our teaching, our example instructs them to desire fellowship with God.
The child Samuel wore a linen ephod when he served along Eli the priest (I Sam. 2:18). Even though Samuel did not yet know the Lord, wearing the ephod showed that he actively served the Lord. Involve your children in aspects of worship and ministry. Sing together, take your children evangelizing, and involve them in serving in the church. As well, teach them to play musical instruments for the glory of God. These activities help your children please the Lord.
Third, their maturity in obedience. Your child’s spiritual maturity causes him to grow in favor with God. Saved children will grow in their sanctification. When they are saved, help them put off sinful patterns and put on righteous patterns. Help them grow in their obedience. As their faith is tried and they become more like their Master, they grow in favor with God.
Essentially, growing in favor with God is growing in obedience to the first great commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Mt. 22:37). The salvation of our children pleases the Lord. Lead them toward salvation, which requires genuine faith and repentance (cf. Mt. 19:14).
Our children can please the Lord. This comes through their doing and believing the kinds of things that please Him, ultimately with their salvation and then living a life that glorifies God. As parents, we have the responsibility to train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When we do and our children cooperate, they grow in favor with God.