- David Sutton
Growing Our Children in Favor with Man
Updated: Apr 9
The final way in which Luke 2:52 says that Jesus, in His humanity, increased was in favor with man. People can be pleased. Our children grow in favor with man by growing in their disposition, in their respect, and in their love.
Jesus had a pleasing disposition. Luke 2:40 says that Jesus grew and “waxed strong in spirit.” Jesus functioned in decisive ways, even as a child, getting stronger and stronger in internal qualities that mirror the nature of God. He was joyful, cooperative, helpful, confident, motivated, and determined. Jesus was pleasant to be around and could get along with people. Seeing these qualities in youth pleases people. Teach your children Bible verses that pertain to a pleasing disposition and then how to have that attitude. For instance, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, rejoice" (Phil. 4:4); "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (Eph. 5:21); "By love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13). Ultimately, children must be saved to fully and consistently display right dispositions, but you can begin training their character in what is acceptable and what is not. Be sure to model a biblical disposition yourself as the parent, and then don't allow the a wrong disposition in your children. Correct it. But also, recognize and appreciate your child's right attitude when you see it.
Jesus also showed respect. Luke 2:46 shows Jesus in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors of the law, “both hearing them, and asking them question.” Talk about confidence, inquisitiveness, and articulation—as a twelve-year-old boy! Jesus wanted to learn more about serious topics, but He wasn’t a “know-it-all.” He had a keen mind and had learned to listen to authority. He showed respect for the aged and the accomplished. His entire life was marked by respect. Jesus respected His parents and other authority, even when He hung on the cross. He also respected His siblings, even when they mocked Him. To grow in respect, children must learn to obey and cooperate; and they must value and appreciate. The right attitude facilitates respect, which pleases man.
Jesus loved people. After Joseph and Mary found Jesus in the Temple, Luke 2:51 says that Jesus went back to Nazareth with them, “and was subject unto them.” Jesus willingly placed Himself under the authority of His earthly parents. He obeyed them. Genuine obedience flows from a heart of love. Later Jesus said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
Love values and love seeks the best interest of the other party, including doing things that please them. Love shows care, love shows concern, and love shows sacrifice. Teach your children to think of others first. Teach them to serve others, teach them to sacrifice for others, and teach them to act selflessly toward others. Don’t allow selfish behavior.
Essentially, growing in favor with man is growing in obedience to the second great commandment: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mt. 22:39). When children grow in favor with God, they can grow in favor with man.
When we develop in our children the four categories Jesus grew in as a child, our children will be well-rounded young people for God’s glory.