God wants you to be happy. Parents and teachers don’t normally say this because it doesn’t sound spiritual, but they act like it is true. They encourage children to do things and follow paths that will make them happy. In a way, this is true. The problem lies with finding our happiness through the things of the world. The world can never satisfy us, and the happiness it gives is fleeting and depends on circumstances around us. God doesn’t want our children find their happiness in anything except for Him. God wants us to have the joy of the Lord because through that joy, we find strength and living water that will refresh us regardless of the circumstances.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
John 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Being popular/successful/liked is important. We never tell our children this, but we all want our children to be successful. We encourage them to make the best grades, to go to the dances and proms, to play on the sports teams. We even encourage our children to do these that go against God’s Word to be popular. I’m sure many of you are thinking you would never do that. So let me ask you a few questions. Do you allow your child to play on a sports team that will consistently keep him out of church? Do you allow your child to read books, play video games, or watch TV programs that are popular yet have occult references or go against God’s Word in another way? Is your child allowed to spend the night at a friend’s house on Saturday night when it means not going to church? Have you ever kept your child home from church to do homework?Do you ever encourage your child not to make waves when the school or another secular activity is teaching him something contrary to God’s Word? There is nothing wrong with being popular, successful, or liked provided your children put God first and don’t pursue those things.
John 12:42-43 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a tservant of Christ.
Follow your dreams/heart. The idea here is to encourage children to follow after what they want in life and to not let anything stop them. If we want our children to be committed to God, we need to teach them to seek what God wants for them, to follow God’s dreams and plans for their lives, and not to let anything stop them. We need to teach them to follow hard after God.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.