We get to talk to many people here at Hope Biblical Counseling Center. The two questions we always get asked are: “How can I save this marriage?” or “What in the world can I do about this child?” Of course when we talk with people there is very little joy in their lives because of the devastation of sin and the effects of making wrong choices. The choices they have made are wrong Biblical choices.  I read two verses recently in my daily time with God on the issue of joy and hope; one of those is related directly to our children.

Romans, 15:13, Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

When a person has a real intimate, personal and passionate relationship with God they can have great hope and joy!  If you do not understand what it means to have a real relationship with God and be a Spirit controlled person, please click on this link. https://hopebiblicalcounselingcenter.com/product/how-to-have-a-real-relationship-with-god-the-work-of-the-holy-spirit-in-a-persons-life/

 3 John 1:4, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 

Interesting thing about joy, many folks only serve God when they can have good things happen.

Many good things do happen and we can rejoice when they do. There are also days that things do not go as well. Sometimes devastating things happen. Joy is important then as well. I can only have joy at that moment by stopping, thinking, turning things over to God, and submitting myself to Him by asking God questions.

Several years ago I had a counseling scenario outside our church and outside the state of Arkansas that has had a devastating effect on a family scenario. It was difficult to even listen to and very sad to see. I am sharing with the folks that even in dark hours God wants us to have the hope that is in Him. 

We serve the God of answers and the Bible tells us also that He is the God of joy and hope

The only way we can know what is in a heart is to ask God to show us.

Jeremiah 17:9-10, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.  

James 1:5-6, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  (6)  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

I wonder how many times a parent asks God to show them what is in their child’s heart, if ever. 

Good parenting, I believe the Bible teaches, requires that it should be a daily thing because of the parent wanting to really help their child to live a godly life  Many times we hope that people will  live up to the knowledge they have and that they will desire to live as the Bible instructs.  Sadly, that many times does not happen because we are dealing with the human heart.  Life is full of choices.  Making right choices contributes to our joy, and allows us to still have joy in difficult days. We must diligently guard our heart and have a real relationship with God each day. It is not optional equipment, but a must do and have scenario. A rebellious parent will raise rebellious children. 

Proverbs 4:23-24, Keep (guard) thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  (24)  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

It is interesting to me that serving with joy and different aspects of joy are mentioned 155 times in the Bible. We can never make a decision for people, however the consequences of bad choices always lead to destruction. Many folks do not see that the choices they make lead to the results they have.

Proverbs 13:13-15, Whoso despiseth the word (does not give proper attention to) shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.  (14)  The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.  (15)  Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

Over the years I have found there are just people who will not listen to wise counsel. They are defensive when you try to share truth that they need to hear. They get mad, angry, attack you, or pout.

One of the things I have found is that when a person is not correctable and is defensive, they will have serious issues spiritually in their life and Jeremiah describes their ultimate view of life. A person who is growing in the Lord learns to take correction without being defensive and angry or they end up as Jeremiah describes.

Jeremiah 18:12, And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.

This describes many people today who have allowed their thought life and heart to go.

That is an ugly verse! A person needs to have the development of a godly home by guarding hearts, asking God what is in the heart, dealing with issues of the heart (theirs and their children’s) and recognizing the need to see life as a heart issue.

Ephesians 6:6, Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Proverbs 3:1, My son, forget not my law; but let (means they have to make a choice to) thine heart keep my commandments:

Wow! Did you see that? So, keeping God’s commandments is a heart issue!

Parents, the polite rebel tells you everything you want to hear and is generally compliant. Down in their heart though is a different issue. When the child gets old enough they show you what is down in their heart and many parents are devastated at that because they thought and hoped the child’s heart was different and then they find out that it is not that way. It is a rebellious and wicked heart.

Let me encourage each one today. Be diligent about your heart and the hearts of your children. When you do find something down in your child’s heart, you must ask heart questions.  Then calmly and positively draw it out of the heart. Who, what, when where, how and why? The Bible has the answer and let the child see the answer in the Bible. Show him or her what true repentance means and how to accomplish it from the Bible. A spiritual life is a heart issue. Make sure to ask God what is in your heart and your child’s heart and how He wants you to deal with it. Be diligent! Be an enthusiastic person in serving the Lord today and every day. Do it with real joy and truth. Folks, if you do not have a real relationship with God, it will affect your joy and ultimately the joy of your child. Remember this — it will be very difficult for the church to resurrect what the home puts to death.

May we all humble ourselves before God and focus on having compassion on others! Let’s seek real Biblical change. May we all have the desire to make real Biblical long-term change to the honor and glory of God!