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Raising Little Ones who Look Like Jesus

Have you seen the series of commercials by Coke Zero? I was shocked and a little sickened when I saw one of these while a group of us were watching a basketball game at a friend’s house. Coke calls it their “Enjoy Everything” marketing campaign and according to their website, this newest series is geared to tell men, “It’s not your fault . . .” and to celebrate “guys being guys.”

I’m not sure what they mean by that, unless they mean guys are to celebrate selfishness.

The commercials are promoting letting responsibility go, because you deserve to “Enjoy Everything.” Instead of picking up his in-laws at the airport, this guy was applauded by the narrator for choosing to stay home and win the battle on a video game.

What a sad marketing campaign.

What a statement on our culture.

Surely this campaign is in jest? Even if Coke is making a parody on “guys being guys,” I think it highlights the very real underlying American attitude that says “I deserve this . . . I’m entitled to living selfishly.”

How do we raise little ones to look like Jesus in a culture that promotes living selfishly?

Our entitlement culture springs from a collective selfishness, godlessness, and ungratefulness. Don’t we see that today? This passage describes it so accurately:

[box]For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God . . . (2 Timothy 3:2–4)[/box]

Sound familiar?

This description looks nothing like a description of Jesus. 

Jesus is the opposite of everything listed here. How in the world are we going to raise our little ones to look and live like Christ when the entire world seems to be going in the opposite direction?

I think the only answer is for us to model for them the way of Christ. And that’s not easy when our natural default position is: “self first!” But thankfully, we’ve been given a new nature and provided with the grace and power to live out Jesus’ command to: Love God and love others.

Jesus describes a completely different way of living than what our culture is promoting. He calls us to the way of radical love and it looks like this:

[box]“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)[/box]

So what does that look like for a mom?

How do we cultivate this kind of unselfish living in our little ones?

How do we model the way of Christ for our children that will encourage them to develop His kind of heart?

♥ Watch for opportunities to involve your child in mercy ministries: taking food to a needy family, dropping off diapers and supplies at the local pregnancy center, or sponsor a child from a ministry like Compassion.

♥ Spend some time taking your children through Jesus moments in the gospels. Invite your children to watch for every time Jesus lived out the description of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. Use this study as an opportunity to discuss ways you can implement a plan of action for practicing this kind of love in your home and with your friends.

♥ Talk to your children about Jesus’ attitude toward His mission: the cross, using these passages: Matthew 16:21–26; John 15:12–13; 1 Peter 2:21–24.

♥ Invite your children to discuss Luke 6:27–36 and consider how they could practically implement Jesus’ instructions on how to treat their “enemies.”

♥ Love your children the way Jesus loves you: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32)

How are you cultivating the heart of Christ in a culture that is promoting selfish living? 

How are you passing on the heart of Christ to your little ones?

7 Comments

  • Leanne

    Thank you, Kim, for the beautiful post! It is so encouraging to those of us mom’s in the trenches with little ones! You are such a blessing to all of us!! I will forward this to my mom’s group today, so that together we can support one another in this counter cultural movement to raise children who love the Lord and other’s first. Have a blessed weekend!!!

  • Ggina

    Kim:
    I just read your comments on rearing little ones. I wish that every parent in the world could follow the steps of cultivating unselfish love in their children. You are a true blessing to your readers. I have read a few comments from your readers today and I am deeply touched by the impact you are making for the Kingdom Of God. Love you, my Sister in Christ.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Leanne ~

    Good to hear from you! So glad you found this encouraging. I was speaking with some young moms this week who were sharing honestly how frightened they are for their little ones because of the growing spiritual darkness within our culture. I am so glad that we serve a risen Savior who’s power is greater than any evil we face!

    So glad you are passing on the post to your friends! I hope you’ll also encourage them to check out the website or subscribe for the daily blog posts.

    Keep loving on those little ones and treasuring Christ above all things! 🙂

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Jamie

    Dear Kim,
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words and practical application of God’s word. You are such a blessing to us moms and wives who are running the race and swimming upstream against the culture of today to obey God’s word and to raise children who will, Lord willing, one day grow up to love and serve Him. May the Lord Almighty bless you and encourage you today as you continue to minister to women all over! Your testimony is what keeps me going some days, your love for God and your humility are encouraging to me as I live in a difficult marriage raising my 5 little ones to love Jesus. Thank you again.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dear Jamie ~

    Thank you for your precious words of encouragement. You young moms who are swimming upstream and training your children to love Jesus are my heroes!

    I am so sorry to hear that you are in a difficult marriage. I’ll be running several blog posts on marriage next month. I pray that God will graciously step into your marriage with His transforming grace. He is able, don’t lose heart ~

    Pausing to pray for you now, dear friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Gina ~

    Good to hear from you, friend! I’m so thankful for the young moms who are in the trenches and committed to pouring truth into their little ones. Thank you for stopping in to leave such an encouraging comment.

    Much love sent your way ~

  • Jamie

    Dearest Kim,
    Praise the Lord for He is good. He is bringing healing to my marriage, small increments at a time. It seems like we are taking one step forward and sometimes 10 back BUT God! He is working and it is encouraging to see His hand in our marriage and in my life. I thank God for you and your testimony that gives me hope.