There are so many good gifts we can give our children (or grandchildren)–at Christmas, and all year long. Last week we talked about three of the five best gifts to give them. Today, I’ll share the last two:
4. Give Your Children and Grandchildren Unconditional Love.
Perhaps no other gift or quality is more God-like than this one. Jesus loved us so much He gave His life for us. And He didn’t wait until we cleaned up our act or “behaved well” to decide we were worth loving. (Romans 5:8).
In the same spirit, our children and grandchildren long to know that they are truly loved and accepted by us as their parents and grandparents. They need to hear, see, know, and feel that no matter what they as kids do, we will love them without conditions. They may require “tough love” at times–just like God uses with us when we turn our backs on him or choose our own selfish ways at times. But when we become God’s children, it’s the same as with our children. The relationship is always there. And so is the love.
When they act out, do you discipline them because they embarrass you or make you angry? Or because you love them? They will sense the difference.
Do You Speak Your Child’s or Grandchild’s Love Language?
Knowing and understanding your child’s or grandchild’s love language is a great way to show that love practically. The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, or The Five Love Languages of Teenagers are great tools to help you. God knows how to give good gifts–the best gifts–to us because (1) He is God and (2) He created us, and He knows us inside and out.
Tangible gifts may spell love to one child; time, to another. The words, “I love you,” may bounce off your children’s hearts without registering. But when we “speak” their language, or give our children the kind of gifts that fit their love language, they more readily receive it in a way that “feels” like genuine love.
As husband or wife, or even grandparent, you can also give your children or grandchildren the gift of unconditional love by the way you love each other. The same kind of faithful love you show to your spouse is a built-in security wall that will make it easier for your children and grandchildren to receive that from you.
Our children can overlook many of our parenting mistakes if we will give them the gift of unconditional love–(sprinkled with ample helpings of grace) the kind that lasts from their birth–until our death.
5. Dress Them in the Right Clothes.
You can’t buy these clothes, and you can’t force your children or grandchildren to put them on. But until they are old enough to dress themselves, you can make sure this clothing is available. After that, you can pray that they will choose “the full armor of God” daily. And you can model them yourself. The “right” clothes–the full armor of God–include the following “garments.”
(1) Belt of Truth
Buckle that belt tightly around your child’s waist. Jesus is the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the truth! Teach them early to love the Bible, God’s truthful Word.
(2) Breastplate of Righteousness
Pray early on (even before a child or grandchild is born) that your children’s and grandchildren’s hearts will be protected by right standing with God. Pray they will choose to follow Jesus at a young age, so their hearts will be covered with God’s “righteousness.”
(3) Shoes of Peace
Choose well-fitting shoes that run well, ready with the gospel of peace to share with others.
(4) Shield of Faith
Give them the shield of faith, an unwavering trust in the name and power of Jesus, to equip them for times of difficulty and temptation.
(5) Helmet of Salvation
Your child’s or grandchild’s mind is where their hardest battles will be fought. Pray they wear the helmet of salvation at all times to keep their thoughts pure and clear. Remind them often of Whose they are–God’s child.
(6) Sword of the Spirit
The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. I’ve mentioned it earlier, but without this article of clothing, our kids are at great risk for false teaching and deception. Teach them to hide God’s Word in their hearts, so it will become permanent clothing and protection at all times. His Word is not a weapon for you to beat over their heads. Used accurately, it is the key to right relationship and fellowship with both a loving God and with others.
(7) Prayer in the Spirit
Pray that your children and grandchildren will live in a constant relationship of communion with the God who loves them far more than you ever could.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God….” Ephesians 6:10-11, NIV.
What about you? What gifts have you given your children or grandchildren?