Brynne warming up
Fires are lovely, aren’t they?  Well, let me clarify that…fires are lovely in a fireplace.  Should those beautiful flames begin to jump out into my family room, or my kitchen, or should they race up my staircase, then, of course, they would be terrifying, not lovely.

Interesting how we see the necessity for boundaries with things like fire, yet when we read the boundaries that God has wisely set up for us in His Word, we question it.  Maybe we see those boundaries as suggestions.  Maybe we reject the boundaries all together.  In this, though, we are using our own [limited] wisdom, aren’t we?  Like a child who insists on playing with her doll in the middle of the street, we insist on toying with boundaries that God has placed for our own good and protection.

Recently, I was talking with a friend about raising teenage sons.  It can be difficult to know how many or what kind of boundaries to set up for our children.  Those boundaries can vary from child to child and from season to season.  However, a comment she made really struck me.  It was something like this:

The need for boundaries does not go away.  Just because I turn a certain age doesn’t mean I no longer need them.  There are things that tempt me in life that I must erect hedges around my mind and heart so that I keep from entering into sin.

So true!  We must be diligent to raise our children so that their hearts might be those after God’s own.  Boundaries are needed, but in our zeal for creating these boundaries we must remember that they are not the cause for heart change.  Only Jesus is.  And, a changed heart is ultimately our desire, not just kids that look good (or are good-looking).

We don’t want to be fearful–we have a trustworthy God who is good.  There’s no need to be anxious!  However, we also must not err on the opposite extreme and assume that our kids are good and do not possess hearts that are depraved apart from Christ.  Is my heart good?  Do I never sin?  Is my mind full of praiseworthy thoughts all the time and I never entertain a sinful idea?  Of course not!  We know this about ourselves, yet it can be almost brutal to imagine it about our children.  Let’s be mindful of this and point the way to Jesus as He does the heart surgery in our children.   Ultimately, I desire that they have hearts that want to take sinful thoughts captive; that want to fight against temptation; and that have victory over the sin that crouches at the door waiting to master them.  I need to do less fretting and hedge-building and clear the way for the Lord to do His supernatural work in them.  Pray with me as I decrease and He increases.

Love, Wendy

Wendy Foulke

Author Wendy Foulke

Wendy is married to Dave and they have three sons and a daughter. The Foulke family has attended Christ the Word since moving to Toledo in 2007. Wendy serves as director of Women of the Word ministries and blogs at reflect-i.com. She enjoys reading and traveling. Her favorite places to visit are the UK and Montana, and she one day hopes to visit Iceland!

More posts by Wendy Foulke

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  • Avatar Mike Shields says:

    WF quote: “We must be diligent to raise our children so that their hearts might be those after God’s own. ”
    It’s not just sons one has to worry about. I know I have many areas of failure, but the one area I desire success the most in is in rearing a Godly, spiritual child. Ultimately, God’s plan is God’s plan, but the penalty for failure is high:

  • Wendy Foulke Wendy Foulke says:

    Thank you for reading the blog and for your feedback, Mike.
    To know God and make Him known to others, most especially our children, is a real privilege, isn’t it? As we grow in our own walks with Christ, we are pointing to Him and clearing the way for His work in our children. Being faithful to Him and trusting Him is a beautiful means of evangelizing our own homes.

  • Avatar Mike Shields says:

    Thanks for not deleting my reply Wendy. The post I link to is harsh, but sometimes teenagers are stubborn and need to be “scared straight”, as it were.
    It is indeed fortunate for all of us sinners that God knocked the scale off of our eyes. The level of evil upon the Earth is increasing daily and at an exponential rate. As grown adults, we must answer for our actions and while our children are born with sin, what loving Christian parent cannot look at their precious little (and not so little) gifts and not want them to receive salvation.

    That is one endeavor I hope we all have success in. BTW good blog. I’m always of the opinion that the more information one can soak up, the better.

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