Raising holy children

Posted on January 22, 2014 · Posted in Sanctification, Shaping Influences

A good friend asks you what is your goal for raising your children. You reply, “I want to raise children that are holy.” Your friend looks at you sadly and says, “how boring is that!”


This is the way the enemy of your soul wants holiness to be understood – as drab, boring, and uneventful. Our culture has bought into this lie as well. However, being holy is anything but uneventful. Being holy means to actively pursue a relationship with the most powerful being in the universe. Being holy requires boldness, courage, and a sense of adventure. Being holy means to be love power over weakness. Being holy means to be live in a way that changes lives and confronts evil. The awesome God who rules the universe is the model for holiness.

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” I Peter 1:15-16

God is anything but boring. To those that don’t know him, he is terrifying, hated, despised and yes, to some, boring. To those who do know him he is the source of all power, beauty, wonder and love. He is also a consuming fire and ruler of the wind and waves.  The trinitarian God is all of these things and much more. But one thing he is not is boring!

There are many ways to describe holiness. One of the most basic is to understand that being holy means being different. Holiness is being distinct, set apart. If we are to love God we must be constantly aware that he is holy. He is different. This is what we are to model for our children as we bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Today, the prevailing mood of our politically correct culture is that we should not be defined by our differences. We must all be tolerant of our differences.  A Christian has a different view. A Christian must be defined by his differences, by his holiness. A Christian is to be chaste and pure. A Christian is to return good for evil. A Christian is to follow the teaching of Scripture and not follow the teaching of human tradition and philosophy. A Christian is to be sensitive, not sensual. A Christian is to see Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the light, not a way, a truth, and a light. In short a Christian is to be holy.

If you believe that being holy is not exciting, not challenging, not interesting – in fact, boring, this is the attitude towards holiness that will be passed on to your children.

How do you present holiness to your children? Do they think being different is stupid and dull? In fact, being different, being holy, is what makes life worth living. Being different means that you take hold of life that is truly life.  Nothing that our culture has to offer can compete with awesome power of living a life that is holy, a life that is different.


Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.