How do you want your children to grow?
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Is it too bold for us to want our kids to grow the same way Jesus did? To grow up and be like Jesus?
That is exactly what God calls us to do, to raise them to be just like Jesus. When Jesus walked on earth, He was completely God. He was also completely a man and had to grow as a man.
So what does it mean to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor? Let’s look at their everyday definitions and at how God defines these three critical areas of development.
Wisdom: the development of the mind.
When we think of helping our kids grow in wisdom, we think of school. We think of literature, history, science, technology, math, music, and art. We think about what we can teach them at home and what experiences we can introduce them to.
These are all good gifts from God, but God tells us throughout the Bible that knowing God and seeking Him first is real wisdom (Matthew 6:33). According to Proverbs, wisdom begins when we fear God—when we honor and worship him. This means that, if we want our children to grow in wisdom, we should teach them to revere God and to know him deeply. And we learn about God and his plan for our life by studying his Word.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 17:25–26)
This is the most important question in life. We want to lead our children to a point where they know Jesus and believe in Him.
What if our children had the wisdom to really know God, to know His promises and to give God all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength? That is the kind of wisdom that will last forever.
Stature: the development of the body and the reputation
When we think of our kids growing in stature, we usually think about training for things like sports, music, and the arts. God has given us our bodies, and he wants to see them thrive.
But our bodies aren’t just for us—God is clear that our bodies and reputations are made to glorify him (Corinthians 10:31). This means that all our physical development and our reputations are for God. We need to teach our children that playing sports or developing skills is not all about them. Instead, it’s about them using everything they have for the glory of God.
When they focus on God’s glory, they will be known for praising him instead of working for themselves—no matter their skill level. And that selflessness and humility will transfer to anything your child does for the rest of their lives.
We want our children to be useful to others. Think about the way the Apostle Paul describes John Mark in his second letter to Timothy: “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Let’s build children whose stature and reputation is useful to God and to the world around them.
Favor: the development of the heart for God and for others
When we think of growing our children in favor with others, we usually think about developing social skills, manners, and self-image, so that our children will find favor with others.
It’s true that growing in these outward ways will make people like our kids. They will earn our children recognition and favor from others. But God makes it clear that he looks at way more than outward things. Remember what he said to Samuel about David: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).
So what is God looking for? A heart for God. To develop a heart for God, we must know him, experience his love, and recognize him as the source of all things.
Once children know God loves them, that love overflows and turns their hearts to serving others. Here is how the Apostle Paul describes this in the letter to the Philippians:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1–4)
What if our children were so confident in how they are loved by God that they could not help sharing that love with their friends?
This kind of unselfish love brings real favor.
Yes, children (and adults) are called to be like Jesus—to grow in wisdom and stature and favor. And here is the greatest thing: As we strive to be more like Jesus, as we study him and spend time with him, the Bible tells us that we actually do become more like Him:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
When we follow Jesus, the good news does not stop there. Even more importantly, we will be with Jesus in eternity and be perfectly like Him as he rules eternity forever. God’s Word says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
The late Reverend Billy Graham said, “We don’t know in any detail what we shall be, but we do know that we will be like Christ. And there’s really no need for us to know any more. We are content with the glorious truth that we will be with Christ and like Christ.”
Yes, it’s bold for us to want our children to grow to be just like Jesus—and it’s our joy and privilege to see them grow this way. Let’s help them grow up like Jesus together. Please let me know if I can be of any help to you on this journey.