March 3, 2014 1 Comment
In the post, the author laid out a challenge for Christian parents. Are we merely teaching moralism to our kids (always do the good/right thing) rather than leading them to the awareness of their need of the Gospel of Jesus? I found it a thoughtful and challenging read appropriate for every parent to consider. (If you haven’t read it, you can read it here.) The article addresses the great concern I believe every Christian parent ought to have. “AM I GETTING THIS RIGHT?”, when it comes to raising my children to a life of relationship with Jesus Christ.
In December, in response to the viral reading and comments on the original post, the author returned with an article addressing the “Five Keys to Guiding Your Kids to Faith that Lasts.” While pointing out the danger in the first post, the author left off where too many preachers perhaps leave off … sharing the problem with little/no real steps for overcoming the same. As I tend toward a “taking it home” approach to teaching/preaching, I was glad to see the second article. In it we are given the author’s take on some practical steps toward overcoming the “Pagan kid in a Christian home” scenario.
Before sharing two of the keys here, I want to say two things. First, I always preface any article or message on Christian parenting with the fact that we MUST be dependent on God’s grace and we MUST engage in ongoing prayer for God to move in our children’s hearts. Every child, Every human being has the capacity to choose a path OTHER than God … and we are always reminded that our efforts must be bathed in humble prayer that God will draw our kids to him. Having said that, I also believe the #1 key to raising Christian kids in a Christian home is that of authenticity. Our children MUST see that Jesus has made all of the difference in our lives. Our kids live with us. They see EVERYTHING, and I believe their hearts are especially tuned to notice when we are living something outside of the Gospel in our own lives. (Moralism, False front for others, External show …)
Authenticity with our kids includes honesty about our own failures, willingness to apologize when we’ve blown it, and a basic dependency on the grace of God for every day of our lives. On top of that, I believe it is impossible to pass on something we, ourselves have not embraced. THEREFORE … before checking off the list of things to DO for our kids … we ought to evaluate our own “Christianity” to be sure we’re living out an authentic, grace filled, deep love of Jesus, dependent on HIS grace … genuine Christianity to be sure!
With those two personal additions and perhaps caveats, I will say again that appreciated both of the articles, and am particularly drawn to the third and fifth “key” given in the second article. Here is his third point:
3. Help Your Kids to Fall in Love with Jesus
The foundation of a God-driven life is found by living daily in the Spirit. The common theme I hear from the parents of kids who have walked away from the faith is this: “We regularly brought our kids to church. They were very involved when they were growing up.” Here’s the problem: too may of our kids fall in love with the church (and all it’s activity) instead of falling in love with Jesus. They like the trips and the group and the experience they have. But they don’t personally get to know Christ. We must teach our kids to walk in a relationship with Him, where they listen to His voice, find Him to be altogether satisfying, and get caught up in His plan for their lives. This all happens because of love, not because of religion.
The best way for them to learn this? By watching you. They will learn what Christianity looks like by seeing your Christian life in action. If your life doesn’t regularly reflect joy in your relationship with Jesus, your kids will have a hard time embracing Him themselves.
It has been a concern of mine from day one, that my kids learn how to KNOW God in a personal way. Hearing his voice. Sensitive to the movement and prodding of the Spirit. Deep understanding of the WORD he has revealed to us.
And now point #5:
5. Teach Your Kids to Daily Submit Themselves to God
Perhaps the thing that is missing in most of our Christian homes is a fundamental realization that our lives are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price, so our daily pledge must be: “He died for me. I will live for Him.”
That means helping your kids to lay down their wants in order to serve and bless the people with whom they live, work and play. It means training your kids to see that there is a lot more going on in the spiritual world than just what they can see with their own eyes. It means you asking them,“How does God want to use your life for His purposes?” instead of the standard, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That subtle change in your wording has huge significance.
It’s not about them. It’s about Jesus and making His name great in the world.
Great points each, and you can read them all here. By God’s grace, let’s keep up the hard work and joyful task of leading our children to a life-long faith and relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!