On Tuesday, I sounded the alarm. It is imperative for every Christian to realize that the enemy is attempting to claw his way into the lives of our students at a younger and younger age. Our first reaction is to pull our kids in close and put them in the tightest bubble possible. Most of the time, that bubble is very appealing to us as parents. Unfortunately, though, if huddling up our kids in Christian circles is our only tactic, we are setting up our children to be ill-equipped to navigate the world they will live in when they step out of our doors.
At some point, our children are going to be exposed to beliefs very different from the ones we are laboring to pour into our family. When a flood of new perspectives challenges our children’s way of thinking, what can assure us that they will choose Christianity? How do we prevent them from becoming the teen that decides that there really is no God? Or that acceptable sexual expression is for each of us to decide for ourselves? Or that the protection that God’s way offers is passé?
We do not need to be afraid. We know that the Lord is more powerful than any attempt of the enemy. We can have complete peace that God’s word is true and, no matter the intellect or motive of the one casting doubt, His truth does prevail. But what must we do as parents to provide the best opportunity for our children to experience victorious lives? Is another lecture what is needed? Will making them memorize a few more verses be the secret weapon?
May I propose that the biggest influence we may have in determining the outcome of our student’s faith journey is what our children see of our faith? This is not to put more pressure on us as parents. It is to clarify that our own faith journey will have an enormous impact on our sons and daughters… for better or worse.
Proverbs 22:6 provides us familiar comfort: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” We cannot train our children in something that we are only casually familiar with ourselves.
If you are just riding on the coattails of someone else’s faith, there is little chance that those coattails will hold up another generation. If your child just sees religion as an add-on to how you operate, it is unlikely that they will see a greater need for God than you do. If all you have is religion and rules, you are probably missing God’s heartbeat toward you, and it’s even more likely that religion and rules will not be enough to convince your child that Christianity is any different from the other religions they hear about.
Christianity can stand up to any fact test, but what will inspire our children to own their own faith and to pursue the Lord is most likely going to come from them seeing God’s activity in us and through us in a compelling way. They need to see us wrestle with our faith and be willing to acknowledge reality, not just act as if “God is good all the time. All the time God is good.” They need to see us completely dependent upon Him. They need to know that He is the One who provides us with comfort, even when nothing makes sense from a human perspective.
What is it about your faith that would cause your child to desire to follow Him? If you aren’t sure, then check out next Tuesday’s blog as I give you one additional perspective on this topic.