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God’s beautiful gift of having children comes with the weighty responsibility to raise them to love Jesus above all else. When a baby is born, parents, family, friends and church members rejoice in the arrival of a tiny infant made in the image of God. However, raising a child can be exhausting! Kids grow up and face new things every day, and while parents hope to protect them from mistakes, they also want them to have a chance to grow and find their own way.
Parents are more prepared for some of these events than others. A child facing new fears or being left out for the first time can often be consoled with a hug, a trip to grandma’s, or some ice cream. They are learning and growing and, for the most part, enjoying the comfort of having their parents by their side every step of the way to guide them and provide security. As kids continue to grow and challenges become more difficult, however, they begin to be more influenced by other things, and life inevitably gets more complicated for everyone involved.
As adults, the biggest mistake we can make is being surprised by what this generation is facing on a daily basis. They are constantly bombarded with negative messages about where to place their identity, self-image, relationships, and what behaviors are acceptable or even admirable.
In the midst of all this, it is up to parents to provide their kids with a solid faith foundation on which to stand when faced with these things.
It is up to parents to not just raise their kids to be productive members of society, but to know the Lord and desire him above even their own worldly desires. Accomplishing this is the first step toward educating kids about the biblical approach to God’s plan for them. We must accept that, just like all people, kids are sinners; and sinners sin – oftentimes intentionally seeking out sin. While you cannot be there for every misstep, you can cultivate an open relationship with your kids through time well-spent, allowing them to feel they can come to you with any major or minor struggle or question. Here are three ways to provide your kids with a foundation of faith to help them stand strong in the face of any temptation.
- Teach your Kids to Love the Word and the God who Wrote It
Begin with Scripture, and help your children to not just know it, but to love it. You can do that by showing them how you love to be in the Word, and why it’s a daily habit you could not live without. Teach them to be in constant conversation with God, and demonstrate that to them every day. Scripture teaches us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Pray before they arrive, pray while they are growing up . . . pray for them, and pray with them. Teach them to pray. We must think and pray radically to raise a generation who chooses to walk with God.
- Train Them Up
Remember what you promised before God on the day you dedicated your children to the Lord. Repent if you need to, but ultimately recommit yourself to these promises and start being the primary discipler in their lives if you are not already. Proverbs 22:6 says to “Train up a child in the way he should go…” While children’s church and youth group are vital parts of shaping a young person’s faith journey, the most critical teaching comes from their parents. Your child’s spiritual guidance should not be left only to those on staff at your local church.
- Take Them to Church
Stop letting church be optional. Yes, it’s important to give them freedom to make their own decisions, but this is not the time for that. The Christian life was never meant to be lived alone, and that goes for children and youth as well. Being part of large group Bible teaching, worship with their peers, service for the kingdom, and observing other positive Christian role models in their lives can all help to strengthen their walk with Christ.
Above all, as you put these three things into practice, seek God to help you be strong and disciplined in applying them. Ask God to help you create fertile ground where your child can plant his or her roots in Christ, then ask God to help them grow.