In my previous blog, I emphasized the importance of making sure our family becomes a Christian (see Family Lessons from Noah). As Noah was able to save his family from the destruction of the flood by getting them in the ark, it is important to get our family ‘in Christ.’ This is the only guarantee from the future judgment.
John the Apostle mentions the supreme joy when children follow the Lord. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 4). Yet, we could state the opposite: “I have no greater sorrow that to hear that my children are not walking in truth.” There is no greater hurt for a Christian parent or grandparent than to know that our family is not walking with the Lord.
What can we do for our family? What practical actions can parents and grandparents take to help our children follow our Biblical instruction and follow God’s Word by following Jesus? There is no guarantee, but we do have Biblical wisdom to help us.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
This section of the Bible was important to the Jewish community. Before much of the technology we use today, parents had few avenues to impress wisdom and knowledge onto their children. But I still think these apply today. If you want your children to follow your faith, try these tried and true actions…
1 – Personal devotion.
Unless god performs a miracle, you family will never be closer to God than you are. You must work on your own love for the Lord. Read your Bible for your own spiritual life. Pray to God for your own spiritual health. Fellowship with other Christians for your own spiritual growth. You cannot give away more than you possess.
2 – Public Action.
You must do something with your faith. You must teach your own children and grandchildren. You must talk about spiritual things. I suggest you get involved in the Sunday School class or Children’s Church of the age of your children or grandchildren. Learn how to teach that age so you can better teach them at home. It must be formal and informal.
3 – Passive Reinforcement.
Put Bible verses around your home so the children see them. Let your children or grandchildren see or hear God’s message everywhere. Let them see you reading your Bible and praying. Listen to Gospel music and watch Christian programming to reinforce what you are trying to formally teach them.
The greatest thing you can do for your children is not teach them how to be a great athlete, or how to make a lot of money, or even how to be a better parent than you were. The greatest thing you can do for your children is introduce them to Jesus Christ. You can’t be with them all the time. One day you wont be with them when they go off to school. One day they won’t be living in your home. One day you will be gone. But if they have Jesus, He will never leave them or forsake them. Do everything you can to make sure they have Jesus in their life.
You can also read some of my similar articles about parenting: The Hardest Job in the World – Being a Parent, The Powerful Principle of Three Chairs, 5 Things My Papaw Taught Me, Why Children of Christian Parents Abandon the Faith.