I gotta tell you, this parenting thing is overwhelming at times. As a father and along with my wife, we have the tremendous responsibility of teaching our daughter about God. “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 upon 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 6:5-9).
This is a pretty good description of how to instruct your children about God. Talk about him at any and every opportunity. Immerse your family in the Word and the love of God at all times. But what does that really look like? How do we encourage our children to develop a lasting faith of their own?
- Love Him Yourself. It’s amazing to me when parents question why their children are walking away from their faith when they get older. The real question is, Do you love God yourself? I mean really love him. Do you have an intimate relationship with him and truly enjoy attending church services to worship him? Is your Christianity a life-altering commitment or just something you do because it’s routine?
- Live It All the Time. If you attended every service in a week at the church I worship with, you would be there for about 4 hours each week. That would leave a lot of time away from the church building to either show integrity to your beliefs or to show hypocrisy by only living for yourself. Children easily pick up on if your Christianity is only a part-time endeavor. We cannot simply be a fan of Christ. We must go “all in” to follow him.
- Guard Their Hearts. After teaching fourth grade for a decade now, I’ve seen the negative impact the world can have on 9 and 10 year olds. All too often, parents use the excuse of being too busy to monitor what their kids see or listen to. This is especially true with today’s media who is only interested in selling their products and agendas to the masses, including your children. As Christian parents, we must guard their hearts, especially since most children are not mature enough to decipher between good and bad.
- It’s Not About You. In our religious world of church hopping and megachurches catering to every perceived need, we and the children we raise need to be reminded that giving our life to Christ is not about us. We must teach our children that Christianity is about what you bring to the Lord and others and not just what you receive. God simply promises to bless us if we seek him first but that requires that we give all of ourselves.
Don’t let time, busyness, or stubbornness keep you from raising your children in a Godly fashion. Of all the things we do in this life, leaving a legacy of faith and commitment to God is of the utmost importance. Passing on a love for God to your children is the most valuable inheritance they could receive.