How Do I Teach My Children The Importance Of Living For Christ?
It’s one of those days. There is no school; I have work, and currently I can hear my kids running through the halls of the church screaming. And as one kid shoves another in a race down a hall, I’m thinking how ironic it is that on my calendar today is a task I’ve been given: write a blog on parenting. Not just a blog on parenting but How Do I Teach My Children The Importance Of Living For Christ. And I’m assuming that I’m like most parents, and that many days we are just praying that our feeble attempts at parenting our children won’t get in the way of all the grace and greatness God has for them.
So, I bring my loud ones back to my wing of the building so others can work. I bend low to talk to a child and address a heart matter. I search His word. I inhale. I gather up my Bible and all my little Post-It notes with short, scribbled ideas. And I bend and pray that He has good words and wisdom for all of us parents that are far beyond my own abilities because I know that ultimately their redemption is dependent on their Redeemer.
And as I think about the posture of humility He has brought me to in my role as mother, I know that this is where we start.
We bend low to pray with and for our kids. As we bend, they see how to pray, and as we bend God teaches us how to pray. He changes all of us through prayer and our declared need for Him. We start our days in the early hours bending on their behalf, and they hear us pray for them around the dinner table or by their beds. Their names become a refrain of our cries as we beg their Savior to give them an overwhelming need for Him in their lives. We show our kids that their prayers are worthy to be heard as well and teach them to talk to their Maker. If we choose to make speaking to the Father a constant and familiar part of our family’s culture, when our kids are alone in their darkest moments, they know that His Name is the One they call out. If we want our kids to live for Christ, we ask Him to give them a love for Him and show them how to talk to One we want them to live for.
We bend low to serve. Jesus bent low to talk to the crippled man, wash His disciples’ feet, make healing balm out of mud, write in the dirt as He sent away the woman’s accusers. We kneel to help a stranger with dropped groceries, we stoop to offer food to the man on the street corner, we sit on the carpet to read the Sunday school lesson to preschoolers in our church. We bend to our child’s level to connect with and correct them, to kiss a knee, tie a shoe, and pick them up for a hug. If we want our children to live for Christ, we show them the posture their Savior took.
We seek Him in His Word. We show our kids how powerful and important His Word is by showing them its power manifested in our lives and its prominence in our day-to-day schedule. We teach our kids how to read the Bible together and alone and how to memorize it. We tell them how it has changed our life in the past, but we also show them how it is changing our life currently. We find ways for our kids to see that Christ was God’s plan for redemption from the very beginning of His Word and that the very blueprint for living for Christ is found in these pages. When they hear us speak His Word aloud in our day-to-day tasks, they see that knowing it is important and that His truth can be applied to all aspects of our lives. If we want our children to live for Christ, we show them through the Word how Christ lived.
We seek Him with others. When we make church attendance a priority, our kids become comfortable in the walls of the church and see it as a place to run to instead of a place to flee from. They recognize the people there as extended family, and when they stand and sing alongside the saints on Sunday morning, they begin to see that God’s church is vast and diverse. As we seek Him alongside others, our kids find that community is vital for accountability and encouragement. They discover that following Christ is costly, but that God had a plan to provide reprieve and joy through spiritual family wherever He may lead them. If we want our children to live for Christ, we show them how to love Christ’s bride.
There are so many things we need to do as parents to teach our kids about their great Savior and their great need for Him. But we all need a place to start. So, we bend and seek, and we pray 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that they will “stand firm and hold fast to what we have taught them.” We must believe firmly and live in the conviction that if we do not teach them to fill up their days with Jesus, the world will teach them to fill up their days with everything else. Hoping that our children will live for Christ is futile if we aren’t living for Christ ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul tells the church “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” He doesn’t say this because he’s being arrogant but because he knows many of these new believers don’t know how to imitate Christ. This is the same with our children. Right now, we are the visual example of Christ that they see and understand. We pray that despite our clumsy efforts and because of His great grace, as we bend and seek, our children will learn to bend and seek, and He will instill living for Him in ALL of us.