These 5 Tips for Christian Parents Will Help Teach Our Faith to Our Children
As a parent, have you ever felt like a failure? Maybe you’ve compared your kids to those “little angels” that have glowing halos around their heads as they wait for their mom to pay at the register. Or perhaps you’ve wondered where you went wrong as you watch the siblings across the street laugh and smile while helping their parents clean the yard. If we’re honest, we’ve all been frustrated as a parent. It comes with the territory.
As a Christian parent I sometimes wonder if my frustrations aren’t compounded by my earnest desire to see my kids grow in faith as they grow into their shoes. I don’t want them to simply be happy and healthy, I want them to be holy as well. And I wonder if I’m doing enough to plant those seeds of faith in their hearts and minds that will one day sprout and grow into a deeply rooted faith.
Once upon a time people thought it was the church’s job to instill faith into their children. Now only the naïve and mistaken parent adheres to that misguided idea. The faith of my children is primarily my responsibility; the church is there to supplement what I am doing to grow my children in the “nurture and admonition” of the Lord. Knowing that I have such a great responsibility means placing a priority on their spiritual development. Before anything else, musical development, athletic development, or even vocational development, comes their spiritual development.
I’m not arrogant enough to think I can do it alone. I constantly search for resources to aid in my teaching and training. To that end I recently read an article at Monergism that stood out. It was a very simple reminder to Christian parents about what it takes to raise godly kids. One striking feature of the article is that it nowhere mentions the church. Now, this doesn’t mean the author is suggesting the church holds no importance in our children’s faith formation. To the contrary this article is merely giving some practical tips to parents with a deep burden to grow faith in their kids.
Another feature of the article is that every tip given was directly aimed at parents. This reiterates that the responsibility for my kids’ faith development is primarily my responsibility. At least for a while I must lead in instilling those seeds of faith that I want to see grow. It is a very dangerous thing to try and unload this responsibility on someone else; or even the church. Not only are we risking that those seeds won’t be planted at all; we are risking that the wrong seeds will be planted or that they won’t be properly watered and will die.
Take a look at some of the useful advice from the article that can help us instill a life-long faith in our children:
- Be a faithful Christian. (Piety)
Live what you speak. Practice what you preach. Emulate your Bridegroom. Love like He loved you. Forgive just as He forgave you.
2. Pray with fervent earnestness. (Prayer)
The preeminent weapon that every Christian parent possesses is prayer. Earnest, fervent, daily, constant prayer. No Christian parent should ever minimize the power of prayer nor should a Christian parent ever dismiss prayer as something less important.
3. Impress Scripture on their minds and hearts. (Priority)
Children are never too young to learn nor are they too old to have Scripture impressed upon their hearts and minds. Parents, in all your doings for and with your children, always remember to bring God’s truth to bear in conversations, in hardships, in discouragements, in uncertainties, and in triumphs!
4. Urge them to consider eternity. (Perspective)
Life is too short to focus solely on the here and now…Instruct your children diligently concerning the sinfulness of their hearts and the punishment that they deserve. Show them regularly the holiness of God and the blessed gospel of God’s love in sending His Son to die for sinners by bearing their curse and punishment. Plead with your children to not live for this world and lose their souls eternally.
5. Remember growth takes time. (Patience)
As parents we want immediate results. Why? Because in this fast-paced world, we get everything else, so it seems, immediately and without much delay. But the souls of our children are like well-watered gardens that grow a healthy crop over time. The hearts of our children must be like a field that produces a vast harvest with much tending, care, work, labor, and effort…A seed in the ground takes time to grow into a large plant and so it is with our children’s hearts.
Each one of these tips begins with us, the parents. It must be our lives that cause our children to want to be like us. If we are living our faith each and every day our children will see the difference in us. So we must live out our faith faithfully each and every day. But beyond that, we must take calculated measures to impart our faith to our children. We cannot simply live a silently faithful life. In fact, I would suggest that it is impossible to live a “silently faithful” life.
Our goal must be to actively teach our children the tenets of our faith. To convey our doctrine to them. As the article suggests this begins with knowing our Bible and being able to explain what it is we believe and why we believe it. The Gospel is so simple that a child can grasp it. So we have no excuse to not share it with our children.
It cannot be overstated enough: we are in an eternal battle for the souls of our children. The parent that does not understand that is in danger of losing the soul of their child to a world that will devour it. I urge every parent to consider what you are doing each day to share your faith with your children and plant those seeds of faith. Don’t wait for someone else to come along and do it, by then it may be too late.