Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.
Begin With the End in Mind
This is advice I swiped from a book on blogging, but it really really applies to parenting as a Christian parent.
You’ve gotta begin with the end in mind.
When you think about your kids as grownups what words pop into your head?
Successful. Happy. Kind. Loved and loving.
Nothing wrong with any of those, but do they capture your deepest aspirations for your kids?
Do they describe your biggest dreams for them?
How about this, a friend of God?
I’ve been thinking and teaching about Christian parenting for over 30 years and this idea captures the highest goal any parent can reach for with their children, to raise a child that grows up to be a friend of God.
The phrase describes Abraham and we find it in James 2:23
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.
Is there any higher loftier more spiritual ambition than to be a friend of God?
I don’t think so. I can’t come up with one.
So was Abraham perfect?
He was a flawed human who began as an idol worshipper.
But, when God spoke to him, he listened and responded.
Belief was his response and he took action, he followed God’s instruction and guidance.
That’s a big significant step. Don’t rush past it. Instead, let’s turn it into a question. Let’s personalize that story from Abraham’s life and ask ourselves a searching question.
How do we to get from that beautiful bundle of baby in our arms to a growing child that’s emotionally and spiritually prepared to listen and respond to God?
A child who wants to be a friend of God.
Create A Roadmap to Relationship
Know where you want to go!
Before the days of iPhones and apps like Waze, before the days of Garmin there were roadmaps. Large printed maps that showed highways and small roads so that you could figure out how to get to where you wanted to go. You could plan a route.
Your route as a Christian parent is something like this:
Baby in your arms______________>A child who wants to be God’s friend
In the coming weeks we’ll build out our roadmap.
We’ll take it step by step and travel in short spurts so the little ones can enjoy the journey as it unfolds.
Our starting point is God Himself.
Let’s begin to introduce God to your kids.
You’re gonna be surprised at how easy this is.
Let me ask you how would you introduce God to someone?
What would you say about Him?
We all overthink this!!! We don’t have to figure this out on our own. We just need to see how God did it.
How does God introduce Himself? I mean, He wrote us a big old book full of letters. How does it start?
In the beginning God made everything.
Genesis 1:1 (my own paraphrase for kids)
Short and sweet. To the point. No wasted words. No big theological explanation.
AND—it is in fact the very first thing we all need to know about God if we’re gonna want to be His friend. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with the One who created everything?
Here’s the companion truth from the New Testament.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Whisper it to that babe in your arms.
“God made everything. It’s all good. It’s all perfect. It’s all a gift from God to you and to all of us.”
Point back to God constantly as the Creator and the giver of good things. This is the first thing you want your child to ever remember knowing about God.
He created everything.
Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from Him.
And He never changes.
The soft cotton of baby’s blanket is a gift. The strawberries of summer are a gift. A squirmy puppy covered in warm fur is a gift. Daddy’s strong arms are a gift. Mommy’s soft kisses are a gift.
Every good gift.
Every perfect gift is from God.
Do you want to lead your children into a lifelong meaningful relationship with the true and living God?
Start with this truth. Begin today and keep bringing God into the conversation.
Introduce God as He introduces Himself, the Creator and the giver of every good and every perfect gift.
This week start the introduction by talking about God as Creator. You could wrap up your child’s favorite fruit or a favorite toy and talk about the gifts God has given to us to richly enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).
I’m praying that God will help you and begin to reveal Himself to your kids.
WOW, that’s exciting!!! 🙂
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.
Why This Series?
The short answer is that I have a broken heart and I’m on a new mission.
Here’s what’s broken my heart: Pew Research came out with a study that found between 82%-88% of kids raised in church attending Christian homes never go back to church once they leave home at 18 for school or work.
Obviously we haven’t been able to lead our children into a meaningful relationship with God. They didn’t fall in love with Him. They weren’t captivated by Who He is and what He’s done. They aren’t excited to be part of His plan and purposes.
Plainly put, we dropped the ball. We let them down. We fumbled in our God appointed mission to help our kids forge a lasting relationship with God Almighty.
I know that sounds harsh or depressing, or both.
But I believe in grace.
I believe in God working continually to redeem the lost. I believe He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, I believe it’s never too late to start again.
For the past three years I’ve been praying about this problem, studying the subject and interacting with young Christian parents who are in the middle of raising their kids.
And I’m on a mission to do whatever I can to help them be successful in leading their kids into a vibrant faith and a lifelong friendship with God.
Parenting is a big job made up of a million little jobs. Some of those jobs are far more crucial to a child’s faith and friendship with God. Those are the things we’re gonna focus on.
Years ago when I started this blog I called it ‘A Really Full Life’.
I chose it from John 10:10 where Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
That’s A Really Full Life. It’s a quality of life that flows from knowing God. When I pray for our kids, grandkids or great-grandkids this is the core of my prayer, that they’ll come to know God and find in Him abundant life ~ A Really Full Life.
If you’re a Christian parent I want you to know I’m pulling for you.
The challenges you face are different and probably more difficult than the ones I faced while raising my kids.
But, God never changes. His word is always true and powerful and the Holy Spirit is still dwelling in every child of God and leading us into truth, empowering us to live it out in our everyday lives and if God is for us, who can be against us.
Today we talked about Introducing God as Creator and the giver of every good and every perfect gift.
Next week we’re exploring how we can ‘Trigger the WOW’ in a child’s heart and plant the seeds of true worship that will bind his heart to God in an outpouring of love and thanksgiving.
Now I want to hear from you.
Does any of this resonate with you? Are you already worried about a Tween or Teen? Are you wondering how you’re gonna fit anything else into your day? Do you think your kids are still too young for this?
What anxiety or concerns surface when you think about your kids growing up in the world today? What have you found that’s opened the door to a spiritual conversation with your kids?
In His love,