As a Christian parent you most likely want to see your children grow up to become men and women of great faith. You would like them to marry fellow believers and eventually also raise children who become Christians themselves. In spite of all the good intentions, a quick peek at the evening news shows that some Christian parents are failing. Why?
To Raise a Child to Have Strong Faith, the Parent must be Secure in Their Emotional Attachment to God
Zechariah 2:7-8 teaches that to God, His faithful people are the apple of His eye. Christian parents must first and foremost be secure in the fact that God not only knows them by name, but that He honestly cares about them on an emotional level. Too many have hardened their hearts - in spite of copious church attendance and Bible study - against this kind of intimate love relationship with the deity.
An intellectual faith that fails to move into the heart is insufficient in the dark hours to preserve our own faith. How much less is it likely that we can pass it on to the next generation as something to be secure and comfortable in? God does not want endless hand wringing and hymn singing; He would much rather fill the seat of confidante and trusted father figure to whom one talks freely from the heart about anything.
To Raise a Kid with a Strong Faith, Christian Parents Must Have Perspective on Their Relationship with God
Zechariah 3:2 reveals that those who have been saved (through faith in Jesus Christ by the practice of repentance, acceptance of Christ's lordship, and baptism for the forgiveness of sins) are much like a stick that was snatched from a fire. Smoldering a bit around the edges, we are nonetheless in the safe zone.
At the same time, this very fact needs to drive home the point that being saved is not something the Christian parent somehow accomplished by themselves or with God's help; instead, it is an act of God that was undertaken in spite of the way we lived our lives prior to truly knowing him. Having the perspective that the relationship with God is not one of equals is a powerful reminder that -- while we are the apples of God's eyes -- we were in need of saving. This adds gratitude to the picture and reinforces the role of father figure God wishes to assume in our lives.
To Raise a Child with a Faith that can Move Mountains, Christian Parents Must Model Such a Life
1 Peter 4:7b-11 shows a glimpse of righteous living. It speaks of having a clear resolve of right and wrong and controlling the urges that might lead into overdoing things. Love is a staple of the Christian faith, but it must also be applied to those outside the faith. Moreover, Christian parents who do not know their neighbors need to repent and open their homes in hospitality. There are ample opportunities for a Christian - parent or not - to demonstrate gratitude and love to God by acts of service within the church, the community, the family, and elsewhere.
While it may be possible to preach about having a faith that will move mountains without actually living it, the odds of a child absorbing these tenets and then living them out without having seen them in action are slim at best. Instead, there is a good chance that the child will in its place learn hypocrisy at the Christian parent's knee.
Children are hands on learners; give them something to see, touch, follow, imitate, and learn in your own everyday walk with God, and you will be raising a child with the firm conviction that in time they, themselves, will possess a faith that can move mountains.
About Sylvia Cochran
Sylvia Cochran - Christian Parenting Corner and Parenting By the Book and Parenting By the Book Christian Parenting Book Reviews
Sylvia is a seasoned freelance writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years, and has for the last four years taught in small groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money. Sylvia also provides Free Online Christian Parenting Courses at Suite 101.