A few years ago, I was involved with a group of teenagers who were doing amazing things at their high school to bring the news of Jesus to their classmates. My job was to mentor and give spiritual oversight to the group but mostly I just stood by amazed at what these kids were doing.
At one point, one of the group got caught up in the evolution debate. As we were discussing it, I asked him what would happen if it was proven that evolution theory was right and our understanding of creation from Genesis was wrong. He replied, if that were to happen, he would walk away from his faith because it would all be a lie.
I started to pray harder for this young man. You see, when our faith is only based on an intellectual understanding we are very vulnerable. We are vulnerable because it is faith and our understanding is incomplete, not because it is wrong.
You see, all intellectual arguments from people opposing God’s existence do not phase me because I know God personally, I have experienced Him and seen firsthand Him working in this world. It's like someone coming to me with all the evidence in the world that my wife, Christine, does not exist. But...
Coincidentally, the young man came back to me months later saying how silly he was to take that stance and now understands that the reality of his experience with God trumps everything. We celebrated the new safety of his faith and for God revealing Himself to him.
“I showed what you are like to those you gave me from the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me.”
(John 17:6a NCV)
The world is full of people who need spiritual leadership. Is it possible your kids are among them? You can become a spiritual leader to your children by developing the characteristics that we see in Jesus as he taught his disciples for three years.
First, Jesus helped the disciples know God.
You need to help your children get to know God, because eternity is in the balance — life or death, Heaven or Hell. It is your job to help make sure your kids are introduced to God.
Look at what Jesus says: “They belonged to you.” He’s acknowledging that the disciples belonged to God, just as our kids belong to God. He loaned them to us for a period in which he wants us to parent them. Parenting, like all forms of leadership, is really about stewardship. You learn to say, “God, I am the steward of these children, whom you put into my care, and I will do what you need me to do to help them achieve their purpose.”
Notice Jesus then says, “I showed what you were like to those you gave me.” Jesus doesn’t say, “I preached. I sermonized. I pontificated. I lectured so the disciples would know you.” He says, “I showed.” Jesus introduced them to Father. Revealed Father to them. Explained to them what Father is like.
Don't mis-hear me, I am not saying that teaching Bible stories is wrong. But I am saying it is much more important to help them know Jesus than just teaching them stories about Him. Remember, I said we need to help our children know God, not just know about God. The difference is all important.
Children Learn What They Live
This is one of the most sobering truths about being a parent. For right or wrong, for good or bad, whether you like it or not, your children’s idea of God is going to be largely determined by the kind of parent you are. You may not like that. I may not like that, but that's how it works.
If you are impatient and demanding, they’re going to think God is impatient and demanding. If you are distant and detached and never have time for your kids, they’re going to think God is distant and detached from them. If you are inconsistent and unreliable, if you break your promises, they’re going to think their heavenly Father is inconsistent and unreliable and breaks his promises.
What is God really like?
A Final Few Questions
If my kids are going to grow up knowing God is good, caring, close, consistent, and competent, then I must be good, caring, close, consistent, and competent. What do you think you need to work on related to this?
How will our approach to teaching our children need to change if we want to teach our children to know God not just know about Him?