Make no mistake, we are sending our kids out into a hostile world and we need to prepare them for that. We can’t be content with a thin layer of religiosity, kids who don’t cuss, don’t have sex and know how to vote. We need to teach them that Jesus is worth living and dying for, and though the world may take everything from them for him, that he’s worth it.J. D. Greear’s Sermon 8/1/2021. Listen here.
This quote from my pastor has been wrestling with my mind, heart, and soul ever since I heard him say it—and, I mean in a positive way. His statement really pushed me to think strategically as a Christian parent. As you will see, I am naturally oriented to be a tactician.
I remember driving home with my wife after this sermon and brainstorming ways we could teach our children this biblical truth. We asked the question, “How can we prepare our children to go into a hostile world and be willing to give their lives for Christ?”
Here are 4 strategies we came up with to teach our children how to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ in a hostile world.
1) Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to grip their hearts. We need to remember that we are merely instruments in God’s hands when it comes to raising children. He is ultimately the potter who shapes their lives for his glory. As Christian parents, we must be diligent in praying for our children no matter their age. We ought to plead with God on a daily basis that they would not only be imitators of Christ, but would also be willing to give their lives for the truth of the gospel. Nevertheless, only God can root their faith that deeply in their souls, but we need to pray that God would be faithful to mature them as his followers.
2) Discuss with them Scripture passages that highlight what a life devoted to Christ looks like. Study the various passages of Scripture that talk about this issue together. Talk with them about the portrait of a disciple in Matthew 5:3-16 or the cost of discipleship from Luke 14:25-35. Read with them the martyrdom of Philip (Acts 7:1-60) or the sufferings of Saul (2 Cor. 11:16-33) to show them biblical examples of faithful followers who gave it all for Christ. Yet, do not forget to show them Christ and his sufferings. Relay to them that Jesus taught his followers that if the world persecuted him, they will also persecute us (John 15:20). Therefore, our children must know that Jesus is worthy to die for because his work on the cross is the only way we can gain eternal life.
3) Read with them biographies of believers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their faith. Some of the greatest heroes of the faith endured great suffering and even death for their devotion to Christ. Have your child read and discuss with you biographies like Adoniram Judson, Jim Elliot, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Elizabeth Elliot, and Lottie Moon. These stories will help your children see the cost of following Jesus, but also indicate that this type of devotion to Christ is normal for his disciples. Moreover, these biographies teach us that God uses the suffering and martyrdom of his saints to bring salvation to those who are lost. Missionary biographies could help strengthen your child’s devotion to Jesus.
4) Be the primary source for shaping their worldview. You, as the parent, need to be discerning with how you go about this last tactic. You know your child and their maturity level better than anyone, but we need to tell our children about the various worldly ideologies while they are under our supervision. A Christian parent should think about strategically introducing various unbiblical views circulating in culture and correcting them with the Bible’s teachings. Personally, I want my children to know what ideologies are being pushed on them by culture so that I can better prepare them to combat these sinful views with Scripture. By teaching them to my children in a controlled environment, they are not thrown off guard or buy into these worldly heresies without being both informed and able to think critically.
I will not say these strategies are a full proof method for creating devoted Christ followers. However, I do believe the Lord can use these efforts to transform our children into faithful followers willing to give all to him in a hostile world. Christian parents, we need to teach our children to love others like Christ, but we also need to make them understand what it looks like to be totally devoted to Jesus in a fallen world.
What other strategies would you offer to Christian parents for raising devoted Christ followers? Please leave a comment below to share with others, and Don’t forget to subscribe for the latest content to be delivered directly to your inbox.
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