As parents, we all want what is best for our children. We want them to live happy, healthy lives while they also stay away from the at-risk behaviours of sex, drugs, alcohol and gangs. And as I’ve had the opportunity to speak to parents literally all over the world, what I see are parents who desperately want to do a better job parenting than in the household they grew up in.
I do not believe that we have bad parents today. Yet when it comes to the one thing that will lead our children to "enjoy long life" (Deut. 6:2) – which is a loving relationship with God in which they love and serve Him with "all of their heart, soul and strength" (Deut. 6:4) – as parents, we don’t know how to instill this in our children. In other words, many parents today like the idea of their children having a strong faith in God that will positively impact the life decisions they make; yet, when it comes right down to it, many parents today don’t know how to instill faith into their children.
How to instill faith in our children
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says, " Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them [the commands of God] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
How do we impress faith on our children? First, it starts with you being in love with God. In other words, our children will be in love with who we are in love with. Are you in love with God? Let me ask this another way. Are you living in such a way that those who know you best, like your children, would say you are in love with God? What’s going to impress your children to know, love and follow God? The way you know, love and follow God.
Demonstrating a relationship with God
We were never called to be "one-hour-at-church-only Christians." We have been called to live in a loving relationship with the God of the universe through His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet, if all we do is spend an hour with God at church each week, that doesn’t demonstrate a loving relationship – it actually leads our children to think that Christianity is hypocritical, because it’s something we only do at church and not at home.
How do we live in a loving relationship with God? By talking about and with God at home, in the car, when we lie down and get up (which also happens at home). As you can see in the above passage, the home is the primary place where faith is to be lived, expressed and nurtured. Talking about and with God was never meant to be something we reserved for Sunday mornings at church. Yet, for many parents today, faith-talk has become something we either do at church or outsource to the experts at church to do on our behalf.
Friends, faith is not something that can be outsourced, it’s a relationship that must be lived! We are called to be a people who talk about and with God 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’ve been called to be faith-at-home-focused Christians.