For so many of us who know and follow Jesus, our deepest desire is that our kids will know the deep, life-transforming love of Jesus Christ and trust Him as their Savior.
Sometimes, we want that so badly, we try to manufacture an outer image, while neglecting an inner transformation in them — and in us.
There may not be a formula for raising kids who love Jesus, but there really is an important foundation.
Read on to find out about this crucial step in raising kids who love Jesus.
The scariest thing I’ve ever had to do is be a mom.
Being a parent may not seem all that scary to you, or most people for that matter. Isn’t parenting supposed to be natural? Innate? Common sense?
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s my past or my insecurities or the baggage I’ll forever be unpacking, but I’m afraid.
I’m afraid I’ll screw up.
There is so much riding on these few years I have with my kids and my heart so wants them to know and embrace and pursue the most important things in life.
Who’s prepared for that? I’m certainly not.
When I feel insecure or out of control, my fallback is to find a formula and follow it.
My shelves are stacked with parenting books and marriage books and books on family ministry. My inbox overflows with blog posts and newsletters and articles to be better, do better, and succeed!
I try to follow the formula that everyone else is using — you know, doing Christian things and participating in Christian activities.
It’s easy to fall into the routine of the things we do, isn’t it?
Too often, I’ve made the goal all about our activities. Our Christian culture tends to equate a godly upbringing with going to church, being involved in youth group or Awana — doing Christian things — and we wrap the activity up with a bow and label the package a “good Christian home.”
But friends, I want more than a good Christian home!
Creating a rich Christian home is so much more than our Christian activities. It’s more than praying at meals and service projects and maybe a missions trip thrown in here and there. We can do all of those things but still live in homes where there is no life!
Sunday school and Awana and youth group — they’re all good things. The trouble is, sometimes we can be so busy doing for Jesus that we fail to really know Him.
I don’t want to raise my kids in a good Christian home and hope that our activities will rub off and affect their lives. I want more than a good Christian home. I want to raise my kids in a home that is ALIVE with the Spirit of God!
I don’t just want kids who follow all the rules and participate in the right activities. I want my kids to embrace Christ and be embraced by Him! (Philippians 3:8 MSG)
I want them to be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit in their inner beings, that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith—that they will be rooted and grounded in love and have the strength to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that they may be filled with all the fullness of God! (Ephesians 3:16-19 ESV)
I want my kids to love the Lord our God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strength and to love others as they love themselves. (Matthew 22:36-40)
Honestly? In some ways, this scares the socks off of me because there is no magic formula for success. There’s no tried and true, one-size-fits-all daily plan.
But God gives us a starting point. Deuteronomy 6:5 challenges parents to love God with their whole being.
What is the best way to teach our children to love God? It’s to love God in front of them, to model what loving God looks like — including my mess-ups and breakdowns and struggles along the way. If I want my kids to know Grace, I must know Grace, too. If I want my kids to live with a deep sense that they are loved, I must grasp that for myself. If I want my home to be ALIVE with the Spirit of God, I have to be alive with the Spirit of God.
Our deep understanding of grace and being loved and living out of that love will impact every.single.thing we do! That is contagious!
Although I often feel woefully inadequate and ill-prepared, God has called us to this and where God calls, He always equips.
There is no formula, there is only faith. So each day, may we fall to our knees in prayer and renew our minds with the Word and ask God what He has for us, what He has for our families — then, let’s walk by faith and faithfulness. May we, ourselves, experience daily the inner transformation that leads to outer change.
While we can not guarantee or force our kids to believe what we want them to believe, we can pray for them and model what it means to have our hearts and our lives transformed by Jesus and the power of His Spirit at work within us.
Raising kids who love Jesus doesn’t start with controlling their behavior. Raising kids who love Jesus starts with me. It starts with my prayers, my transformation, my walking in the power of the Spirit, and the love of God on display through me.
“Let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us…There’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3: 15, 20 MSG)
“Now to Him Who, by the power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 AMP)
Together with you,