The value of being raised in a Christian home is incalculable. Children are a gift from the Lord (Ps 127:3). So are godly parents. Their worth is immeasurable. From the moment a child is born, and even while a child is still in the womb (through prayer), godly parents have the opportunity to lead a child from spiritual death to eternal life.
What greater task, what greater joy!
Leading one’s child to Christ is the primary objective for Christian parents. It’s more important than taking your child to soccer practice, or to ballet lessons or ball games, or fill-in-the-blank. It matters more than setting aside money for your child’s college education.
It’s the one task that God has commanded parents to do. The other activities or disciplines, as important as they may be in a child’s emotional, physical and educational development, must follow the primary objective.
Consider Deuteronomy 6:6-7. I know that I’ve written about this passage before, and I’ll likely write about it again––it’s that important as a foundation for Christian families. The gist of the passage is this:
Teach your children the Scriptures when you sit in your house. A home is the primary classroom for a child’s spiritual, emotional, and physical development. The home is where a child’s character is formed, his Godward and social perspective. The Scriptures should be the hub for every satellite activity.
Teach your children the Scriptures when you walk by the way. This has to do with your whole manner of life––as you go to the store, as you walk in the park or along the beach, as you travel on the road, in everything you do together as a family. Make the most of every opportunity to teach your kids about Jesus, about His wonderful creation, His love and grace.
Teach your children the Scriptures when you go to bed at night. Every family should have a “family altar,” a time when the family gathers around the Word of God to discuss a verse or passage of scripture. Prayer is an important part of this too; it’s an opportunity for each member of the family to express his or her needs, and to rejoice together when prayers are answered. In this they witness God’s love and provision. If your kids are small read them wholesome bedtime stories. Bible stories are great, of course, but so are stories that teach what is good, what is wholesome, what is excellent, virtuous and noble (Philippians 4:8).
Teach your children the Scriptures when you rise in the morning. From the beginning of the day to the end God commands parents to teach their children the Scriptures. He is very serious about this, and so should we be serious. In every way we are to be proactive in teaching our kids what is truly important, the Gospel––that we are all sinners and deserve the righteous punishment for our sins. But by faith in Jesus Christ, by God’s unmerited favor (grace) we can be saved, we can live a life of grace, peace and joy, because of what God’s Son did for us at Calvary.
Is God serious about how we train our children? I think so. Again, they are gifts. They are special. God has given them to us that He might be glorified in our families. We will fail as parents, of course, not once but several times. Like our children, we are sinners. We’re selfish. We blow it.
I believe that the most important lifestyle we can teach and model is our daily walking in the Spirit, allowing the Spirit to grow His good fruit in us––love, joy, peace, patience (yes, patience), mercy, kindness, and the rest. If we are doing so, our children will witness our lives, though tainted by sin, nonetheless transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. They will see the light of Christ shining through us. This is powerful.
Just as our children must learn the meaning of walking in grace through faith, so must we as parents. The walk of faith is not burdensome. It’s not a drudgery. It should not––rather, must not––become a legalistic treadmill that neither we nor our children can ever endure. Pity the child that is taught that we must somehow earn God’s favor, His love. Such a child will flee the faith at the earliest opportunity.
We as parents must be Christ followers not Law followers. Without yielding to either legalism or licentiousness, the Bible should be central in our homes, and in our way of life. It should be lived out with purpose, in grace, mercy, love, obedience, and trusted in every situation, good or ill.
Finally, if Jesus is our way of life, morning, noon, and night; if He is our First Love, our Rock and Strong Tower, our Savior and Deliverer, our Righteousness and Peace, our Shepherd, our King, our Provider and Sustainer, our Victory, our Blessed Hope, if we are pursuing His righteousness and kingdom in all our ways and by His strength, then our children will see this in us and be drawn to our Awesome God. Hearing His Word consistently taught and lived out in our homes will bring them to faith (Romans 10:17).
What a gift it is to children to be raised in such a home.