As Christian parents, we want our kids to love Jesus just like we do. And there are very practical ways to grow that in our children.
In this second part of our 4-part series, we’re looking at some very simple, down to earth ways we can cultivate in our kids a heart after God.
1. Laugh. A lot.
Life is full of confusion, questions, and pain. If that is the only picture our kids will have of the Christian life, they will have a very dark image of Jesus.
Jesus didn’t promise a pain-free life, but He called us to a joy-filled one.
Is laughter a normal part of your home? Haven’t we all heard at some point in our lives that laughter is the best medicine?
Build laughter into your home, your life, and your kids.
2 – Let them choose.
As much as we want them to make the choice to live for Jesus, it is just that: their choice. If we push them, we may just push them in the opposite direction.
As parents we need to do our best and trust the One who gave them to us. After all, they were His to begin with.
A great example of this is Jesus’ parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32), where the father never pushes either of his sons, but lets them choose.
3 – Give them good gifts.
Jesus has a heart to give. He wants His kids to know that He is a giver.
In Matthew 7:11 Jesus compares His giving to ours and says that if we who are full of sin can give good gifts, how much more will our Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.
Luke writes it a bit different in 6:38 when he says how God will pour gifts into our laps.
Jesus is a giver.
Sometimes these gifts have a monetary value connected to them. God has dropped physical gifts into our laps. I wonder though how many of His gifts are different than that.
The gift of time, a hug, or an unexpected note in their lunch bag can speak volumes into their lives.
God gave us the ultimate good gift: a gift that had no monetary value, but carried all the blessings of heaven. He gave us His Son.
Be creative and find ways to give gifts to your kids.
4 – Don’t give them everything they want.
This is not the heart of Jesus.
There are many references in the Sermon on the Mount to how God knows our needs and promises to take care of us (Matthew 6:8, 6:25-34). Notice how He doesn’t say He will give us our wants.
In John 21 there is a powerful conversation between Peter and Jesus where Jesus tells Peter that he will be taken places he will not want to go. Later in the same passage they have a discussion about another disciple and Jesus asks Peter what it is to him if Jesus wants that disciple to have a different life.
Sometimes there is a difference between our wants and Jesus’ wants. Our kids need to learn that we don’t get everything we want, and that is okay.
Isn’t it amazing how we can learn what the heart of a good parent looks like by looking at the heart of the perfect Father? God may not have given us a “parenting manual”, but He did give us the best example to follow. Just maybe we can discover our hearts as parents by looking at His heart for us.
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Brad Klassen is a writer, story teller, and public speaker. His passion is to bring the Bible to life for all ages and help others grow in their walk with Jesus. He and his wife, Jen, have 4 kids and live in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada. For more from Brad visit adventuresofjuniorbear.weebly.com where you can also receive his free guide 17 Practical Ways to Grow Your Child’s Love for Jesus.