By Brad Klassen
As a parent, if you are like me, you have a desire and a heart to see your children love Jesus and grow in Him. This could be based on many different things.
Maybe for you it’s because of the life change He has made in your life.
Maybe it’s because you know the truth of His word and you want your kids to know His truth too.
Maybe it’s simply because you want to see them in Heaven with you one day.
Maybe you have a different reason.
Whatever your reason, as a Christian parent, this is not a bad desire. In fact, this is a God-given job when you become a parent.
Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4 that fathers are to “bring them (their children) up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
He also writes in I Thessalonians 2:12 that a parent is to be encouraging, comforting, and urging their children to “live lives worthy of God.”
Now, I know that the Bible has many other references to parenting. In fact, it is a well of wisdom from where we, who did not get an instruction manual with each kid, can dive into and learn how to do what seems to be impossible.
But how do we do this in today’s world? Paul didn’t have iPods, Netflix, and the next great video game system to compete against. He didn’t have unlimited texting or malls to shop at. How do we grow our kids to love Jesus in a culture that is so overwhelming?
Over this 4 part series, we will discover some very practical ways to better equip ourselves as parents.
1. Love Him Yourself
How can you expect your kids to love Jesus if you don’t love Him yourself?
Are you growing in Him?
Are you spending time in His word?
Are you allowing Him to change and shape your life?
This is the foundation of helping your kids grow. They need to see you do devotions (or at least see evidence of it). Do they know you are praying and reading Scripture? If not, take some time right now to make some changes in your life for this.
This is important.
Pray for them.
Pray with them.
Let them pray.
In our home, our kids often want to pray at the dinner table. As we have heard their prayers, we have had many times where “Amen” was immediately followed with us busting our guts in laughter.
Kids not only say the craziest things, they also pray them. And this is okay! Jesus knows they are kids and He knows their hearts. What He wants is for them to know His heart, even at their young age.
Prayer is an important aspect of having a relationship with Jesus. Help them learn to talk with Him early on.
When your kids come find you in the night because they had a bad dream, love them, and teach them that even in the fear of night, they are not alone and can talk to Jesus (Ps 23:4).
When they can’t sleep, teach them to pray for their friends, teachers, or others until they feel the peace of Jesus rest their minds (Philippians 4:6-7).
In this world, we all need all the prayer we can get. Teach them while they are young.
3. Let the Bible come to life in your home
In our North American culture, we tend to forget that the Bible stories were lived by real people with real emotions.
When David wrote the Psalms, he wept.
When King Nebuchadnezzar was furious in Daniel 3:19, he was really, really mad.
When Paul shouted at the jailer in Acts 17:28, he had to be heard over the chaos that came after an earthquake. He SHOUTED!
Read the Bible with emotion. Put yourself in the stories. Let it come to life.
In our home, I tell our kids to look at the “buts” in the Bible. Yes, I tell them to look at Biblical buts. Once our preteen giggle fest ends, we look at what God is telling us with a big but. For example, look at Romans 6:23 and be thankful for the God sized but in there.
If our kids don’t understand that it is a real book, with real people, and real emotions, it will always be a distant and boring read.
4. Get them their own Bible
When I asked my kids for advice on this write up, my son said that getting him his own Bible was a big deal. He was 7 years old when he said this.
Put God’s word in their hands. Help them to understand it. There are so many options at the local Christian book store, I am sure they have one for your child.
5. Memorize Scripture Together
In order to grow something, a seed needs to be planted. Plant the word of God in your hearts as a family.
Use your Bibles.
Have verses up around the house.
Talk about them at the table.
Challenge each other.
If devices are around, find a good app to help you out.
Find ways to sow God’s seed into the hearts of your children.
Be encouraged as parents. The fact that you are reading this, and other articles like it, shows that you have a desire to love Jesus and have your kids love Him too. Keep working on your personal growth. The seeds planted in the hearts of your children come from the garden of your own heart.
We will continue our journey together in the next part of the series.
What’s one thing you do to cultivate your children’s love for Jesus?
Share in the comments so we can learn from each other!
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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.