You don’t have to be a cultural expert to know that we’re living in a post-modern era, where truth is relative and everyone’s beliefs hold equal merit.
So the question for parents is how do we equip our children to be difference-makers in a world of shifting values?
The answer is one word. Truth.
Jesus said “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). There is a freedom in knowing the truth. And by truth, we don’t mean a static set of beliefs, but truth as embodied in a Person. In John 14:6, Jesus actually claims to be truth personified.
And so our child-training efforts must have a singular goal in mind: pointing our kids to the truth of who Jesus is and who they are in Him.
This is not a passive job. It’s not something that happens by osmosis. Nobody will teach our children the truth if we, as parents, do not. The culture certainly won’t instill truth. The public education system won’t instill truth. And their friends, largely, won’t have the wisdom and sense to teach our children the truth.
So this enormous responsibility is up to us, the parents. The question is this. Are we, as parents, doing a good job? If you believe the latest polling data, the answer is a definitive no.
Why is that? Well, perhaps our paradigm is wrong. For decades now, parents have largely outsourced their spiritual education to the church. Sunday School, youth group, Awana clubs, Vacation Bible School, and summer camps.
Those are all vital and necessary ministries. But they don’t replace the daily, consistent influence of parents. In fact, the Bible speaks in great detail about a parent’s job to pass the torch of faith from generation to generation. “Teach your children, and your children’s children,” is an oft-repeated line in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 4:8-9).
In the New Testament, we see the example of Timothy, who Paul says was intentionally trained by his mother and grandmother. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, we read of the “sincere faith” passed down from grandmother to mother to son.
This was a sincere faith. What we want to pass to our children is a simple, humble dependence upon God, a knowledge of who God is, an understanding of the Scriptures.
Too often, however, we pass down rules, systems, and methodologies that grow old with generations and have no spiritual impact in and of themselves. We must instead allow the Holy Spirit use our humble teaching of the Word to grow the see we’ve planted in each child’s heart.
The next generations’ expressions of faith, both in music and style may look different than ours. But that’s okay. Because our primary responsibility is to connect them with God and allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest of the work.
This is part four of a five part series of devos featured by Mark Elfstrand on The Morning Ride on WBMI 90.1 FM Chicago
Why is it so important to instill truth in our children? Because they will grow up in an increasingly ungodly world, where their character and values and foundations will be assaulted.
But if they know the truth, that is if they know Jesus, He will use what we’ve poured into their lives to enable them to be difference-makers in their generation.
For the complete audio of this message, click here.