A wise evangelist met a skeptic . . .
Skeptic: I just saw one of your converts facedown drunk in the street.
Evangelist: Drunk, did you say? Facedown in the street? Well then, he was definitely one of mine. The Lord’s converts forsake their sin.
As the father of eight children, I understand the desire to see all of one’s children come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ – and it is tempting to “push the process along.” But sometimes, we can be too eager and push our children into words and actions that have more to do with our desires than the Spirit’s work in their lives.
When we strive to get our children to “pray the prayer” we risk making them our converts, rather than allowing God to make them His. How young is too young? God knows. True conversion is a work of the Spirit, not a work of the parent’s will. When the Spirit moves in the heart of a child, it is obvious something supernatural is taking place. We need only to be faithful beforehand and ready in the moment to be used of the Lord at the appointed time.
Here are some practical suggestions in preparing the soil of your child’s heart.
1) Recognize God’s timing is at work in the life of your child. In John 3:8, the Word describes the Spirit as being like the wind. We don’t need to be anxious or in a hurry when it comes to our children’s pilgrimage to the foot of the Cross. We need to be obedient and purposeful. God is at work.
2) Teach your kids the 10 commandments. In Galatians 3:2, they are called, “Our schoolmaster . . . unto Christ.” The Moral Law of God will speak to the awakened conscience and help kids to see they are sinners who cannot be righteous in and of themselves.
3) Read the Bible regularly. The Word says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Modeling Truth is not enough. Our kids need to hear the authoritative Word and that only happens when parents make the Word a priority in daily life.
4) Teach your Children the Gospel – the Good News of God’s offer of mercy and grace through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Because the phrases “good news” and “the Gospel” are familiar to Christian parents, it’s easy to assume our children know what they are and mean. Ask your kids, “What is ‘The Gospel’ or ‘The Good News of Jesus?’” My children are from 7 – 20 years of age. If you’re like Lisa and me and have a wide spread of ages, it’s natural to think everyone “gets it.” Trust me, they don’t! Four days ago, I ask our youngest this question and found out . . . I have more work to do!
5) Do your job (Deut. 6) and let God do His! It’s good to be reminded (and a great relief!) that it is not our job as parents to convict children of their sin. That’s the Spirit’s job Who is in the world, convicting men of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come (John 16:8)
6) Don’t be a hypocrite. When our kids see there is no difference between what we are teaching them and how we live, our testimony has power. Can you say with sincerity to your kids, “Follow my example?” When there is a difference between words and example, acknowledge it to God and to your kids, ask for forgiveness from God and from your kids, and then change before God and before your kids.
7) Pray for an awakened heart to the things of God, and listen to the Holy Spirit for His timing in speaking to the heart of your child.
8) Again, Rest in God’s timing. Your children are on a pilgrimage – just like you and me. And, where were we years ago? As young children? We have seen His faithfulness in our lives. Does He love your children any less? He is faithful and He is good.
Leading our children to Jesus can seem like a huge challenge but, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. And, God is for you in this endeavor! 2 Peter 3:9 says “ . . . He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God of nature, whose glory is declared by the vastness and order of the stars – God of mercy, who knows the number of hairs on every head – and, God of love, who has called parents to lead their children to know You, find me faithful in teaching my children of your love and grace, and of their great need of Your mercy. In The Name of Jesus, amen.
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