(Whether a parent yourself, or a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a neighbor, a teacher, a scout leader, or whatever your role in the lives of the children around you, this important series will give you valuable tips on how to influence those kids for the Lord! To access the entire “Bringing up Kids God’s Way” mini-series, please click here.)
You may never hear it happening, but you can be sure that your kids are asking questions. They are asking someone about the Lord.
But who are they talking to? Their friends? Their teachers and leaders? Their neighbors?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable with this. If your child is blessed with solid, Christian friends, that’s great. If they are fortunate enough to be surrounded by well-grounded Christian adults, wonderful! But what if they are talking to the adults in their lives who don’t know the Lord? To their unsaved friends? How do you know if they are getting answers that will lead them to the Lord? What if their responses lead your kids, as is so often the case, farther away from God?
The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, lays the responsibility of instructing your kids in the home: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 NIV).
Notice he doesn’t say for “friends” or “teachers”. The text makes it clear: We, as parents, are to be the spiritual pillars our children need!
It makes sense, really. The only way to know for sure that your kids are getting the right answers is either to be giving them out yourselves or to be personally referring them on to sources that you know and trust. If you want to bring your kids up to know the Lord, you need to be willing to become their spiritual pillar!
Now, I realize that some of you are just babes in the Lord yourselves, and you may not feel that you have all the answers. I was also a babe in the Lord when my children were born; but I would like to propose that it doesn’t matter how new you are to Christianity, you still need to be the one your child will come to with their questions! Remember that being new to the Lord simply means that you can more easily relate to many of the things that trouble your kids. Using personal experience, you can guide them in ways that no one else can; and if you don’t know the answers, you can refer them to the sources you trust for your own questions.
I also realize that some of you may have someone in the immediate family who is the known spiritual pillar. That’s great if you do! Especially if your child has a good relationship with that person. But it doesn’t negate your own responsibility. For one thing, there are no guarantees that the spiritual pillar in your family will always be there. For another, your child may not have constant access to this person. Finally, though your children may have a close relationship with this person, what if they don’t feel close enough to share what is on their hearts spiritually?
There’s nothing wrong with having more than one spiritual pillar in a family. In my own home, both my husband and I actively seek to stand as spiritual pillars for our boys. So does their grandmother. The boys know that they can come to any of us at any time; and they feel free to do so.
So what does it mean to be a spiritual pillar?
It means that you need to be someone who your kids feel comfortable talking to about God! It means being open and honest and non-threatening with your kids. It means trying to understand them, and reacting with them in the way Jesus would have reacted when He was here on the earth. But most importantly, it means that you stand as their example. They need to see that you spend time with the Lord, that you routinely give your problems to Him. They need to witness you letting God be in charge of your life. They need to experience your forgiveness, your understanding, your letting God go first in your life. They need to see that you are trying to be what you are asking of them!
This is a pretty awe-filled responsibility, isn’t it? In fact, as I’m thinking back over all the responsibilities I’ve been forced to assume in parenting, it’s a good thing I didn’t know about them in advance. Otherwise, I might have never had children! The good news, however, is that we don’t have to be perfect. That would be setting each of us up for failure. But when we do make mistakes, we need to be willing to freely admit to them. We need to be open about how we will resolve the problems we may have created.
Remember that God will never place a responsibility on your shoulders that He will not give you the ability to assume: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13); and “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19). Each one of us CAN be the spiritual pillar our kids need us to be if we actively pursue a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if we allow Him to help us do so.
Enough to ponder, but do ponder this: Your primary responsibility to your kids is to be that spiritual pillar they so desperately need!
Join us next week for Bringing up Kids God’s Way, Part 5d: Being an Example in Your Own Walk with Christ.
God bless each of you abundantly as you seek to guide the kids in your life in the ways of the Lord!
In His love,
(To access the entire “Bringing up Kids God’s Way” mini-series, please click here.)