Faith. It is the essence of how I navigate the world. Faith teaches me what the world cannot. Faith is what binds up my heart and faith is what keeps my eyes focused on God. My greatest desire is to equip my kids with faith in order to handle whatever life throws at them.
So how do I handle this enormous task to give them the foundation of handling the highs and lows of life? The answer is modeling my relationship with God.
We live in a world where the latest generation’s prevalent worldview of postmodern thought includes values on spirituality, community, experience, and betterment of the world.
In other words, this generation is highly skeptical of authority and does not believe there is a God. They simply believe faith is a warm, fuzzy, and subjective feeling.
A quick web search on “Teaching Kids about Faith” will pull articles where faith, spirituality, and post-modernism are combined to give parents ideas on how to send good thoughts in terms of faith.
It made me consider what I really want my kids to know about faith and here six things I want to teach my kids:
1. The Bible Is the Inspired Word of God
According to Barna, less than nine percent of adults believe the Word of God is infallible —meaning God’s Word contains no errors, is completely true and applies to our lives today.
I want my kids to know God’s Word to be true and wouldn’t lie, because he is sovereign and wouldn’t put something in His Word unless we needed it. I want my kids to know His Word is living and active, it judges the hearts of men, and acts as a compass.
And I want them to understand there is something inappropriate about using secular science to judge the claims of the Bible when we must believe it to be true simply because it is God’s Word.
And I also want them to know it is not to be used as a weapon against things they don’t understand, nor is it used to condemn or judge but it is to be used as a living, breathing, active compass of Christ-centered living. A way to love others through relationship with Jesus.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (Timothy 3:16).
2. Faith Will Help You in the Real World
When the world is pushing messages like that faith is a feeling of Zen, I want them to know God’s Word is true, living, and infallible. I want them to know the Bible still applies to life today just as it did 2,000 years ago.
The foundation of faith I’m teaching my kids is relevant and will still be applicable when they navigate the real world through personal choices, work, career, and relationships. Whenever they question what to do, I want them to get on their knees in prayer and/or dive into God’s Word.
As Christians, we know we are to obey God, to grow spiritually, and actually apply the Bible to our lives. But applying God’s Word to your life can be a challenge in today’s world.
Thankfully the Word of God itself gives us an understanding on how to best apply it in our everyday life. The scriptures are clear that it is impossible to obey God’s commands without the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
3. Faith Is More Than Just Rules — It’s a Relationship
With many doctrines, belief systems, and symbolic traditions encompassed under the word, Christianity, it paints God to be an unrelenting task master with a list of legalistic rules.
I want my kids to know faith isn’t about rules, I want them to experience God’s love and what it’s like to have a relationship with Jesus.
Being loved by Christ motivates me to want to do what God asks through His Word, to live life for Christ and it’s what will motivate them to pursue God’s heart.
If my kids think the mission of Christ is to follow the rules and laws, then we’re going about faith the wrong way. The laws from the Old Testament were broken and amended when God saw how broken and sinful we were.
Rather than follow the rules, God sent His Son to show His love for us and build a bridge to His saving grace. Because of Christ, Christianity is about a personal relationship. It is about love not following rules.
4. Faith Is an Action
Faith is love in action. Faith is being the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s seeing a need in our community and taking action when the Holy Spirit prompts.
Our faith shows itself in things we say and do and in the way we treat other people.
- Talk is cheap.
- Actions speak louder than words.
- You have to be willing to put your money where your mouth is.
- You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
These phrases remind us there is a difference between intention and action.
Faith isn’t just a warm, fuzzy feeling — faith means being Christ’s hands and feet in action. It’s love in action. I don’t want my children to become disillusioned with the church or the years Jesus spent in ministry by feeding and clothing the poor.
Jesus spent more time in relationship with society’s rejects than He did with His fellow peers at the synagogue. I to teach my kids about “feeding his lambs,” I want my kids to be others-centered instead of self-centered. It’s important to remember that love is primarily an action word in the Bible, not an emotion.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13).
5. Faith in Christ Means You Have a Purpose
In a world where parents teach their kids to be anything they want — I want my children to know the true meaning of Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Psalm 139. I want them to discover the path and life God has planned and purposed for them.
I want my children to know they were created for a God-appointed task — born with unique talents and destined to fulfill a purpose no one else can do. I want them to seek God’s face to establish their future.
I want them to intimately understand Ephesians 2:10 of being God’s masterpiece. The ultimate purpose and meaning of life are found in Jesus Christ! Our first and foremost priority is to seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness above all else (Matthew 6:33).
6. Faith Is Keeping Jesus as the Target
Today’s fad will be swept up in yesterday’s news, but God is the same as He was yesterday as He will be tomorrow. I want my kids to keep their eyes on Jesus no matter how crazy and anti-Jesus this world becomes.
Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom (Psalm 45:3-6).
This passage contains the statement about God’s sharp arrows, and it references us. God wants us to abide in faith, hope, and love forever keeping Jesus as the target in our words, actions, and in our hearts.
It’s not just about bringing Jesus into the center of our prayers, church, or Bible studies. It’s about keeping Jesus at the center of our relationships, in our words, our thoughts, and our actions.
It’s about keeping our focus on Christ in the mundane moments, hanging out with friends, going shopping, watching movies, etc.
This means no matter what the culture says, we are to teach our children to choose God’s ways. Joshua 25:15 says, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
No matter if your kids are little or big, ask God to show you the areas where you can model faith better. Ask him how to help grow your kids’ relationship with God.
Make every effort to line your actions up with the words you speak be filled with the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. So, how do we begin today? Let’s start by observing our faith and what we model to our children!
For further reading:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Iam Anupong
Heather Riggleman is an award-winning journalist and podcast co-host of the Moms Better Together Podcast. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 22 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and a contributor to several books. She is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.