August 2010

Our Children’s Faith

Faith is not genetic.  Children cannot simply inherit their faith from their parents.  So how do we nurture our children’s faith? 

First, what is faith?  Hebrews defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1) and that “without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11: 6). Abraham, the great Bible hero of faith, “believed in the Lord and he (the Lord) credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15: 6) and “obeyed and went even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11; 8)

What can parents do to encourage their children to believe that God is real and that God wants to have a relationship with us through Jesus?  Pray.  Ask God for his Spirit to guide your children and to nudge them towards God. Don’t stop praying for your children’s faith to grow in God.

Keep children connected to God and to his family.  Go to church, participate in youth groups, serve as a family. Even if your child professes to have no faith in God, keep the expectation that as a member of your family, that’s what your family does together.

Answer questions honestly.  The very act of asking of tough questions about the existence of God is a good thing; it indicates that your child is thinking about God.  God is not afraid of our deepest or angriest questions so parents don’t need to be either.  Don’t try to be perfect; talk about your own struggles and questions. 

Read the Bible together.  The Bible never hides the flaws or struggles of God’s people.  Use Bible people to talk through questions and struggles and responses with your children.

We cannot give our faith to our children, but we can share our faith, encourage our children on their faith walk, and depend on God!

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