It’s hard to imagine a coach of a competitive sports team spending hours in lecture from the rule book who never calls a practice session. Even more, that the coach would pit his team against another team based on that kind of training. Teaching what the strategies of any competition are without incorporating many hours of testing that knowledge makes little sense. Learning team work…how to win and lose is important, also.
Then, too, we realize that our children go through the drills and spills of sports training in order to build skills and character for a greater game – the game of life. Granted not all parents think this way, but Christian parents usually do. They recognize that they are charged with providing information and experiences that honor God by building character in their children that reflects God’s Kingdom principles. Information that leads to transformation – that’s our motto!
Paul wrote, “Wherever that Gospel goes, it produces Christian character and develops it…your outward lives, which men see, bring credit to your Master’s name and joy to His heart by bearing genuine Christian fruit.” (Colossians 1:6, 10). Why do we not see more of this in our homes and churches today?
First of all, we now recognize that ninety minutes a week cannot provide enough of what our children need. It is literally impossible for the church to do it on her own. Oh, yes, the church’s role in providing Christian teaching is critical, but the home is the ideal place to assimilate this “nourishment,” and demonstrate what it means in everyday life. In fact, children who are taught a great deal but who lack opportunity to practice what they learn – or who live with contradictory examples from trusted mentors in their lives, too often walk away from what they are taught with hearts full of confusion and disillusionment.
Recently I asked a friend to help me solve a problem with a wall outlet in my bedroom. No power surged into the boom box I had plugged into it. My friend asked if I had a wall switch that had disconnected the outlet from the power source. Sure enough, when I flipped the wall switch, I could play my favorite music. Electricity became available where once there had been a great disconnect.
We know that God’s power is sufficient and available. We are, therefore, responsible to discover the reason for this great disconnect that accounts for the sad statistics we’re given for the numbers of children who leave the faith they once accepted as truth. For our children, I believe one very significant factor is the difference between what we say and how we illustrate it by the way we live.
God reveals His intention that children reflect His character and display His mighty works to a watching world and, even more important, to the next generation.(Psalm 145:3,4) Some call this being real, or authentic.
The urgent challenge before every Christian parent is to take God’s Word seriously, and to illustrate by word and action the precepts so clearly presented in the Bible. We must never under estimate the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) when its truth is presented by the spoken word and corresponding deeds. No greater privilege or responsibility exists for those who mentor children.
PRAYER, our spiritual breathing, and GOD’S WORD, our spiritual nourishment assimilated by faith and obedience – these guarantee lives full of spiritual fruit. Flabby obesity and anemic lethargy don’t have to be characteristic of our children’s spiritual well-being.
Please share ways you explore what this means. How do you build spiritual wholeness into children?