I don’t know about you, but the initial story of how the dad prays committedly in meetings and the daughter prays in Sunday School… but the dad never prays with the daughter really causes one to reflect.
Holmen describes how it is not a question of are you passing on things to your children, but what are you passing on. The things we pass along are intentional (being generous, spending time in God’s Word, forgiving others), but also the unintentional or what is observed (the anger when dealing with a disagreement, the types of things we watch on TV/movies, the way spouses treat one another, how we spend money).
The study finding that even children/youth report that mother, father, grandparent or another relative rank in the top faith influences reminds us that kids do not look far as they grow in their faith. The family is important. Christ reminded people that devotion to God was primary, even to family (Matt. 12:46-50), but it was also affirmed that the Christian witness is expressed in serving the family (1 Tim. 5:8).
As Christ-following/Christian households, the parent (or grandparent, aunt/uncle, etc.) role is to have worship be beyond Sunday. Our daily living reflects worshipping God in the home with acts of prayer, teaching, reading, service, giving, disciplining… all in ways that draw the family to God.
Our gathering as the wider church in the world is to be one of equipping, but it is in the home that the faith is daily expressed and passed on. When it moves outside the church building, it reminds children that our God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is not confined to one spot but is with them in daily situations… and that we are join Him in His work in the world.
One warning: Do not psychologize your faith. This would be the idea that if I do the right number of things I can have a kid that has faith. That is a church-y kid but is not necessarily one who loves Jesus with faith. The Holy Spirit must be involved for authentic faith to develop. So the goal is to express the faith we have in our actions so that the children in our families (children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.) will come to love God and have their own relationship with Him.
To live your faith, you must consider your relationship with God. Holmen’s questions are good: Where is Christ standing in our life? At the center? To the side? Far away? This defines whether the faith you live is real… or just for the sake of being an example.
So the family makeover really begins with your makeover.
THIS WEEK’S DISCUSSION: What ways have you kept your relationship with God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) active in the crazy world of parenting? What would you suggest to for someone who needs to begin their personal spiritual makeover (before starting with their home)?
- Join the conversation at the “Comments” link below.
FOR NEXT WEEK: Choose and try an activity from pages 57-62.