When kids have parents who talk about their stories of faith and how God works in their lives, or even explains why they live out their faith in certain areas of obedience it’s only a matter of time that the child’s heart is conditioned to form his/her believes in Christ and hopefully accepts all He has to offer. So often we hear in Scriptures of childlike faith, and the simplicity in that is so real. It’s adults who complicate it.
When a child meets faith for the first time it’s easy for them to believe just the same as they believe in Santa, the tooth fairy or the boogie Monster.
When a child understands faith though, that’s when they distinguish its realness and weight.
Meeting faith as a child happens by hearing and learning from their parents and all they choose to speak of it, but understanding faith happens by the child’s observance of the parents’ life. As parents, we must understand this one reality: If you start informing them when they are young, the likelihood of their belief in God is great, but if you live out your faith in such a way where words are valuable but not always necessary, the absolute of them accepting and living out faith is substantial.
As Christians, we all struggle in some way shape or form in living out our faith, whether it’s our commitment, having morals, setting and keeping standards or just plain consistency. When you account for just yourself it’s easy to let these things sway or even at times dissipate, but when a Christian becomes a parent for the first time, it’s a whole new level of complexity. The moment they hand you your child in the hospital, you realize you are the sole example for this little human life watching your every move. You may be the only one who exposes them to Christ (the weight that carry’s at times can be abundant and often overwhelming).
My first son was born in 2010, and I remember immediately starting to pray for him. Over the last 6 years I have spoken many prayers on his behalf. Prayers he would come to know who Christ was, prayers he would live out his faith, prayers he would be kind and love other people, prayers God would make him a man worthy of a good woman. The prayers were often specific and rarely general. I remember nights of family devotions or story time and my oldest son Lincoln starting to ask questions. It started off small like why do we go to church, how high in the sky is Heaven. These questions were easy and un-complex.
Later at the age of 4 the questions converted to conversations, topics of people’s hearts and souls and what was wrong and right. I’ll never forget the morning at 5 years old Lincoln crawled in bed with my husband and I and said he asked Jesus to live in his heart. At first I doubted it, “he’s so young he is probably just saying that” were my initial thoughts (like I said we adults always complicate it) but as the day went on his sheer joy could not be contained. He spoke of it often and by that afternoon we knew it was not like our normal conversations. We sat down with him and asked him every in-depth question we felt he needed to know in order to understand what he was committing to. To my surprise, every answer was flawless and accurate. I cried….I cried a lot. Mostly for doubting at first but then from the weight that was removed.
My first-born son not only knew about Christ, but Christ dwelled in him.
While my job is not done as a parent, the thought that I now had the gift of the Holy Spirit within him to help aid me in the direction he needed to go in order to grow, was like breathing for the first time.
- What was it like when my child met faith? It was sweet and memorable.
- What was it like when my child understood faith? It was freeing.
We are starting the process now of speaking often to my two-year old son about Jesus. While he is very green to the concept due to his age, I’m hopeful that one day that freeing emotion will happen to me for him as well.
So what can we as Christian parents do to help our children meet faith?
- Pray. Never stop praying. Pray specific and pray with intensity for their belief and salvation.
- Speak of God often and express your praises to Him for all things in your life, good and bad.
- Read the Bible, do family devotions or a child’s bible story book with them at night. Make a habit to do it daily with them.
- Do your best to practice what you preach. Don’t just speak of your faith or about it, live it daily.
The best example a child can have is a living one. Don’t be dead in your faith, or they can’t grow in theirs.