Photographs have a way of capturing moments in our lives and preserving it for a long time. It’s a tool we can use to “freeze” time and remember with fondness the past. We “ooh” and “ah” over these pictures, allowing the emotion of the minute to come back to us.
There are times when I hold Anabelle in my arms that I just want all time to stand still. There are times I wish she would just stop growing (until her next immature act or attitude, then I can’t wait to rush her childhood) and just relish the present with me forever. But the fact is, they always grow up. Other parents tell me, “In the blink of an eye, they’re teenagers,” “It seems like yesterday they were just learning to ride their bikes,” “I remember the first time I held them in the hospital like it was yesterday.” Children do grow up and they grow up fast! My fear is that in the perceived speed of their growth, we are missing ways to develop godly faith in them.
Of course, I cannot speak from a position of experience. I am certainly not writing as an expert. And I certainly am not saying that I know it all. But I have been blessed to observe and learn from godly parents ways to grow our children’s faith. The spiritual success of their own children validate their teachings and make them worthy of following and learning from. And of course, the Author of the family and the Giver of children has already outlined in His Word how we can grow our children’s faith.
I don’t know what God has in store for Anabelle in 20, 30, 40 years. A godly husband. Some children (and grandchildren for me). A thriving ministry. Whatever it may be, I know this, you must learn to walk before you can run. What she learns today from her mom and dad will help shape her life and more importantly, her faith, in the future.
So how can we grow our children’s faith? I have listed a few suggestions that I’ve been taught.
There Must Be A Modeling
Of Love for God, your spouse, your children, and your church. Have you heard of the phrase, “Monkey see, monkey do?” Long after your late-night talks and family devotion sermonette, your love will echo lessons in their hearts. After all, didn’t Jesus say all the commandments of God hand on two commandments? And didn’t these two commandments involve love? Model biblical love before your children.
Of Life well lived. Jesus came to give abundant life! Exciting, adventurous, worthwhile, grateful, and purposeful. From your children’s point of view, what does your life look like? Would they want it? Would they want to be like you? No child wants an angry, ungrateful, aimless, and boring life! By the way, that is not what God promised, nor is it his will for our lives.
Of Labor for God. Are you serving the Lord? This generation has made it a point to blame their parents for their shortcoming – and psychiatrists are getting rich off of it! I have heard teenager today reason away their lack of labor for God with this question, “Why should I serve in church when my parents don’t do anything but sit in the pews?” Do you children see you excited serving God and His people?
There Must Be A Melding
To meld means “to combine or to blend together.” To grow our children’s faith, there must be a melding…
Of the Mind. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” As parents, we must have the mind of Christ so that as we share it with our children, they are receiving the mind of Christ, too. Having the mind of Christ is achieved through our daily devotions. What has God taught you today that you can teach to your child? It is our God-given duty to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Of the Heart. At the end of the day, your children don’t want gifts. They want you! They want your love, affection, attention, and care. How do we accomplish this? Pray for them and with them. Spend time with them. Tell them “I love you” often. Compliment them frequently. Play with them. Go on trips with them. Make memories together.
These are just a few of the lessons I’ve been taught by godly mentors who now have children following the same steps with theirs. I am thankful for the opportunity to grow the faith of my children today!