Children are brought up in families where often times some religious faith is practiced. In our current day where there are many openly practiced religions sometimes children are brought up attending two different religious services or being taught two different religious dogmas. In homes where no formal religion is practiced, children are still taught to have faith even if it is only in themselves.
We Christians raise our kids to believe in the God of the Bible, we take them to Awana, Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School. We put them in Christian school, they memorize Bible verses, and we pray with them and for them from the moment they are conceived. An abundance of them “get saved”, “Pray to receive Christ”, “ask Jesus into their heart” before they are adults.
So how come so many of our kids reveal through their lives that they have not ever truly made that transition from death to life (Ephesians 2:1-3)? I fear many of us are delusional in our felt beliefs that our children are truly regenerated when so much of the evidence we see points elsewhere.
The hard truth is that being a good Christian parent and raising them “right” guarantees nothing. No one is grandfathered into the kingdom of God, and no one chooses to enter without the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Each of our children must be drawn to God by God and then each of them must decide what they are going to do with this Jesus and the salvation He offers them. Our children have to make our faith their own. They must decide what theological truths they will accept and embrace. Will they become more Reformed or Catholic or Lutheran or Orthodox, or Armenian? Will they decide to believe that sign gifts are for today or that a person can “lose” their salvation?
Our faith is just that- our faith. Our faith leads and guides our children while they are young, but there comes a time when that is just not enough, when our kids have to acquire their own faith with Jesus Christ. Our prayers may protect them and be used by God for seasons of their lives but we cannot promise them our salvation. This walk of faith is something each of our kids has to do alone, with the Lord.
At times it will be difficult to watch them sink under the murky waters of sinful decisions but that is what is sometimes needed for our kids to begin to see their need to grow and change. Their very trials and hardships and questions of faith will help them to better trust Him, even when their questions create more questions than answers and even when they come upon some very dark and lonely periods of time.
While our faith is a beautiful thing, it is no more useful to them than a precious and fragile china tea set. Nice to look at but impractical for our purposes. Real faith is grabbed with both hands and used like that travel coffee mug you may take with you each day. But even that mug is useless unless you fill it up and take it along.
May we never believe that we are enough for our children. May we never believe that our faith is enough for their salvation. May we never protect them from things that will bring them to regeneration through Christ Jesus.