God wants Christian parents to lead their children to Him. But if you are like I was, you feel inadequate. Don’t worry; God says He will lead: “No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44).
Still, we have a God-given responsibility to share Christ with our children. Here are seven steps you can take.
- Protect your marriage. Malachi 2:15 says “and why (did He make man and wife) one? That He might seek a godly seed. Therefore…let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.” Display a godly marriage relationship—sacrificial and enduring—in front of your child. If you’re single, you can still honor the institution of marriage as God’s idea.
- Be a growing disciple yourself. Deuteronomy 4:9 says “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen … but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.” Your love for Christ overflows to your child.
- Pray before, during, and after spiritual discussions with your child. You are working in spiritual territory, so don’t go into a spiritual battle without spiritual preparation.
- Teach the Bible consistently. Rarely does a child ask Christ to save upon the first hearing of the gospel. Teach the life of Christ, His death, burial and Resurrection. Share verses like the ‘Roman Road’ (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, and 10:9-10.) Teach at the child’s level. Use object lessons.
- Ask a good starter question like “What do you think it takes for a person to go to heaven?” Asking open-ended questions allows you to find out what your child thinks.
- Use correction to teach about salvation. Correction creates opportunities to talk about sin, God’s perfection, and how God makes a way for forgiveness through Jesus. When children are burdened about their sin and realize that they need a Savior, you can be sure that the Holy Spirit is leading.
- Follow up. Spiritual work continues after a child becomes a Christian. Consider your own experience: Has “working out your salvation” been a straight-line upward trajectory? Mine hasn’t. So here’s my advice: “Go on. Feed it!”
I enjoy hearing that guy in the Scott’s commercial say in his Scottish brogue, “Go on. Feed it,” talking about your lawn. It reminds me that a Christian parent’s spiritual duty is depicted in the parable of the four soils. In this parable, gospel seed fell on the rocky path, on thin soil, on thorny soil, and on the good soil. Parents must continually break loose the soil of their child’s heart, strengthen the character that resists thorn growth, and feed the soil to make it rich. Parents work the soil of a child’s heart, both before and after salvation.
He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel,
which He commanded our fathers,
that they should make them known to their children;
that the generation to come might know them…
What steps can you take today?
By James D. Dempsey, Ph.D.
Husband to Gail
Father of three
Grandfather of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Presenter for The National Center For Biblical Parenting
Author of Parenting Unchained
Host of the radio show, Parenting Unchained, at LOTOradio.com and AM630, KSLR Radio, San Antonio.
Click HERE for a link to Jim’s book, Parenting Unchained.