Nothing strikes more fear in the heart of a Christian mother than to hear statistics about how many young people have turned their backs on God. We love God, and we want our children to love Him too. We understand the heartbreak of life and the terror of a Godless eternity so we yearn for them to experience the peace and joy that only comes from walking with God. Yet, many of us feel inadequate to shepherd our children’s souls.
The weight of responsibility overwhelms us.
What should I say?
What should I do?
How can I teach my kids about God without messing it up?
What if I get it wrong, and they turn away?
Many times, our overthinking paralyzes us, and we do nothing. (Or very little.) We leave the bulk of spiritual training to the “professionals,” the Sunday school teachers and youth ministers.
Thankfully, long before Sunday school and professional Christian workers, God provided simple guidelines to help parents raise their children in the faith. This model has worked for centuries—even millennia—as Old Testament believers passed on their faith to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, down through the ages and into today.
Consider Deuteronomy 6:5–9:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
5 Simple Ways to Share Your Faith
1. Cultivate your own walk with God.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (v. 5).
We can’t share what we don’t have. If your faith is marginal, the faith you share will be marginal. If you treat the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible reading casually, it sets the same tone for your kids. If you spend more Sundays at the lake than in church, which activity will they assume is most important?
Serving God wholeheartedly doesn’t guarantee our children will walk in faith, but we can give them an example to follow.
Think of the people who have influenced you spiritually. Their love for God bubbled out of them in winsome and wonderful ways. Their prayer life inspired you and made you want to know God as they did. Their delight in sharing what they’d read in their quiet time made you want to read your Bible more.
By God’s design, part of leading our children into a dynamic faith is cultivating a dynamic faith of our own.
2. Teach diligently.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children” (v. 6–7).
As you meditate on (continue to think about) whatever God has shown you in your quiet time, ask Him how to teach the same truths to your children. One way I did this was through Scripture memorization.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and knew very little about the Bible. I had a vague sense of the Ten Commandments and could recite the Lord’s prayer and most of Psalm 23, but that was about it.
One year I decided to memorize some important verses—and included my children in the process. I began with 1 John 1:9, a key verse about how to restore our fellowship with God after we sin. On the front of two index cards, I wrote the verse. On the backs, I wrote the first letter of every word. I placed one card on our dinner table and one in the van.
Each evening at dinner, we read the verse three times, then took turns trying to recite it. We did the same thing in the car on the way to swim team practice. (They read the card while I drove.) By the end of the week (sooner for my kids), we could recite the verse perfectly. I’m a terrible memorizer, so my children took great satisfaction in being able to learn the verse quicker than I could. They also found great delight in correcting me when I messed up.
This exercise took only a few minutes a day—but I had to be diligent to do it. By the end of the school year, we’d memorized many important verses and moved on to longer passages. Also that year, I found a recording of the books of the Bible set to music and played it each evening while we cleaned the kitchen. I was amazed at how painlessly we learned to recite all sixty-six books, in order, through song. Today, twenty years later, I can still sing my way through. I suspect my children can too.
3. Talk about everything.
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house” (v. 7).
As parents, we talk to our children all the time. The diligent parent will leverage some of this talking time to share spiritual truth—not in a preachy way, but naturally.
Consider talking about what you learned from the pastor’s sermon on the way home from church, asking them what their lesson was about in Sunday school or children’s church, or share a verse from your quiet time.
Don’t limit faith conversations to church or Bible reading time. Kids love stories, especially real-life ones. Tell them a story from your life. As parents, we’re often tempted to share only the shining moments, but the times when we got in trouble or made bad choices can be powerful. Connect these accounts to the biblical principle that could have spared us, and we’ll communicate a valuable truth.
Don’t forget to share your personal faith story with your kids. In age-appropriate ways, explain how you came to believe in Christ’s death and resurrection, confess your sin, repent, and call upon Him as your Savior.
4. Create an opportunity-rich faith environment.
“And when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (v. 7).
Why do we tend to think Christian discipleship happens most often in formal settings? I’ve experienced many valuable lessons just experiencing life with other believers. The same can be true for our children.
One young family I know helps out at a local food pantry, making sandwiches for the homeless. As they smear peanut butter and jelly on slices of bread, they talk about how to work as unto the Lord and how Jesus calls us to help the poor.
When it’s time to distribute food, my friends teach their children to look each person in the eye and smile. I’ll never forget the sight of their grinning toddler eagerly reaching into an icy cooler to hand out water bottles.
Another family regularly helps an elderly neighbor with yard work. Even their youngest child, a two-year-old, gathers sticks and pinecones. When they finish, they head out for a treat. They talk about God’s command to honor the aged as they slurp ice cold slushies.
5. Surround them with spiritual resources.
“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (v. 9).
This final verse encourages us to use our homes to reflect our faith. Some display Scripture and biblical artwork as part of their décor. My grandmother hung a painting in her kitchen of an elderly man bowing his head over a simple meal. In her guest room, she had a print of a shining angel keeping watch over two children navigating a treacherous bridge. Granny’s biblical artwork prompted many spiritual conversations when my sisters and I visited.
American homes have an overabundance of books, but how many of them are Christian books? Children love to read and be read to (especially at bedtime, when they’re trying to delay lights out). Capitalize on this by providing excellent Christian literature. Surround them with age-appropriate Bibles, Bible story books, and quality fiction written from a Christian worldview. But buy with discernment. Not everything labeled Christian is biblical.
Statistics about the number of young people leaving the faith should concern us, but they shouldn’t paralyze us. God has given Christian parents the solemn responsibility to raise our children in the faith, but we don’t bear this responsibility alone. Through the Holy Spirit, God waters the seeds we sow and awakens our children’s hearts. When we pray for wisdom and discernment, He provides what we need (James 1:5). We can trust His promise that His Word will never return empty, but will always accomplish what He intends for it to do (Isaiah 55:11).
Unholy sexuality has gone mainstream, and your kids are being pummeled with confusing messages that are contrary to God’s Word. On today’s episode of Grounded you’ll be empowered to have a different kind of “sex talk” with your kids—the kind that helps them understand and live out God’s plan for holy sexuality. Respected pastor and Bible professor Christopher Yuan is our guest.
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about 5 Simple Ways to Teach Faith to Your Children.