My parents were intelligent, funny, and devoted to our family. They taught us to never embrace the title of victim, to play hard but work harder, to be honest, and to keep the Ten Commandments. They also had a very strong sense of what it meant to be a family. For example, when mom was sick of listening to us “kill” each other, she would say “you can always make new friends, but you only have one family, so protect each other like wolves protect their pack mates.”
We were raised in church and parochial schools with an enthusiastically enforced strict moral conduct code … then at 15, I discovered the lure of sin and thought, “This is fun!” Thankfully, God used those sin-filled years and the self-inflicted pitfalls brought by that sin to turn me back to him at 25. Not long after, I married, and we were blessed with two sons.
I was determined to make sure our boys wouldn’t turn out like me. I wanted them to know Jesus long before I did, so they could stand strong in Christ and reject the sin I had embraced as a teen. From the time they were born, we had Christian everything, every day, all day. By the age of 11, they were begging me, “Please, Mom, no more Vacation Bible School. No more Christian schools.”
Unfortunately, we let them have their way, and Christ stopped being the center of everything. They are grown now—intelligent, funny, courageous adults. But not Christ followers. Not yet.
Lead Pastor Ben Snyder’s sermon on influencing the kids in our lives leaves me asking myself: How do I influence these 33 and 31-year-old successful businessmen that reject Jesus’ offer of relationship and salvation ?
I pray for them every day. I stay in touch by text or phone weekly. I invite them to church on holidays, albeit unsuccessfully. And every day, I turn them over to the Lord who loves them more than I can even comprehend, much less equal. And I serve him where he has planted me—here at CedarCreek.
So whatever phase you are in with your kids, and wherever they are on their walks with Christ, know one thing: The one true God, loves them even more than you do, and he continues to call your children to him. Your job is to be the hands and feet of Christ to whomever he has given you to serve. You may not see it today, but God is writing a bigger story in your family than you think.
When you get discouraged, remember to be like the father of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-32. It was no coincidence he was standing on that hill watching down the road for that wandering boy of his. I’m guessing he paused there every day to pray for his son’s return, and his son did indeed, remorsefully, come home.
20 “So he returned home to his father … 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. 22 But his father said … 23 We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’”
What phase are you in? Have you recognized the important role God has gifted you with as parent, mentor, and teacher to your children?
Are you teaching and modeling for your children that God is the center of a life worth living? If not, why? How can you prioritize growing their relationships with God over the day-to-day distractions of life?
Check out Right Now Media for advice on ways to center your family on Christ instead of the world. Then switch your focus and energy on living a life that pleases the Lord and guides your children to him.
Check out is this Family Faith Plan offered by CedarCreek. The Family Faith Plan gives you developmental and spiritual tools to engage with your child and help them take steps on their own spiritual journeys.
Father God, I praise you, Lord. Thank you for your patience and forgiveness of my sins. You are my source of life, light, and love. Please help me focus all my choices on serving you and guiding others to you. Help me to trust you and your plans for my family. It is in his powerful name I pray. Amen.
This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.
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