I have had a heavy burden lately for families. So many families are struggling, breaking apart, buckling under the weight of sin and pride and foolish independence and selfish love that turns out not to be love at all. And then there are the families where everything seems grand, where baseball and camping and dance classes crowd out the greatness of real communion with God’s people, where parents maintain a casual association with the church while their children learn and re-learn and truly believe that Jesus has no place in this oh-so-comfortable life.
More and more in all types of families I see parents who claim to be Christians yet don’t see the need or importance of doing all they can to make sure that their own precious children escape the clutches of hell and find victory over sin and death. It makes my heart pound, the sheer terror of it, that idea that I should receive forgiveness of sin and my children should face the terrible wrath of a holy God. It ought to terrify all of us, the idea of our loved ones living and dying without knowing the perfect love, mercy, and salvation of the Lord.
I implore you, parents. Examine yourself. If you do not feel a sense of urgency in the training and spiritual development of your children, if you do not provide them with a church family and teach them God’s word, if you do not feel utter devastation at the thought of them living without Christ and dying without hope, then you have no reason to feel assured of your own salvation. It’s possible that you were made to believe at some point in your past that you had a true encounter with Jesus, but you actually only had an emotional experience with no real repentance or faith in the Lord.
It is reasonable to deduce that a true follower of Christ could not and would not fail to teach her own children how to become Christians.
If your family’s life is ruled by the things of this world instead of the things of God, if you find yourself rarely or never engaging your children in spiritual conversations, if you have let other activities take precedence over church attendance, if your children see no real need or place for Jesus in your world, you need to stop right now and seek the Lord. You need to consider whether you really know Him and whether His Holy Spirit has changed your heart of stone to a heart of flesh. (Ez. 36:26) You need to remember that Jesus said that anyone who causes a little one to stumble would be better off with a millstone tied around his neck, drowned in some bottomless ocean. (Luke 17:2) You need to consider the words of Christ when He declared that the greatest commandment is Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. (Matt. 22:36-38)
“Christian” means something more than liking some of the things Jesus had to say. This faith is all-consuming and utterly transforming. If your faith is more like an occasional identifier than a life-altering relationship, then it is possible that you don’t really know Jesus at all. It’s possible that you are going to hell and you are dragging your children there with you.
Consider the condition of your soul. Contemplate whether you are leading your children through the wide gate and down the broad the road that leads to destruction. Scripture tells us that the way is narrow that leads to life. Few find it. (Matt. 17:13-14) Have you? Will your children? Pray that today will be the day of salvation.
Thank you! As a preschool teacher I agree with you in prayer 100%.
Thanks, Linda! I love preschool teachers.
Thanks for writing this. My thoughts have gone down these same lines lately. The Scriptures warm us of deception so much, we should consider the possibility that we could be deceived. Thanks!
Thank you, Sherri!
Thank you so much for this. (quick typo i think, Ezekiel 36:26. I found it only because you have me searching scripture, so that’s a good thing!)
Thanks for your help, Mary!
Thank you for writing this and saying exactly what has been on my heart.
Even if we do all that your article mentions, they still have free will. My grown children are 26 and 28 and neither are following the Lord though both would say they believe. I sometimes wonder if my zeal for the Lord and their salvation actually caused them to rebel. I continue to pray and share as much as they are willing to listen to.
Beth, you’re absolutely right. There are no guarantees in scripture that our children will believe. But if you hadn’t had zeal for the Lord while they grew up you would also be blaming yourself for their lack of belief. Take comfort in knowing that you did your best to lead them in the ways of God (imperfectly, of course, because we are all sinners). God is sovereign and your boys will never be beyond His reach. Praying with you for their salvation or their turning back to Christ.
Thank you. Especially painful as the eldest is homeless, on drugs and hundreds of miles away. We haven’t seen him for 5 years. So, I do fight guilt and examine myself ruthlessly.
AMEN!!!!!!!!!! What a timely word. If only more parents believed this way then I believe there wouldn’t be the mass number of our own “church kids” leaving the church when they start their own lives and families.
Thank you for your blog.. it is weighty raising children in a world that highly honors achievement in sports, grades, and excess. We have to raise our children in Christ not just in church, their identity is found in Christ.
We need to teach them their identity is not in sports, grades, friends, etc.. when they succeed they feel good and when they fail they feel bad. Their identity is not found in the things of this world but IN Christ. And then how do you live that out? Our choices are based on our identity in Christ. We live from love not from fear. We are capable of saying no to things others are not and yet we are satisfied. Sometimes it might feel like we(they)are living on the outside but He will direct our(their) path and give us(them)Godly friends to walk with and joy in the process. Be patient with the process. I have seen it with my own children. We have not done anything perfectly.. not even close but I have seen God move in the lives of my children where I thought not possible.
Pray for them daily; salvation, knowledge of Him, that they would feel loved, relationships, hidden sins- bloodline curses, future spouses(never to early!), etc…
God is faithful to perform His Word in the lives of our children. His word does not return to Him void. Have faith that His timing is perfect even when it feels like Satan might be winning the battle. We are overcomers but the blood of Jesus. Keep praying