“What do you do to ensure your kids have a deep relationship with God?” she asked her and we all sat on pins and needles because as Christian parents this is what we want. We want to ensure our kids flourish in their growth with God and we will buy cute scripture cards, pretty bibles, and any book that mentions Jesus to get it. It has pretty much been my standard question to any mom who has kids who are older and love Jesus. Give me the formula I ask. I want fire insurance (get it).
To be completely frank (because you’re on the other side of the screen and I can’t see you) sometimes I just want the behavior by products that come with Christianity. I don’t want them to drink or do drugs or sleep around. So, I want them to be Christians because, when I was younger the good Christian kids didn’t do that. I want results. I want protection. I want to hold on to their innocence more than I want world peace sometimes. Christianity seems to do this. I can throw verses and conviction at all that stuff. I can bible beat them into behaving just the way I want.
But where does that leave their heart?
If performance is what I teach them about Christianity then what will they do when their pride grows large and they look down on Susie sleeps around? If behavior modification is all I am after then I don’t really need Jesus. I can take away enough stuff to make bad decisions hurt but I can’t make their heart ache when they do the wrong thing. What do I want more than all the right answers? A heart humbly turned towards a God who can save them. What’s more important than knowing how to act the right way is for them love the right way. I want them to be changed because of what they know not just perform well because they know how to play a part. I want life change not simply behavior change.
So what was her answer? With 7 eager moms looking on, “oh honey you got to let that go, that’s between them and God.” Not exactly what we were hoping for. She went on to say that modeling a relationship with God was far more effective than simply telling them about God.
For the longest time I thought I had to be Jesus to my kids and every time I screwed up I scolded myself for failing them and God. Then it was almost like the heavens parted and God spoke to me (not really but it felt that monumental) “you aren’t Jesus.” I know this should not have been new to me but sometimes we simply swallow information and forget to weed out the lies and somewhere along the way I thought I had to be Jesus. I don’t though. I’m miserable at it. However, I can model an authentic relationship with Jesus which is much more appealing anyway. Who wants to come to the mom who seems perfect and confess they are struggling with…. (fill in your favorite sin)? Instead I think we will make God far more accessible if they see us struggle through a relationship with him, asking forgiveness all along the way when we fall short.
Let’s ask for grace alongside them. Pray alongside them. Beg for forgiveness alongside them. We do not need God any less just because we are farther down the path.
We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
about his power and his mighty wonders.
God is wondrous. Let’s not diminish all that he is in the hopes of behavior change. It’s wonderful but it’s a byproduct of a God who is greater than earthly pleasure. Let’s tell great stories alongside our kids about a God who placed the stars in the sky and still cares greatly about their tiny hearts. Let’s pray without fear that God would do whatever it takes to draw them into his story.