Helicopter or rocket launcher…which describes your parenting style best? How can we be a sending agent when our world is so full of evil? Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us hanging.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
When we enter the world as infants, we arrive with immune systems still in development. Only as our bodies are exposed to germs and diseases do they have the ability to develop immunities. A child isolated from germs and disease may appear to be in great health at a time, but the health of the human body can only be proven by its ability to withstand an attack.
A weak immune system gives way to every germ and virus, while a strong one fights them off. Our spiritual and moral health are developed and proven in the same way. So how do Christian parents help prepare their children to step into a world filled with sin? Sheltering children from temptations and corrupting influences is part of parenting, but parenting is more than being a care provider and protector, there is a biblical call to shepherd and disciple your children as well. While sheltering may be a critical part of parenting, if it is a parent’s primary focus, their children will grow up ill equipped to handle the temptations of the world. The following are some ways to equip your children to engage with the world as Christ modeled.
- Present an accurate picture of Christianity in your home – How would your children describe Christianity from what they’ve heard and seen at home? Would they describe it as avoiding bad things and keeping up a good appearance? Christianity is not merely a system of religious beliefs, it is a relationship between individuals and God. Enjoy the difficult but joyful task of shepherding and discipling your children. Pray with and for your children. Read your children the Bible “CORRECTLY,” not as a rulebook but as a story about Jesus and what He’s done. Watch for teachable moments and stay equipped to help your children grow to love Jesus with all their heart, mind and strength.
- Lead your children into the world on the offense, not defense – In Matthew 16:18 Jesus tells Peter, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not stand against it.” You and your children are warriors in God’s kingdom, and your role is to guide them into the world with the purpose of advancing that Kingdom. Like Jesus, the role of a parent should be to take their children into the world with a view of seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus engaged with sinners and brought His disciples along to learn how to interact with a lost world. If parents raise their children with the primary goal of avoiding evil, their children will grow up missing Jesus’ vision of reaching the lost with the good news of salvation.
As a parent, are you more concerned with protecting your kids from what is bad or with putting into them that which is good? The Pharisees emphasized cleaning up the outside but Jesus’ focus was on the heart. Seek a balanced approach between protecting your children from the world and teaching them to engage with it as a warrior bringing God’s love to the lost.
Campers talk to your parents about your friends at school or on your sports teams who need to know the love Jesus, and ask them for ideas about how you can show them His love!