This article is primarily for parents, and especially fathers. Judges
2:10 is one of the most difficult passages in the Bible to read. It says that
there arose a generation who did not know the Lord or the work He had done in
Israel. In other words, children were growing up without a spiritual heritage
that would encourage generational faithfulness. Maybe that is why John said
that he had no greater joy than to see his children walking in truth.
So what do we do to encourage our children to walk in truth?
I realize that there is no formula. The Lord has to work in our
children for them to respond. But that does not mean we have to sit around and
do nothing. I recently read a book called Family Driven Faith that has
encouraged me, and I wanted to share some of that with you. The book calls fathers
to take personal responsibility for every single aspect of the development of
each of their children. Let’s just think about 5 of the aspects mentioned in the book:
Our children spend a lot of time in school, and they should. After all,
we believe our children need a quality education to develop the skills
necessary to have a job and be productive. But every subject in school has some
built in presuppositions. For example,
many people do not realize that Newtonian Physics is just a very small portion
of Physics, and that the equations associated with Newton’s laws have some very
important limitations. Similar statements are true about biology, mathematics,
as well as the social sciences. In fact, it is only since the Enlightenment
that the disciplines of theology and science were viewed in opposition to the
other. In fact, Newton himself wrote as much about theology as he wrote about
Physics. This issue is important for language, for history, and for every major
subject covered in our curriculum. So who is pointing out these
presuppositions? Who is helping your kids consolidate that information into a
Part of our job as parents is to educate our children so they are
equipped for life. But just as it is important for a person to be able to
handle certain problems, so it is also important for them to process the
worldview issues that inherently come with that education. Regardless of
whether a person chooses to use homeschool, private school, or public school to
help educate children, there is parental involvement that is crucial to the
#2. Family Teaching of the Word
I believe in the centrality of teaching during our worship services.
But I also believe that the worship service should not be the sum total of our
Bible reading and study. There should be something going on at home. It is hard
to really know one’s Bible if their only diet is 35 minutes a week on Sunday.
So if you have nothing going on, start with something simple. Talk
about the Sunday sermon passage at dinner. When you think you have everyone
thinking critically about the passage explained each Sunday morning, pick a
different passage to talk about on another evening. My point is that the family
should have some time where they study the Bible together.
You don’t have to be an expert to do this. You just have to be one
step ahead of your children.
#3. Encourage a Love for the Church
Jesus explained that his working on the earth would be centered on
building his church. One of the reasons that I think we do not see generational
faithfulness is a lack of love for the church. The church is almost like
grocery shopping – I go when I need something. I attend the church that gives
me what I want. While there is some truth to the fact that we should look for
certain things when joining a church, this attitude sometimes morphs into a
consumer mentality. First Corinthians 12 emphasizes the importance of each part
in the body. So there is a receiving and giving aspect to the church.
We cannot make our kids love the church, but we can love it ourselves.
We can also encourage our children that church is the place we give and
receive. It is the place we worship Jesus as a group. It is the place where we
are encouraged to live wholehearted for Christ.
So if this is new, start by taking the Lord’s day seriously. Read
ahead of time, look for someone to talk to and go hoping to give.
#4. Processing Sports and Life
Our children have all kinds of gifts and abilities. They use those gifts
and abilities for all sorts of goals. Some coaches might emphasize winning,
some might emphasize fun (as if winning and fun have to be completely separated),
some might emphasize improvement or skill development. But it will be rare
indeed to find a coaching staff who cares about the kids simply pleasing God
and taking the steps necessary to do so. That is a task that parents, fathers, need to
It is one thing to say that we are designed to live for God’s glory,
but it is another thing to actually do it. This is especially true when man’s
glory is so intoxicating. So what does a person living for God’s glory look
- They are only satisfied with their performance if they did their best for Jesus, even if they won
- They are satisfied if they did their best for Jesus, even if they lost
- They treated their competition with respect and dignity
- They were kind to their competition after the competition ended
#5. Managing Friends and Entertainment
The Scripture is very clear that bad company corrupts good character.
Influence does not always go in the direction of the godly to the ungodly. All
too often, influence flows in the other direction. So as fathers and parents it
is important for us to understand who is influencing our children and what kind
of fruit that influence is producing.
With our children, those influences are likely friends and
entertainment. Parents should be actively involved in knowing who their
children are with and what they are doing.
A Final Word
Parents, if you do this, then you will not always be popular with your
children. There may be some hard times. But you are taking these actions because
you love Jesus and you love your children. You want what is best for them.
I want to encourage you to use the summer to evaluate how you are
doing now, and what things you could implement to help you take a step of