As a mom of quite a few girls (5 to be exact), I used to always hear, “Just wait until they are teens!” Which I think…
We all know the world is getting ugly. But imagine what it will be like in 10, 15, or 20 years. Imagine what our kids (and their kids) might live through in the decades to come. In all likelihood, all the immorality being “normalized” today will actually become “the norm” in the years to come — which won’t fare well for Christians.
Already, biblical morality is decreasing in popularity, and Christians are increasingly singled out, left out, and pushed out. And no doubt, it will get worse. At some point we should expect to experience full-on persecution (2 Timothy 3:12-13). So the question is, will our kids be ready? Are they prepared to stand with truth when they become young adults? Will they be a light in their workplace? Will they raise their children to follow Christ when the cost is extremely high? Will they be carrying the torch long after we are gone?
Sad to say, if we’ve taken cues from modern “Christianity,” our kids might be spiritual light-weights. The Christianity many people know today is just for fun, it’s “take it or leave it,” it’s one of many things they pursue, it’s consumeristic, and it doesn’t cost much. But soon that will all change. When persecution comes it won’t be fun and it will be costly, and those willing to pay the price will be those who are all-in. We will finally see that real Christianity is only for those are ready to side with God and follow him regardless of the backlash.
It’s a whole new ball game that’s coming, and the question remains — will our kids be ready?
Our Job as Parents
If our kids are “spiritual light weights” it doesn’t mean they can’t start bulking up in spiritual strength. But now is the time to train them. This is our job; we can’t put it off. We need to think through how to send our children into adulthood with the knowledge and training they need to successfully navigate the challenges to come.
Likely much more than we’ve ever needed to, our kids need to follow in the footsteps of Daniel — willing to defy worldly orders for the sake of their commitment to God (Daniel 6:10). Plus they need to be ready to trust God no matter how hard and scary things get (Daniel 6:16-17).
There’s no way around it, our children aren’t going to get off easy in the next 30 years. If they are going to stand with Christ, they will need some spiritual stamina. So, are we ready to train them?
Let’s Get Training Like Never Before
We all want to make sure our children are ready, but we get distracted. There’s so many good things that take our attention, and training for the future seems far less urgent than all the other things on our to-do list. But this is urgent. Very urgent. Our kids need to be ready for battle.
With that said, here are a few ideas to add to your training arsenal in order to help your kids be as ready as they can be…
1) Talk with other parents. No doubt you already have a handful of ways you spiritually invest in your kids, perhaps the first thing we need to do is talk about these ideas with other parents more often. When we do, we spur each other on! We give each other fresh ideas. We are able to pick each other’s brains. Merely discussing how to best raise our kids with other like-minded parents helps us sharpen our skills.
2) Don’t go easy on your kids. Think about what we do when we want our children to excel at athletics or academics. No doubt we push them, we challenge them, and we expect a lot! That is how we should be with spiritual matters.
Don’t let it slide when your kids don’t want to read the Bible. Don’t turn the other way when they get spiritually lazy. Don’t lower the bar because they are busy. Take their spiritual success far more serious than you do any other type of success. Put it this way: How will we expect them to one day excel spiritually if we barely expect them to do the basics?
3) Surround them with Christian heroes. Real persecution may be new to us, but it’s nothing new, historically speaking. Whether in the form of books, or audiobooks, or movies, or conversations — familiarize your children with those who have gone before us and have followed Christ at high cost. Wow them with stories of faithful men and women who were bold and courageous. Get them excited to join in the ranks of those who’ve made a difference for Christ.
4) Normalize Christian sacrifice. In the same way the world shows us sin again and again in order to normalize it, so should we normalize righteousness and Christian sacrifice. Day after day our children should learn that living to obey God, even when it’s hard, is entirely normal. We should be talking about our desire to give more, help more, and do more, in order to live a life that best pleases God.
Our sacrifices may be trivial next to our Christian heroes, but it’s those who are faithful with little, that can eventually be faithful with much (Luke 16:10). Let’s teach our kids that faithfulness and sacrifice are Christian basics.
5) Live a life of no compromise. Take serious every compromise you are tempted to make knowing your children are watching. Don’t waver in holding up the truth of God’s word. Don’t make concessions for disobedience. Don’t put off serving God in all the ways you know you should. Your kids will notice whether your Christianity is the all-in kind, or whether it’s the pick and choose version. May your example show the default needs to be commitment, not compromise.
6) Pray more. We surely all pray for our kids, but we should surely pray more. Especially when we think of the challenges they will soon face. No more can we limit our prayers to their salvation and their personal good — we need to be praying they have the same spiritual strength our Christian heroes had. We need to pray that today’s challenges prepare them for tomorrow’s. We need to pray that their character is rock solid and ready to face all kinds of adversity. We need to pray they’re ready to take the torch and pass it on to the next generation, even if it means they lose everything. Bottom line, we need to pray more for our kids.
But we need to pray for ourselves too— especially for wisdom in parenting. You are the parent God chose to prepare your child. So ask God for wisdom in doing all you can to get your kids ready to carry the torch regardless of the cost. They have a big task ahead of them, and you have a big task in preparing them. Let’s get to work!