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Teaching our Children a Faith - Issue 342
May 16, 2014
Hi there! ....

This week gone was a very different week as I was called for Jury Duty, which involved three days. The kids were able to continue their studies independently and they did very well. Naomi had the first of 3 art lessons with a local artist as a part of the festival starting this week. We changed our cooking roster giving each of the kids an opportunity to cook once this week - a very positive change which I'll share more about in the coming week.

One of the conversations I keep having with the kids at the moment is reflecting on what is and isn't working around the house - where are the glitches, what isn't helping us? As our kids grow older, as different lifestyle opportunities come up and different decisions are made, we need to tweak how we do things. We need to make sure the things we do, the rosters we keep, the activities we take on are meeting our needs and purposes and aren't ends in themselves. Family life always needs tweaking.

Live life with your kids!

If you are a new Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.

This week I also wrote Removing Technology is only half the Solution: If your kids spend too much time in front of a screen we have to do more than just remove the technology, in this blog post I talk about what comes next.

Teaching our Children a Faith

One of the biggest issues that Paul faced in his day (of the early Church) and we continue to face today is that of good works. Human nature grabs hold of rules and to-do lists and we find comfort in knowing we’ve done all we can do. But being a Christian cuts through all that – we are not saved because of the good stuff we do, we are saved through our faith in Jesus Christ. I wonder though if we, as parents, have attached “teach our children faith” to that to-do list. Is teaching our children faith going to be the mark of us being good Christians?

Don’t get me wrong – we do need to introduce our children to Jesus – but it needs to be an overflow of our own faith, not a good works we set out to do. This changes any list of how-to we may seek out as a parent.

One of the things that I have been challenged with as a parent, especially as I see my role as one who disciples my children, is that they are the same as any person that I meet. Jesus has called me to go and make disciples, baptise them, teach them to observe (keep/practice) all that Jesus taught. (Matthew 28:19-20). In the Christian community we are comfortable with the idea that when we meet an unsaved person, we introduce them to Jesus, they seek to understand and accept Him. When they do accept all that he has done for them, we baptise them, and we help them to continue to grow in their faith (which is discipleship). This is the same sequence we should consider when talking about parenting our kids.

  • Introduce our kids to Jesus
  • Help them understand God’s Word
  • Be there when they decide to believe in Jesus
  • Baptise them
  • Help them grow and mature as disciples of Christ

The one thing that is different when we talk about our children compared with other people, is that they live with us. We have 24/7 opportunity to introduce them to Jesus.

What Jesus are we going to introduce them to? The Jesus of religion that has us doing stuff, or the Jesus of my saviour, friend, and brother?

This is tricky, because as a Christian myself there are certain things I want to do: I want to read God’s word daily, I want to gather with God’s people to be encouraged and to encourage, I want to help others, I want to reflect Jesus wherever I go. But if my kids aren’t Christians then I need to be careful that I don’t portray these actions as the definition of faith. Their faith in Jesus Christ as their saviour has to come first – it is the first lesson. Then as Christians they too can choose to do the things that I do, as they mature in their walk with Jesus.

This is tricky because the things I do, are what our family does. It is a catch-22: If I don’t involve my kids in my life as a Christian, they don’t see real. If I do involve them in my life as a Christian I run the risk of telling them (inadvertently, through my actions) this is what being a Christian is about – which will be perceived, especially as they get older, as good works!

We must be clear then that our first job is to introduce our kids to Jesus as a person. Secondly we are to show and tell them the cost of following Jesus – which will be the lifestyle that flows out of obeying Jesus. They are two different issues. We must be careful not to blur the lines.

So how to introduce Jesus to our kids?

  • First you show, by your life, that Jesus is a real person. Jesus is a person you talk to and listen to. Jesus is a person who you respect and obey; he influences your life.
  • You talk about Him, who he is, what he has done, what he believes and says. (We know these things by reading the Bible, His word)
  • You answer their questions and invite them to come to His place (God’s presence)
  • You let them know that He influences the decisions you make, not because he makes you to, but because you love him and you want to show him that love

I want to teach my kids that being a Christian is a relationship with Jesus – it isn’t about doing stuff. It isn’t about going to church, it isn’t about having a daily devotion, it isn’t about serving in programmes or charities. It is about trusting, talking, listening, obeying Jesus. I want to make sure that I show my kids that I have such a relationship with Jesus.

It is much easier, much less personally revealing, or confronting if we just do things that good Christian families do – and trust that by doing those things, that having that lifestyle, will teach our kids how to be a good Christian. But that is certainly missing the mark.

The only way I can be a good Christian, the only way my kids can be good Christians, is to stand righteous before God, not because of what we’ve done, but because of what He’s done (what Jesus has done). This is what I need to be teaching my kids, this is what I need to be portraying as the truth of the matter in all I say and do.

Who is Jesus?
Who am I?
How can we connect?

And then once they’ve become a child of God (through Jesus), then we need to be there beside them, helping them to grow from babies to mature Christians. Once they decide to accept Jesus for who He says he is – the son of God, the saviour of the world, forgiving our sins – then they too can choose to obey Him.

Have you visited my blog, Live life with your Kids? You can subscribe to receive updates in your email inbox (see the subscription button on the right hand side of my blog)

Or you could read more at my website (homeschooling and parenting issues) Lifestyle Homeschool

My Bookshop

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter

Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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