One of the privileges of parenting as Christians is to bring up God’s children – yes, our children are really His – according to His word and in His stead. One parental responsibility that accompanies this great privilege is the passing on of the Christian faith to our children so that, in return, they will pass it on also to their children. God promises His faithfulness to us, to our children, and to our children’s children up to a thousand generations.
This responsibility involves, among other things, teaching our children Christian truths and doctrines early in life. In the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition, we call this catechesis. We catechize our children, teaching them every truth in the Holy Scripture, everything Christ has commanded His people to learn and to do.
This is not an easy task for parents, but we have to do it in the strength and by the grace of the Lord. And in spite of our inadequacies and failures at times, the Lord remains faithful in causing our children to grow and to live in His holy fear.
When we, Christian parents, are indifferent to Christian truths and doctrines and do not teach them faithfully to our children, “[w]e lose our children to secular ways of life and thinking because we fail to teach them that there is absolute truth. The biblical revelation of God offers us the information we need to build a comprehensive worldview that organizes our thinking and behavior. This comprehensiveness is what our children need if they are to see the fullness of God’s greatness and to be strengthened against the tantalizing offers of the devil. Our failure to value and teach the full counsel of God is a central reason that our children are weak in the faith” (Dr. Timothy A. Sisemore, “Of Such is the Kingdom: Nurturing Children in the Light of Scripture” [Christian Focus: 2000], 14).
As a parent of four of God’s children I thank the Lord for the opportunity to teach these precious children His truths. I also feel the weight of this noble task. It is my prayer then that the Lord would make me and my wife, Cathy, faithful in discharging our responsibility of nurturing and disciplining in love the children He has given us to raise.
So I pray, “Lord, we do not always appreciate your chastening rod in our lives. Neither do our children always respond with appreciation to our human attempts to provide instruction and correction in their lives. O God, it would be so much easier if children could raise themselves! But that was never your plan.
“Remind us when the going is rough that parenting is not a popularity contest. By your grace, enable us to discipline in love, to listen, to encourage, to instruct, and to make You known intimately and to teach Your truth constantly with our family. We want our children to know they are not an intrusion in our lives but are cherished gifts from You. When discipline is required, help us to show our children the same spirit of love and forgiveness You have shown us. Hear us, we pray, for the sake of Your dear Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen” (A prayer adapted from Paul E. Engle & Margie W. Engle, “God’s Answers for Life’s Needs” [Baker: 2000], 32).
One thought on “Our Children Are Not Our Own”
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” What John said about Jesus could also characterise the way christian parents speak to their children about Jesus.