Preparing (Not Pressuring) Our Kids to Follow Jesus

Description

We can easily lean in the direction of pressuring our kids to choose Jesus. When we do, we begin to create a family culture that feels legalistic and rigid.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)

The postcard came in the mail with a promise. Just show up, listen to a brief sales presentation and receive a free $25 gift card.

My husband and I were newly married and short on money. So, the promise of $25 felt like a million-dollar offer. A few weeks later we attended the event. But two hours into our “brief” sales presentation, we knew we’d made a mistake. The pressure to say yes was growing by the minute. We no longer cared about the $25. We just wanted out!

In hindsight, the salesman was likely under a lot of pressure, which meant his pressure became our pressure. And although his offer sounded wonderful, his tactics turned us off.

Here’s the truth — sometimes as parents, we can feel and apply a lot of pressure, too.

It’s a different kind of pressure, of course. But still, it’s the kind of pressure that, if we aren’t careful, can become our children’s pressure.

As parents, we can have a sincere and God-given desire to see our kids (or any children in our sphere of influence) follow Jesus. After all, God does call us to help pass on faith to the next generation. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

But the weight of this call can create fear. We can become gripped with anxiety. Even more commonly, we become overly controlling and demanding. We can easily lean in the direction of pressuring our kids to choose Jesus. When we do, we begin to create a family culture that feels legalistic and rigid.

Our children can feel the pressure to choose Jesus not because they want to, but because we want them to.

What our hearts need is a reminder of the good news. The Apostle Paul puts it this way:

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

It is by grace, through faith, that we can cross from death to life. The same grace that saved us has the power to save our kids.

While God does His part, He asks us to do ours, too.

The work God has called us to as parents is a lot like the work of a farmer. A farmer does his work and then waits on God to open the heavens, trusting that when the rain falls, the harvest comes. We are planting seeds, pulling weeds and guarding the fields of our children’s hearts. All of it takes time, wisdom, patience and perseverance. And lots of trust. Our kids are His kids. Just like the farmer, we can’t make things grow. We can only be faithful.

As parents, we prepare our kids to one day choose Jesus in response to God’s grace by planting the seeds of God’s Word in their hearts.

We teach them the Bible.

We model Christlike love.

We endure trials well.

We talk often about the gospel of God’s love and forgiveness.

And ultimately, we act. We show our kids that following Jesus really is the best way to live — and it’s the only way to live forever.

Oh, it isn’t easy, but with God’s help, let’s press on with our call to pass on faith by preparing and not pressuring. And let’s pray often that when the choice is fully theirs, they choose to fully follow Jesus.

Father, this calling to pass on faith matters. But it is Your work. Help me to faithfully prepare my children to know You and love You. And by Your grace, give my children faith. Grow them and strengthen them through Your Word and Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
In Faith Forward Family Devotional, Ruth and Patrick Schwenk help you pass on your faith with devotions you can do at your own pace as a family. Each devotion features a Bible passage, a teaching that's applicable for kids of any age, key ideas to learn about God and His character, questions to spark family discussion, and a prayer. Whatever season of parenting you are in, sharing this devotional time together will help your children nourish a faith that lasts a lifetime.

CONNECT:
Does your family have a mission statement to help you follow Jesus? Ruth and Patrick have a free download with five steps to help you create one! Click HERE to get yours.

For daily encouragement in following Jesus, connect with Ruth Schwenk on Instagram and Patrick Schwenk on Instagram.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Faith Forward Family Devotional by Ruth and Patrick Schwenk. To celebrate this book, Zondervan is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Monday, December 16, 2019.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What’s one area of your parenting that you need to surrender to God?

How can you begin to pass on your faith to your children (or those in your sphere of influence) today?

© 2019 by Ruth Schwenk. All rights reserved.

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