Parenting with Jesus
For Christians, seeking to live as parents requires a supernatural and inexhaustible source of love, wisdom and grace. We all recognize our inability to understand and solve every problem our kids experience, and to try to do so on our own would put us in mental lock down for weeks.
One weekend, we hosted our youth group for some hang time to start off summer break. We listened and talked and shared what God had put on our hearts for the year, but mostly we asked questions and listened to the responses. It was telling. Kids are sensing all of the challenges of life much earlier than we had to. They are aware, for the most part, about the need to “hear from God” for themselves and of the shallowness of petty theological turf wars in the church. They acknowledge their frustration with the inconsistencies of youth leaders, pastors, teachers and parents. But most of all, they realize they don't know exactly who Jesus is to them or what to do with Jesus.
Every one of these kids had prayed the prayer, they had done a youth camp or missions trip, they knew the Bible well enough to speak the language of a Christian and to even spend time with God on a regular basis. But, they struggled to define their relationship with Him. Jesus was a mish-mash of traditional concepts and stereotypes, mixed in with a bit of current pop culture. And Jesus emerges in our kids’ lives as an icon of the past with little personal interaction or tangible reality. Sound familiar?
When it’s all said and done, it’s possible that the single greatest contribution any of us can give to our kids is a solid understanding of who Jesus Christ is, and what He offers for us to experience with Him over the course of our lifetime. The other stuff is great, it’s important and it will serve our kids well to learn to balance their checkbooks, act with integrity, love with wisdom, etc… But, if they grow up with a scattered and undefined grasp of who our Savior is, we may have missed the point of parenting.
Ask your kids... “Who is Jesus?” This simple question is, upon a bit of reflection, actually quite profound, inexhaustible, really.
Without Jesus in our parenting, we’re kinda of asking our kids to follow Christianity, burdened upon our own weak and vulnerable examples of faith. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to do that.
It may be the single greatest parenting choice you can ever make. Be prepared to struggle a bit yourself as you seek to define the relationship you have with Jesus. Who is He? What did he actually do for you, for our kids, for mankind? What has He asked of us? Where is He now? Why didn’t He fix everything…or did He? Why can’t we see or hear Him…or can we? How can so many people claim to know Him and yet act as if He never existed?
Taking the time will be a struggle, a valiant one, worthy of every parent’s full attention and focus. At the heart of the Bible, the very pulsing center of all its teaching, its truth and its power lies one undeniable theme. Jesus Christ. When our understanding of Christianity and faith and discipleship and mentoring and life drift away from the central truth of our existence… what do we really have to offer our kids?
“Lord, help us to grasp the essentials of our faith. Help us to communicate the truth of our relationship with your only son and our savior to our kids… strengthen us with your Word and flood us with wisdom this day. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.