3 John 4
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
There are many things that fill us with joy. Some of them are quite simple, like seeing a rainbow, or when our team wins. Others are much deeper, like our wedding day, or the birth of a child. John lived a long life and, no doubt, had his share of experiences that produced joy, making his statement here all the more valuable. He states, of all the things that have brought a smile to his face, nothing can compare to knowing his children are walking with the Lord.
As parents, we desire what is best for our children. It is natural for us to want them to have what we have, and more. We want them to have a happy childhood, get a good education, and make healthy choices as adults. While it is natural for us to want our children to succeed in life, making a decision to follow Christ, is the most important goal.
If we want to see our children walking with the Lord, we cannot leave it in the realm of the desire. Passing on Biblical values and a Christian witness, must be our chief priority. However, each individual must make his own decision for the Lord. Even the best parents have children that walk away from the Lord (Adam and Eve backslid, as did the Prodigal Son). That being said, there are things we can do to increase the odds, and provide an atmosphere which is more likely to produce godly children. Below is a list of ideas that should be demonstrated in our homes.
1. A godly example – Children learn more by what they see, than what they are told.
2. A healthy marriage – One of the best things you can do for the spiritual health of your children is to invest in your spouse.
3. Daily devotions – First, you need to have them yourself. The more you grow in the Lord, the better you will be at instilling godliness in others. Second, find a way to share the things of God with your children. Read the Gospel stories to them before bed.
4. Church attendance – God designed the church as a place for us to grow in Christ. Get the children plugged into age appropriate classes at church. They might not enjoy sitting next to you in service, but will love being in class with other children.
5. Serve the Lord as a family – Don’t force the children to do what they hate. Find an area of service they will enjoy, and commit to serving as a family.
I understand there are some parents who are grieving because, even after all their efforts, their child has chosen to walk away from the Lord. Do not live under condemnation for all the things you think you did wrong. Instead, receive the forgiveness that Jesus provides, and PRAY DAILY for your child. God is in the business of reconciliation, and He loves our children more than we can ever imagine.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”