Being a parent of a first grader and almost kindergartener, I’ve learned that the direction you point your child matters. Andy Stanley says, “it’s your direction, not your intentions that determine your destination.”
One day, my son and daughter will leave my home and follow the path God has laid before them. I can have all the best intentions of raising my family in a Godly manner, but if I’m not pointing them toward a life that honors God then I’m just leaving things up to chance. That’s why my wife and I have the responsibility to prepare, encourage and love them until that day arrives.
The apostle Paul writes these words to his spiritual son, Timothy.
“Okay son, listen up because you are out on your own now- ready to do what God called you to do. You will need to hold onto the commands I'm giving you so that you can fight a good fight. Hold onto faith. Have a good conscience. Don't reject them and suffer like others have done," (1 Timothy 1:18-19).
I love this! Paul tells Timothy, hey buddy you’re on your own and ready to do what God has planned for you. But you’ll need to hold on to all the life lessons you’ve learned, persevere when times are tough and make wise choices so at the end of they day you can fall asleep knowing you did your very best.
Like Paul, we want the very best for our children. A great job. A nice home. A loving spouse. Good health. But more important than any of those temporal things is their relationship with Jesus. I pray you never forget that.
Here are a few things parents can do that will foster an environment for spiritual champions to grow.
1. Let them hear you pray from them. A child who hears their dad or mom pray to God and speak things on their behalf begins to realize their spiritual life matters.
2. Allow room for doubt and questions about God. Don’t be alarmed when you hear your child say, “I don’t like Jesus!” You want to create moments where your son or daughter can be honest about how they feel about their faith. Wonder is a powerful tool that can be used to draw a mind closer to God. God can handle their doubt. As a parent you need to be ready and not over-react when those times come. If they have a safe place to express those thoughts and feelings at an early age the likelihood of them continuing that is good.
3. Surround them with positive voices. As a parent, you should be picky about who you let hang around your child. But, at the same time start introducing spiritual mentors who affirm and help aim your child toward a life the honors God.
There are probably a hundred of other things any great parent can do, but these three things are helping my wife and me raise spiritual champions.
Pray a lot.
God has great things planned for your child.