“Your father doesn’t take very good care of you.” I couldn’t believe my ears. My son’s countenance fell as he repeated his new friend’s words, words which clearly originated from his father’s mouth. I was furious. Yes, we lived in a parsonage and our children didn’t wear designer clothing, but they were always well cared for and very much loved. Yet most importantly, they had parents whose number one concern was for their eternity. We had shared God’s plan of salvation with them from a very early age, and all four had already given their hearts to Christ. To us, an eternity with Christ was the ultimate inheritance. Clothes, shoes, food, and all of the other necessities of life took second place. I hugged my son. “Caleb,” I soothed, “Don’t pay any attention to him. That’s simply not true. Michael’s father is far too concerned with material possessions.”
As parents, sometimes our priorities are skewed, especially concerning spiritual matters. After all, what good are material possessions if our child’s soul is lost for eternity? In the Scripture, God has provided us a guideline concerning both the physical and spiritual needs of our children. 1 Timothy 5:8 reads, “But anyone who does not provide for his own, and especially those of his own house, has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.” While Proverbs 22:6 reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go . . .” meaning there is a way a child should be trained and a way he should go.
Most parents will care for their children’s physical needs without question, yet so many fail to tend to their spiritual ones. They assume having their child in church is all that is necessary. Yet if this were reality, all church attendees’ children would become Christians and eventually follow in their parents’ footsteps. Realistically speaking, this is completely false.
So how does a parent reach their child for Christ? Here are several biblical teachings to follow:
1) God has promised to provide for all of our needs, and He has stated that it is not his will that any should perish, so pray according to his will and make your child’s salvation a need.
2) Let your child see God’s love shinning through you, and when you make a mistake don’t be slow to ask for forgiveness. If your child sees you on your knees it will make their heart more tender toward asking for forgiveness themselves.
3) Go through the plan of salvation with them on a regular basis, keeping watch for clues—such as conviction—that indicate they are ready to give their heart to Christ.
4) Make sure they know how to get God into their life.
For an awesome read and additional instructions on how to reach children for Christ, read Wilma Daffern’s book, Hidden in my Heart from Rocklan Publications.
(Caleb currently attends Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)