The Lord reminds us in Matthew 6, Yet as I look at our children, ‘worry’ is still the best word that comes to mind for me. I see the problems and exposure to risky behavior our children face; children in sexual relationships, teen pregnancies, drug and alcohol addictions, and so much more.Father God, Help Us To Be Faithful!
The Lord reminds us in Matthew 6, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Yet as I look at our children, ‘worry’ is still the best word that comes to mind for me. I see the problems and exposure to risky behavior our children face; children in sexual relationships, teen pregnancies, drug and alcohol addictions, and so much more.
I cherish the years we have with our kids in Confirmation classes. That is a time when we can sit down with our youth and talk about the Lord and His love for us. Also, we learn about the responsibilities we have, to live as children of the Light. The temporary influence a DCE or Pastor can have on our church’s children can be a very positive experience. Children grow in their faith and understanding, they move to maturity and away from an infant faith. Hebrews 5:13,14, “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Sadly, those Confirmation years can also be as in James 1:23,24, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” Some children and their parents basically disappear after Confirmation. You shake your head and wonder what happened to the faith they professed before you, the congregation and God? Maybe they never truly possessed what they professed.
The worse-case scenario of course is when Confirmation becomes a negative experience, and yes, this can and has happened for various reasons in churches. I personally have lived through such an event where things were out of my control. You have to persevere through a tragedy being played out. The best you can do is to pray through it and stay faithful as a leader and pray all the harder for the children that they will be able to endure. 2 Timothy 3:12, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The damage some people bring upon the church can be devastating. The devil is good at his job as he incites people to leave and rebel in the church. We have to remember the words of Christ, John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
We have to get “IT” right in our homes. We need to rededicate ourselves to Jesus if we expect our children to have any faith at all. A few years of Confirmation or attending an occasional Sunday school class is not going to do it.
Look at the slow disintegration of relationships in families. That carries over into a crumbling relationship with God and the church. If our kids are to be the good and Godly adults we desire them to be, it begins in the home. The first sentence in Luther’s Small Catechism under the words “The Ten Commandments” is “As the head of the family should teach them in a simple was to his household.” Faith and faithfulness starts in the home. If the parent is weak in their observance of their faith, how much weaker still will the children be? If the parents are faithful to the Lord, worship regularly, encourage prayer and devotions and Bible study, how much greater is the probability that our children with be faithful too? God leaves it to you… Now what will you do?
You’re not alone, Jesus is with you and the church can be too. Our doors are open, come on in, and bring the family.
Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” In our congregation, the 8th grade Confirmation class meets with me in my office on Wednesday nights. The 6th and 7th graders meet with our DCE in the Jr. High room. I’ve been teaching Confirmation now for over 20 years. I wish I could say I’ve heard or seen it all. Yet though I’ve been shocked at times, there is always something new that comes along to remind me the problems, the sin, the devil never go away.
I look at how some parents allow or worse yet, encouraging their children to wear provocative clothing. I’ve had young teenage girls come to classes wearing tight hot pants and skin tight half t-shirts. I’ve had young men come to class ‘sagging.’ I remember one conversation clearly, saying “pull up your pants!” The response, “Why should I? My parents let me wear them like this.” “You’re not coming into my office, the Pastor’s office, with your pants down and your butt hanging out!” I said. “But I wear them like this at school,” he said. I replied, “Either pull them up or go call your parents to pick you up.” “Why do I have to call my parents?” My response, “To tell them you aren’t going to stay in Confirmation class, because you refuse to pull up your pants.” He finally pulled them up. James 1:21, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”
Some parents teach materialism, not a ‘profitable’ education, by spending more time shopping with their kids than talking about/helping with homework. Some make their children grow up too fast and limit their imagination. Sports can be placed over and above a relationship with God and His church. Many parents are more concerned with their children’s social lives than their spiritual lives and encourage extracurricular activities, but not participation and fellowship in the house of God with the family of God. Our children are a gift from God, a trust for us to have, hold and rear in His ways. Psalm 127:3-5, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
It’s time we examine ourselves for the sake of our children and their future:
- What kind of role model am I for my children?
- Do I teach them the ways of the world, but neglect the ways of God?
- Do you put more emphasis on social events, sports or other things than on Bible study and praising God?
- Do I BRING them AND attend worship and Sunday school WITH them regularly (read: weekly, except for very unique circumstances)?
- Do I pray daily WITH my children?
- Do I place the Word of God into their hands?
- Do I talk about my faith and theirs with them?
- Do I make certain the boy/girl they are dating is a Christian?
- Do I remind them again in their relationships, of God’s Commandments and limit the opportunity for promiscuity?
- Do I remind them of the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus?
- Do I model what it is like to have a personal relationship with Jesus? (How? I can’t give them what I don’t have. So, I need to have a quality/faithful relationship with Christ.)
- Do I spend time on my knees before God praying for my children DAILY?
You can’t pass on what you don’t possess yourself. One of the best things you can do for your children is to keep your own spiritual reservoirs full. Be intentional about showing your children what it means to love God and respect His Word. Be the Christian God has called you to be, the Christian you professed before God and the church that you would be. And you will be the parent that your children need you to be for them. We’re all in this together, and God is always with us.
To God Be All Glory,