Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bringing Up New Christians

I grew up "Christian", but it wasn't a real focus of our life.  We went to church on Sunday and attended many church events.  I was raised Lutheran so I went through confirmation classes and regular Bible lessons.  But at home we didn't really make a big deal over it.  We prayed over meals and said bedtime prayers, but it was almost routine and ritualistic.  God didn't permeate our lives and influence our decisions, at least as far as I could tell.  I had a good childhood and good parents, but the importance of Christ was minimal.

Since I became a parent after my salvation, trying to bring my kids up as Christians is important to me.  However, I sometimes feel at a loss because of the lack of this in my own upbringing.  I want them to have a stronger Christian foundation than I did and truly love God.  I want them to have a passion for Christ and involve him in their own lives.  I want them to understand why they do it and not merely follow my own rituals.

That's not always easy.  I often struggle with my own relationship with God and don't spend as much time with Him as I should.  That makes it more difficult to set a great example and lead by doing.  I'll also admit that I'm sometimes so busy with other things that it's easy just to tell the kids to go away and do their own thing.  That's not good parenting in general, let alone acting as a good Christian.

It's important to share Christ with children.  Ultimately everyone is responsible for their own fate and relationship with Christ.  However, parents can influence kids to or away from Jesus.  Obviously I want to do the former.  So we earnestly pray at each meal, we talk about God openly with them, and every night we have a family devotional and prayer time.  We are trying to instill good Christian habits in them.

But it goes beyond events and tasks.  When we need to make a decision, we try to deliberately include prayer and seeking God.  When the kids do something wrong we couch it in terms of the Bible and sin.  Good parenting doesn't have to be Christian-based, but the Bible really does tell us the best ways to act and think so we want to keep that front and center.

It's not always easy.  But it's one of the most important things I will do in my life.

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