I remember reminding frustrated youth leaders, and members of our congregation, that the students in youth group who were not believers can’t be expected to bear the fruit of one who knows the Lord. But they insisted they shouldn’t act the way they do. Following Christ isn’t about behavioral modification.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit…” John 15:5
What about our own children? Behavioral modification will not produce the fruit a parent truly desires for their child. It is all too easy (for me too) to fall into the trap of focusing too much on bad behavior (“that wasn’t nice.” “Don’t do that!” “You can do better!” “You forgot?”) As parents with a Kingdom vision, our concern is not that they act right. Our vision is much grander and deeper. Our #1 mission is that our children join Jesus. I’ve seen lots and lots of teens do all the right things and then they go off to college and they take a turn for the worse.
We have to remember, Jesus invited us to join Him. Chuck Bomar, in his new book, Losing Your Religion, states, “The good news Jesus offered was that He invites us into His life. Not vice versa”. Zacchaeus was a changed man because he responded to Jesus’ invitation. Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Come and follow me.'”
Our children will not live out a faith in Christ because they attend children’s church every Sunday, attend mission trips, and are a good kid. They will only grow up and leave the roost following Jesus with all their heart, soul, strength and mind if they accept the invitation to be a part of His life. There is a difference between inviting Jesus into our life, our plans, our desires and accepting the invitation to join His life, His plans, His desires.
Our greatest goal as parents is to help our children join Jesus.
How are you leading your children to know, love and follow Jesus?
Do they see the Christian life as a bunch rules to follow or an adventure? What adventures have your family been on?
Love God with everything. Love your kids. Lead them to the heart of the Father. And with His grace, they will love Him too.