Posted by: palmettoislandgirl | March 24, 2009

Milestones for our Children

As most schools calendars near the middle of their second semester some students have adjusted to their first year away from home while others are looking forward to May or June graduation. Spring is here and there will be many noticeable changes in nature. Before we know it, the Easter season will be upon us. It is a good time to think about the seasons of change we go through and milestones we hope to reach.

This is the time of year when students and parents enjoy baseball and soccer games, track and field competitions, many spring events are around the corner, contests and competitions abound, and many students look forward to accomplishments, ceremonies, and celebrations. The final report card of the year will be sent out soon, along with notes from teachers we hope represent a job well done from our children. The school year is a time for concerts, recitals, sports banquets, special recognitions, eventually leading to all the pomp and circumstance. But do we check out our children’s spiritual report card with the same fervor or as deliberately as we do their academic report card?

For some reason many parents don’t place enough if any emphasis on the Biblical accomplishments of their children. Beside the fact that they attend a church with whatever degree of frequency, that is the extent of the religious upbringing of their children. Mom I have a few questions for you? Are you certain of your children’s salvation? Do you remember when they made a commitment to trust Jesus as Savior? If so, what part have you played in her spiritual education?

So often parents leave the spiritual education of their own children to the Children and Youth ministry team at their church and they take no or very little responsibility at home. For school, they make sure homework is done; they look over tests and pay special attention to comments made by teachers throughout the school year. Parents support sports and other extracurricular activities their children are involved in to the utmost of their ability often buying expensive equipment to give their children the best chance to excel. It can seldom be said that those same parents invest the same amount of interest and time in the spiritual activity of their children.

When was the last time you asked you children about their Sunday school lesson or the sermon? Do you discuss the sermon at home, go over verses to explain them and make sure your children understand them and know how to apply them? Do your children attend children or youth ministry studies, activities and events? If so, when have you asked them about what went on and discussed it? Do you check with you children’s teachers at church to find out how you children are doing or how you can be involved in the ministry? Most parents don’t have a clue about what’s going on in the children’s or youth Bible study sessions because they don’t have an interest or feel no responsibility. I’m not talking about the kids who ride the church van or have to always get a ride to church while their parents don’t attend, I’m referring to parents who are saved and usually bring their children to church along with them.

Most parents I know expect their children to attain certain milestones in various areas of their life. They expect their children from birth to have certain abilities at the time traditionally thought they should be reached. They proudly take special note of when the children rolled over, sat up, smiled, crawled, walked, spoke a word, social skills and so on. There are always things parents are checking up on because they want what is best for their children. On the other hand, there are kids in many churches, whose parents don’t discuss spiritual things with them except on special occasions.

Sadly, there is little to no interest in the spiritual milestones of many children, no checkups for Biblical progress because those things just don’t seem to be as important. Our interest in our children’s spiritual progress ought to be just as if not more vigorous than the academic, athletic, and social. As a parent we must model the importance of and personally exhibit spiritual growth for our children.

Our children should see us reading our Bible and praying at home on a regular basis. They should know that we participate in private and group Bible study. They should hear us pray for more than just the food on the table. How often do we decide that our spirituality, our relationship with God is personal and private? That is an excuse. It means what I do with God I do in private and it’s none of your business and it usually suggests the lack of any spiritual relationship. What we do with God is not only private and personal; it’s to be open and shared. We are called to be witnesses, especially in our homes.

So many parents think it’s socially acceptable, or a sign of some intellectual fortitude to say that they will let their children decide when they want to go to church or be involved in Biblical activities. That is a sad commentary. How many books to enhance your spiritual growth did you read last year? Did your children read or have read to them any books to enhance their spiritual growth? How many verses have you and your children committed to memory? How many devotion books have you or your children gone through? Does your child have a devotion or quiet time during the week? What Biblical studies have you and your children participated in? I know children who spend more time updating their my space or other social network pages, taking pictures to add to their page, recording themselves dancing or doing other things, or watching clips on You tube, texting , chatting or talking on their phone than they spend doing anything else.

What Christian concerts have you or your children attended? Do you and your family listen to Christian music, talk shows, or Christian programming? What Bible family retreat, youth retreat, or other special event that would enhance your spiritual growth have you or your children attended? Do you discuss missions at home and pray for the missionaries your church supports? `How involved are you in the spiritual life of your children? Are you leaving the spiritual upbringing of your children to others in the church? Why? Parents are commanded to be the primary Bible instructor of their children.

“These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live.” Deuteronomy 6:1-2a

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the Lord our God has commanded us to obey?’
“Then you must tell them, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand. The Lord did miraculous signs and wonders before our eyes, dealing terrifying blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. He brought us out of Egypt so he could give us this land he had sworn to give our ancestors. And the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day. For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the Lord our God has given us.’ Deut 6:20-25

“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” 2 Timothy 1:5-6
Timothy came to faith in Christ through his mother and grandmother and it was through their instruction that he began to grow prior to being recognized by Paul.

Is the faith of your children genuine or do you know? Has the faith of your children grown strong in them?
Are their spiritual gifts being fanned to become strong? A parent’s neglect of their children’s spiritual life can impede their coming to faith in Christ or stunt their growth. Our children’s spiritual wellbeing should be at the forefront of our interests and efforts. Our primary focus along with our children’s physical needs being provided for should be that of their spiritual welfare. “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we (my children) eat?’ or ‘What shall we (my children) drink?’ or ‘What shall we (my children) wear?’ For the pagans (the unsaved) run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you (your children) need them. But (teach your children to) seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you (your children) as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. Matthew 6:31-34

There are many “church youth” who are merely going through the religious motions to give their parents and everyone else the impression they are Christians but in reality, “they wear the mask” not to cover their hardship and oppression as in the poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. No, they wear yet another mask, one of hypocrisy and arrogance, impudence and often pretentiousness. . They lead double lives and only hang out at church because of the activities or because they are expected to. “According to a Barna poll, 80–90% of students from church homes in the U.S. attend public schools (this figure is probably greater in other Western nations). After 30 hours in government schools and another 30 hours in front of the TV each week, young people receive only about one hour per week of “reprogramming” at church (most parents leave the “spiritual” training to the church). Which system of teaching is likely to influence these students in the long run—45 minutes of Sunday schools and youth groups, or 30 hours in public schools?” Excerpt from, Today’s Youth—Walking Away from Truth

Have you ever heard your children pray, not just say a learned grace, a repeated liturgy or the Lord’s Prayer? Do your children pray for themselves, their family, you as their parent? Do they know how to pray? Do they know how to study the Bible, discern the truth from the lies they may hear in their classrooms? As some of your children leave your homes for college, how confident are you that they have a Biblical worldview? Will you help in the selection of a Bible believing church for them to attend while away? Will you attempt to meet the pastor and staff and see what churches in the area have to offer you children while at college or will you leave that up to them too?

For large numbers of our youth it is almost too late to draw them in or back in to a relationship with Christ because we’ve kept them away from really getting to know Him for so long. They are religious, not saved. They follow a few rules but have no true relationship with the Living Lord. Their friends, who are just like them and entertainment, are what is most important to them. Their music, TV and movie viewing, computer social networks and other choices reflect a sex crazed, shallow, and selfish, money and possessions driven world view. They have more and want more stuff that takes them farther and farther away from Christ. Just because they attend church every now and then doesn’t mean they are saved or have an understanding of spiritual matters.

I fear for so many of the young people I’ve known over the years. They are in danger and don’t know it. They may be challenged at church but that’s at max 4 to 5 times a month if they attend church each Sunday. Without follow up at home, a pre-teen, or teen will not seek to do lessons on his or her own. Please, ask them questions, talk with them along the way. Review the sermon with your children at the dinner table. Ask them about their Sunday school and Bible study lessons, and memorize verses with them. Your children will not grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18) on their own. Your children and mine must be brought up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4b). It’s a big job and by the grace of God we can do all things (instruct our children in righteousness) through Christ who strengthens us. They may be involved in church activities, ushering, singing, drama, or another ministry within your church or community and still not know the Savior. “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23 Please don’t leave your children’s spiritual well-being and eternal future up to themselves or others. Don’t substitute religious activity for salvation; it won’t count in the end. Get involved before it’s too late!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: