By Daniel Bramlett
There is a verse towards the beginning of the book of Judges that aptly characterizes our culture. It says that, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel . . . forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them.”
In one generation the people of Israel forgot all that God had done to rescue them from Egypt and preserve for them a land of promise. In one generation! This is the folly of a silent church and the fruit of unprepared children.
Our kids today are vastly unprepared to face the world of fiery darts that are being aimed at them on a daily basis. In almost every arena our children are told lies contrary to the truth of the Gospel. Adamantly they are told God is a figment of their imaginations, Jesus is just one good teacher among many, and there is no such thing as sin. They are bombarded with the confidence of atheists who believe it is their duty to indoctrinate our children with their godless beliefs.
I am not here to fight atheists or their (lack of) beliefs. I am here to offer our parents some very effective tools they can use to train up our/their children in the way that they should go.
This week is VBS at our church and it is awesome. I don’t say that as an advertisement. I say that because I love walking the halls and hearing our teachers practicing their lessons. I love hearing our leaders praying for their kids. And I love seeing the excitement and anticipation on the eager faces of children as they pass from one activity to the next. VBS is not glorified baby sitting. It is one teaching time that is dedicated to giving our children the arsenal of truth that is required for them to grow in and defend their faith in an ever aggressive world. The Church works to offer many of these types of training for our children, but it is not enough. If our kids are going to grow up as a generation who worships God and remembers all He has done for the previous generations we MUST begin teaching and training them in the home.
I suggest every family begin these three simple practices nightly. One, read the Bible with your children. We’ve talked about this before. There is no substitute for this. READ THE BIBLE! Two, pray out loud with your children. Your kids need to hear you praying for them and for the world around them. Your excuses about why you don’t pray aloud sound very flimsy when we’re talking about the future of your child’s faith. If you don’t know what to pray, pray the Psalms aloud. There’s nothing in the world wrong with that. Three, share your own story of rescue with your kids. This final step has at least two parts. The first looks like you sharing the story of when you first met Jesus. Share how you first experienced conviction over your sin. Talk about how fear gripped your heart when you realized what you deserved was Hell. Explain how Jesus demonstrated His love for you by dying on the cross and taking the punishment for your sin. Show them how powerful the moment was when you realized for the first time that you were forgiven, made clean and set free from the power of your sin. Tell this story often, but don’t stop there. Also tell the stories of faithfulness in the generations before you. If you are a first generation believer, tell the stories of the faithful people who led you to the Lord. Let your children know that faith is something that is passed down from one generation to the next. This is one place where we do not need to drop the ball.
Parents and grandparents, we only get one shot at raising our kids up in the ways of the Lord. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we will do. Our best accomplishments aside from this will look like Tball trophies when compared with the future lives our kids will leave. One shot. Let’s get the job done well!