Thursday, May 26, 2011

Planting Seeds of Faith

Q. We have a 5-year-old son and want to know how best to share our Christian faith with him. How do we help our son understand what it means to accept Christ as his Savior and Lord?

A. What an honor it is to answer this question for you. There is no question more important than one about the salvation of a child. Rod Marshall, VP of Counseling for ABCH&FM/Director of Pathways Professional Counseling, has a very informative answer for you.

"As a Christian parent, you think about sharing your faith with your child or children. While the thought may bring excitement and hope, for many it can also bring nervousness and anxiety.

There are some things that parents of very young children can do, however, to begin planting seeds that may lead to their children accepting Christ as their Savior and making Him their Lord as they grow older. These things are also valuable for older children and teens as they search for God or learn how to live the Christian life.

  • Make sure you have an active and healthy spiritual life. You cannot give away that which you do not possess. Do you pray and read your Bible regularly? Do you share your faith as part of your lifestyle? Do your children know you do these things? You should not practice the disciplines of faith as a show for your children, but if they are an integral part of your life, your children should know why you practice these habits.
  • Allow your child to participate in living out your family values. Buy Christmas for a family in need and let your child choose the toys. As a family, seek out opportunities through your church or a local charity to minister to others.
  • Pray with and for your child. Teach them Bible stories and sing to them. Read more here about the Power of Parent-Child Play.
  • Display the joy that comes from Christ-centered living. Bad things happen to good people and bad things happen to God’s people. We cannot always be happy, but we can always be filled with joy.
  • When there is disagreement in your family, someone needs to be punished or things have gotten rocky, ask yourself if you are exhibiting the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). If you are not, ask God to allow you to display them during challenging times. Your children learn volumes about your faith and values when they watch you deal with struggles.
  • Practice Ephesians 4:29 where Paul says: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Strive to choose only words that will build up your children and spouse.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your child about your faith. Explain to your child why you value your faith.
  • Find a community of faith (a local church) that will join with you and walk alongside you in raising your child to become a mature Christian. Pray for your children’s friends and their families. Seek opportunities to connect your child with children whose parents hold the same values as you do.
  • Finally, make sure you are living out your values. If someone was watching you, would they know by the daily decisions that you make that you are a follower of Christ? Do your children learn honesty and integrity and hospitality and charity by watching you?"
With these ideas, your children are sure to see your faith lived out daily. Remember, children learn better from observation rather than lecture. Teach your child through your actions by walking with Christ daily and through your words by explaining why you walk with Christ. If you have any questions about today's blog or want to post a comment please do so below. We would love to answer any specific questions you might have.

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.

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