Parenting is a wild ride, isn’t it? Nothing can adequately prepare you. Parenting books, blogs, and podcasts are all great. But they only scratch the surface of what it’s like to have your own kid. There are so many paths to parenthood, no one gets there quite the same. But when that precious life is placed in your arms, you are changed forever. And you might freak out a little. So many thoughts race through your head, but I think one every parent can identify with is that we don’t want to fail our kids.
All the “what ifs” attack our minds and every worst-case scenario immediately pops into our heads. We instantly gain a different appreciation for parents and the roller coaster of emotions parenting brings us. All parenting is tough but we can add to that the difficulty of being a Christian parent in a post-Christian culture. Even the easier elements of parenting are dialed up to the highest difficulty in this day and age. Teaching your children to walk pales in comparison to teaching them to walk with wisdom in a world flooded with foolishness. Likewise, teaching your children to talk, and use proper grammar, is child’s play compared to teaching them to be slow to speak, and to do so with grace and humility amidst the godless banter of modern media.
No Perfect Parents
So what does that mean for us? I mean, you and I are just regular people. We’re working to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, shoes on our kids’ ever-growing feet (if they’ll stop taking them off every time we get in the car), make sure they get a good education, the right friends, have the right amount of extracurricular activities, enough hours of sleep every night, and most importantly, learn to love Jesus with all their hearts. If that seems like a lot, it’s because it is. How in the world are we supposed to accomplish the mundane stuff while knowing that the most important thing is their walk with Jesus?
Think about this: the first children ever born were not born in the Garden of Eden. They were born after the fall. That means there have been no perfect parents. God alone is the perfect Father. Presenting your children mature in Christ is the goal. The challenges pushing back against this goal are strong, but the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 1:29, “I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me.” Jesus Christ—working in us—can and will accomplish his will; we don’t have to go it alone. We don’t have to hope it all works out. We can know that Jesus is at work in us and through us to impact our children. The Holy Spirit is at work empowering us to accomplish his will.
Making Disciples of All Nations Starts at Home
And what is Christ’s will, exactly? You probably already know it. Matthew 28:18-20 tells us to make disciples of all nations. Do you know where “all nations” begins? In our own homes. Our kids are the first priority on that discipleship list, following our own personal walk with Christ. That may be a shift from how we’re used to thinking, but it’s the truth, right there in black and white (or red, depending on your Bible). It doesn’t require a personality test, soul-searching, or any special qualifications. Jesus’ command is summed up in two words: make disciples.
The best part is that Jesus modeled all of this for us. We can look to his life on earth to see how he lived, how he discipled, and how we can follow his example. It’s pretty simple. Discipleship happens when we spend intentional time with our children. It is in these moments that God writes his word on their hearts. He does the writing, but we help create the atmosphere for this to take place.
For help developing a custom-fit method of discipling kids in your season of parenting, read Write It On Their Hearts by Chris and Melissa Swain. This article is based on ideas from the book, which offers practical help and advice for Christian parents on how to be intentional with their time to lead their children to Jesus.