In 1 Timothy 1:2, the apostle Paul acknowledged his role as Timothy’s father in the faith. He did this by allowing Timothy to be privy to the intimate details of his own faith. He wasn’t secretive or restrained but instead openly and honestly demonstrated his faith and encouraged Timothy to emulate the good he saw.
This is your charge for your children.
Be open and honest and encourage your children to emulate the positive in your own life. Be transparent also about the bad, and model to your children how to ask for and accept forgiveness. Your children need the spiritual gifts of prayer life, a study life, a family life, and a life of service in the Lord. Each will be a tremendous spiritual blessing and will fortify your children for the rest of their lives:
1. Through Prayer. Children are natural prayers. The prayer of a child pours out faith, hope, and love: faith in a Father who hears, hope for an answer, and the love of a trusting child.
2. Through the Word. The Bible is active, alive, and effective. Ultimately, you will want to transfer your love and reliance upon Scripture to your child. After all, a time will come when you are no longer accessible to your child; God’s Word lasts forever and is an inexhaustible resource of knowledge, hope, and insight for your child today, tomorrow, and forever.
3. Through a Spiritual Family Life. Take your child to church. Allow your child to be taught by other godly adults and experience the joys of corporate worship. Strengthen your child with the knowledge that he or she is not alone in their faith.
4. Through a Life of Service. Your children need the spiritual gift of a life of service in God. This is your child’s true purpose in life, regardless of what he or she does for job or career or avocation.
5. Overcoming Spiritual Hurt. Unfortunately, some have experienced hurt at the hands of a church or religious group. However, if this has happened to you it is for the good of your child and your family to take steps to move beyond that painful experience and reconnect with a healthy body of believers.
6. Holy Ground. What type of soil are you providing for your child’s spiritual growth? Is it a soil packed down hard, where seeds of faith can hardly take root and are vulnerable to hungry opportunists? Or is it a good soil, rich in spiritual nutrients and cleared of spiritual obstacles, which allow your child’s faith to flower and blossom, to put down deep roots and multiply?
7. Encourage Spiritual Gifts. Think of at least one way you can encourage each one of the following gifts in your life: a prayer life, a study life, a spiritual family life, and a life of service. Make a plan to integrate these into your family life within the next month.
Simply put, in all these areas of responsibility, you set up the pattern for your child. Scripture even promises, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6).
Your child needs to internalize this good news that his life has meaning and purpose in God’s kingdom.
SOURCE: Chapter 9, “R is for Responsible for My Faith,” in Healthy Habits, Healthy Kid: A Practical Plan to Help Your Family by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.