As a continuation in my series on Lionproofing our children, I am publishing part 3 today. This series is based on the interviews I’ve conducted with many 2nd generation Christians, looking for patterns in their childhoods which would reveal important principles of child training practices of their parents. Part 1 outlines the problems we face in churches nowadays, while Part 2 introduces the Overcomers, or the ones who have withstood the attacks of Satan and gone on to serve the Lord. If you haven’t read Parts 1 & 2, you may want to do so before reading on.
How can I Lionproof my own children – strengthen their faith so that they are able to withstand the fiery darts of the Devil? Can it even be done?
I believe that, not only is it possible to know, but we can, with God’s help, raise a generation that will run for God and pass the Gospel Torch onto their children who come along behind them. I believe it is possible to thwart the attacks of Satan on our families, and preserve the next generation. Satan is always prowling around, looking for his next meal, and children are his favorite morsels. However, generations of Christians have successfully raised their young people to serve the Lord – people just like you and me. Folks with trials, financial difficulties, and physical troubles have all effectively navigated the difficulties of our current godless culture to raise a generation of young people who love God. How did they do it?
They began Lionproofing their children by first building a solid foundation.
What’s the foundation of the home? The foundation begins before two become one; it begins with each individual before they even approach the marriage altar. It begins with each individual’s relationship with God.
In most of my interviews, the same characteristic popped up. I simply asked, “Is there anything your parents did or did not do that pointed you in the direction of serving God?” 76% of the respondents each volunteered, in their own words and of their own volition, the very same characteristic. To me, that is very powerful evidence that this quality is one of the most, if not truly the very most, important quality that a godly parent must possess in order to successfully raise godly children.
I’ll let one of my respondents answer. Though Julia is almost 50, she is strikingly beautiful, thoughtful, and almost painfully candid. I asked, “Is there anything that your parents did or did not do that pointed you in the direction of serving God?” The middle-aged pastor’s wife looked thoughtfully for a moment before answering. Then, looking straight at me, she leaned forward and smiled. “My parents were REAL. They sincerely loved God, and wanted to serve Him. They wanted to do whatever He wanted them to do.”
Herein lies perhaps one of our greatest challenges of parenting: that of really, truly, honestly believing what we say we believe as parents. If we are to change the world, it must begin at home. If we are to bring up young people who are passionate about living daily in the glorious presence of the Almighty God, then we must ourselves experience that same burning passion. It is realness, it is true transparency, and it is life.
Steve put it this way: “Kids are smart – you can’t pull anything over on them. They’re just as human as we are. People know a real thing, instead of an imitation.”
As a matter of fact, our children are the first ones to notice whether we are truly real or not!
Here is some good news for those of you who wonder whether you have what it takes to raise a godly young person: you do not have to be perfect, just real.
Take the time to examine yourself – your life, your heart, your spirit – and ask God to show you the truth. Have you truly been born-again? Has there been a time in your life when you have humbled yourself before God and sought His forgiveness, thanking Him for His sacrificial death? There is no room for pretend Christians in this battle for the souls of our young people.
As you sincerely love the Lord and desire to please Him . . . at home, at church, at school, at work, in the store, on the phone, on the computer, and in the virtual world, you will find the realness of His presence, His provision, His protection, and His power in your life.
You will have built the foundation in Lionproofing your own children: having a real faith in a real God yourself.