“You, that are schoolmasters and tutors, begin and end with the things of God. Speak daily to the hearts of your scholars those things that must be wrought into their hearts, or else they are undone. Let some piercing words fall frequently from your mouths, of God, of the state of their souls, and the life to come. Do not say, they are too young to understand and entertain them. You little know what impressions they may make” (Richard Baxter).
I do not know about you, but I have been thinking quite a bit lately about my children and what they may face in the future as society continues to change and drift further away from the truth according to the Word of God. This comes as no surprise to us.
When reading Scripture, we understand as wickedness increases, the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). The role of a parent in the life of a child is vital, and as a believer in Christ, I want to teach my children about the ways of God and His instruction from His written Word.
Reading statements such as this one from Richard Baxter brings personal pause and the realization that though I do homeschool our oldest child, irrespective of this position I was already her teacher. Technically, we are all theologians.
That may seem intimidating, especially when we consider how inept we may feel at the thought of teaching our children what Scripture says, but we can and should do this with our children. We will also find ourselves growing along with them.
This glorious Word is God-breathed. It is profitable for teaching, correction, and training up in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). We are assured that it is truth (John 17:17) and abiding in the Word brings freedom (John 8:31,32).
There is no better illuminator in the midst of darkness than God’s Holy Word. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The darkness indeed seems to be growing, but we have such hope because of Jesus Christ and our faith in Him.
We want our children to come to saving faith in Him with that same hope so they can shine His light for others to see. We want them to be fearless in the face of evil and wickedness, knowing from where their help comes while standing firm on an unshakeable foundation.
Your Role as a Parent
There may be a tendency in us as parents to rely on our children’s interactions with their Sunday school teacher or youth pastor to be sufficient in their understanding and exposure to the Bible. But it is not sufficient.
Truthfully, we should be proactive in them hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reading the Bible with understanding within our own homes. They need to see us living out our faith in Christ.
They need to see us being doers of the Word and not mere hearers (James 1:22). Taking it a step further, we need to equip them with the truth and encourage them to test things according to the Word of God so that they become doers.
Deuteronomy 6 tells of the Israelites being instructed by God in the greatest commandment, which is to love God with every part of your heart, soul, and strength.
Verses six and seven go on to say, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).
This instruction would still apply to us today as stewards over our children that God has entrusted into our care. We are to teach them the ways of God rather than leaving it up to others.
Just as eating one day a week is not adequate sustenance, hearing biblical teaching once a week is not adequate spiritual nourishment. We as parents are responsible for teaching our children about God and His ways.
One of the ways this has personally challenged me is in realizing I cannot shield our children from everything opposing God in this world. They are going to encounter individuals who do not agree with the Christian values we are teaching them.
They are going to see things and hear things that will attempt to challenge God’s Word and even God’s creation. They will come across things that are subtle in deception, and it is not sufficient for me to tell them to avoid something simply because it is bad.
I want them to understand why it is bad from a biblical standpoint. I also want us as their parents to be the first line of defense in their lives while providing the best defense, the Word of God.
You Must Be This Old for Apologetics
I really like this quote from Mike Winger. Regarding the topic of apologetics, he says,
“Apologetics isn’t relegated to Christianity only. One can be an apologist for anything. An apologist is simply a person who offers an argument in defense of something. Atheists have apologists too. So do agnostics. If we think that only religious people have ‘apologists’, then we set ourselves up for being unaware of the apologetics we believe and propagate for our own views about religion (even if those views involve rejecting religion). Yet there is a stubborn myth out there that once you reject religion, you are unbiased and non-dogmatic.”
We can also add that there is no age at which you magically begin to defend your faith. We can and should begin to teach our children at a young age the ways of God through Scripture and help them to apply it to the current issues in life.
Recently, I took advantage of an opportunity to do this very thing with our daughter. A new animated movie came out that was resulting in mixed reviews. Initially, I had told our daughter to simply avoid the movie because it was bad.
Yes, I said the very thing I stated we should not say as parents. I then became convicted and decided to watch the movie with her while taking notes and discussing it with her.
The following day before school, we took the time to talk about some main areas of concern in this movie and to look at what Scripture had to say in response to these concerns.
Our daughter also shared her thoughts about this movie. It was a great discussion, and it encouraged me and challenged me as a mother and a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I want to raise apologists for the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is no need to wait. I pray that they come to saving faith in Christ and that they are able to give a reason for the hope they have in Him (1 Peter 3:15).
Why Does This Matter?
When we take the time to talk with our children about topics that are uncomfortable, difficult, and challenging, we provide an open door for them to maintain dialogue with us.
We provide biblical answers to their questions before the world has an opportunity to provide their thoughts and input.
We want our children to know we have their best interests at heart and that we are willing to have these discussions with them because we love them. I encourage you to have these conversations with your children. Instruct them in the ways of the Lord and grow in your faith alongside your children.
For further reading:
How Are Children Gifts from God?
Can Children Truly Understand the Bible?
How Did Jesus Interact with Children? Meaning and Significance
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Dawn Hill is a Christian blogger known as The Lovesick Scribe and the host of The Lovesick Scribe Podcast. She is passionate about sharing the truth and pointing others back to Jesus Christ through the written Word as the standard of authority for Christian living and instruction while being led by the Holy Spirit into maturity. She is the author of NonProphet Woke: The Reformation of a Modern-Day Disciple. She is a wife to Nicholas and a mother to Anabel and Ephraim. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.