Entrusting Our Children to God

Entrusting Our Children to God

While we have been given the responsibilities to tend, teach, and train, we cannot drag, push, or pull our kids screaming and kicking into the kingdom of God. There is no guarantee that we will see the results that we want, in the way that we want, or in the time that we want. No, “salvation belongs to the Lord” (Ps. 3:8; see also Rev. 7:10). It is only the Holy Spirit, working in His way and His time, who will call our children to faith. 

My fourteen-year-old self had gone to bed at my usual 9 p.m. time. Two hours later, I woke up to use the bathroom. While walking undetected past my parents’ darkened room, I not only heard my dad whispering, but I heard him whispering my name. It was at that unforgettable moment that I learned that my parents’ bedtime routine included intercession on behalf of their three children.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I had been blessed with parents whose only stated hope for me for as long as I can remember was that I would grow up to love, follow, and serve Jesus Christ. As Christian parents, we ought to hope the same for our children. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But challenges to passing on the faith in today’s world and seeing these good desires realized are many. Marketing, media, social media, and peer groups are among the many compelling voices that speak counter to the gospel, summoning the allegiance of our children and teens. Research from David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock in their book Faith for Exiles reveals that more and more of our kids who have grown up in the church and Christian homes are following “the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2) as only 10 percent of eighteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds who “grew up as Christians” are embracing a lifestyle of consistent discipleship.

The good news is that parents always exercise the greatest influence on the spiritual lives of their children. This should not be surprising, since God has established the home as the primary arena for spiritual nurture (Deut. 6Eph. 6:1–4). This influence is effectively exercised as we entrust our children to God, which includes certain responsibilities that He has entrusted to us. How can we entrust our children to Him in a contemporary world full of distractions that so easily leads both children and parents away from the faithful pursuit of the chief end of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever?

First, to entrust your children to God is to tend to yourself. I love Tedd Tripp’s definition of parenting as “shepherding the hearts of your children in the ways of God’s wisdom.” It follows that the only way that we can effectively nurture our children in the ways of God’s wisdom is to be constantly nurturing ourselves.

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