It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks for the Church to say the least. A few weeks ago the American Bible Society released their annual state of the BIble study. Long story short, Americans are less engaged with church and scripture than ever before with a considerable drop off since 2020.
A few weeks ago I sat in a meeting where J.I. Packer’s book Knowing God was being discussed. Specifically, the passage about lukewarmness. Someone in the meeting commented that this younger generation (up into the older millennials) is so lukewarm.
And that got me thinking.
Raising Lukewarm Kids
There is an old saying when it comes to raising kids that more is caught than taught. I’m convinced that my love for reading was sparked by watching my mother read hundreds of novels when I was young.
As we look at the precipitous declines in fidelity to scripture, we should be asking the question: Who raised these kids? Of course, this is not to cast aspersions on our parents or grandparents but if there are entire generations with anemic faith, we can’t help but ask, where did it come from?
I actually want to turn this question on us though. Many of you reading this are parents, aunts, uncles, or have children in some capacity in your lives. How are you modeling faith to those children?
One of the most important things we can do for them is model godliness. Disengagement from the Church and scripture will naturally lead to a compromise in godly values. This means it’s important for us to show our children what faithfulness to God’s calls and demands on our lives look like. This is in everything from how we approach our jobs to regular rhythms of prayer and repentance.
This also includes our zeal for God. Remember, more is caught than taught. It is no accident that all three of my children are passionate about doing pull ups and finding food with good ingredients when we go to the grocery store.
As I’ve written before, this is an area I’ve been struggling with. Based on the responses, many of you are as well. While our older zeal may never reach the level of our youth, we can still be excited and passionate about what God is doing and where he has us. One of the ways in which we can do that is by teaching our children to be thankful. When we view all of life as a gift from God, there is a natural joy that occurs. Joy is infectious, our children will catch that joy.
Train Up A Child
Proverbs is full of beautiful wisdom, this verse is one of them: 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. This is not a promise of salvation. We don’t save our children, that’s God’s work. But we do model what it looks like to be a Christian.
I’m constantly thinking about this for my little three. We don’t do family worship enough. We don’t read their Bibles enough (they ask quite often though which keeps me in check). I don’t pray for them enough. On and on and on I can go. I don’t write any of this pointing fingers at anyone else, I feel the weight of shortcomings in this world.
This study and the last few weeks have served as a wake up call for me. Not to find my success as a parent in being a good Christian but to remember that there is a call placed on me as a father in how I raise these kids to prayerfully one day love and serve the Lord.
This starts with addressing my own lukewarmness.The results of this study really serve as a caution to all of us not to fall into the mundane routines of life where we put our faith on autopilot.
One way to avoid this outcome is to actively pursue the Lord each day. 1. Because He is worthy and 2. Because our children are looking to us to show them the way.