One of the things I’ve tried to do with my parenting is to be aware of the different aspects of each of my children’s being – their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, moral, spiritual; to intentionally know where they are at, and to know how I could help them grow. As parents we usually look at what our children are doing to assess how they are going – but when it comes to our children growing spiritually there has to be another way.
The problem with ‘assessing’ and ‘planning’ spiritual growth in our children is that it quickly becomes about external things – like reading your Bible, Praying, Going to Church, Volunteering. We can read through that list, do a mental check, and think that everyone is doing okay. And yet what we are really talking about in terms of spiritual growth and maturity is a relationship with Jesus, and becoming more and more like Him.
- Do your kids have a relationship with Jesus?
- Do they desire to be more and more like him?
- And how are you helping, encouraging, supporting them in this?
Before we go any further in thinking about our kids, we need to think about ourselves. We are first and foremost responsible for our own relationship with Christ. How would you assess yourself, your own spiritual growth and maturity? Are you getting to know Jesus more and more each day? Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Obeying? Being changed from the inside out? Or are you only getting to know more about Him? There is a difference – and we can go through all the motions of being a Christian and know about Jesus, and yet, he’s standing at the door of our heart – knocking, saying let me in to every crevice of your heart.
The heart is our the place where we process and hold beliefs and determine our will, emotions, passions, character – the center of everything that makes us tick as a person. So the question is – Is our relationship with Jesus changing or affecting each of these things?
Not to say that we need to get it 100% right and be fully mature before we can encourage our kids – but our desire needs to be tuned towards Jesus, knowing him, obeying him, being changed by him. If we are just going through the motions, we cannot expect to see life, spiritual life, in our kids.
As my kids were growing up they lived with me day in and day out, even when they were young they knew what was going on in my life. They knew the ups and downs, the real and the pretend. So we need to live honestly with Jesus, in front of the kids – not trying to be perfect. Of course, God is bigger than anything – and I prayed that God would turn on the light in my children’s heart and helps them see who he is. And yet, my desire was that I didn’t want to be a hindrance to my children, a stumbling block.
What does it look like to encourage spiritual growth and maturity in our kids:
Spiritual growth or maturity is the journey of responding to God’s word, and changing to be more like Jesus.
1-Live an honest life in front of our kids – showing them what it means to grow and mature – showing them what it means to respond to Jesus and change to be more like him.
2-To introduce them to Jesus, and to teach them from His word (the Bible)
3-To encourage them to know Jesus and respond to him as their Saviour and Lord
4-To encourage and help them read the Bible and apply the things they learn
5-Teach them to pray and listen to God’s answers
6-To help them recognise the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, prompting and warning them.
7-To depend on the Holy Spirit to strengthen them to be obedient especially when the choices they have to make are hard
8-To be an active part of the body of Christ – encouraging other Christians and being honest enough with others to be encouraged by them.
How we help our kids face their challenges throughout the day, will be what gives them the opportunity to grow spiritually. We must make it about what they believe, what Jesus says, before we make it about the actions they need to take.
Christian Parenting is about Discipleship Christian Parenting is about discipleship in the family. As Christians we are called to make disciples; and our children are the first people we are to teach.
How to Teach Kids who Live in a Christian Home about Jesus For kids who grow up in a Christian home they need to know that being a Christian is a relationship with Jesus – it isn’t about doing good.
It’s Important to be Responsible for your own Relationship with Jesus Our children need to know that they will not grow if they depend on others for their spiritual food. They need to dig their own wells; be responsible for our own relationship with Jesus.
How to Encourage Children to have their Own Devotion Time with God When you children want to have a daily Quiet time with God, you can guide them and encourage them with these simple prompts.
Over to you:
How have you kept an eye on your children’s spiritual growth? Love to hear from you.