Can I Raise My Child to Choose Jesus?

Colette Fabry, Co-Author of awriteheart.com[blockquote cite=”Proverbs 22:6″ type=”center”]”Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” [/blockquote]

This verse is one that Christian parents hang on to with everything they have while raising children.  I know I did.  All three times, from the moment I knew that I was going to be a mom, I began to pray that my child would grow to be all that God would have him to be…that God would bring him to a complete understanding and acceptance of Jesus and that he would follow the principles of God every day of his life. If there was a way to ensure my child’s salvation I was determined to find it and do it no matter what. Who wouldn’t.  Is there a way to make sure our kids choose Jesus?

I know many people who were raised in Christian homes and yet DIDN’T choose Jesus.  I watched it happen too many times to count. Recently a mother of a rebellious teen asked me, “Doesn’t the Bible say that if we train our children in the ways of God then they won’t turn away?  Isn’t there a promise that says when they are old that they will come back to the Lord?”  After examining Scripture I am certain that this verse does NOT mean what many people think it means.  It can’t.  Even Solomon, who wrote Proverbs 22:6  had a son named Rehoboam who turned from the LORD.  Rehoboams last 17 years is explained like this “..he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD” 2 Chronicles 12:14.

Godly training is extremely important. I believe that what Proverbs 22:6 means is that all the training a parent puts into their child will never leave him.  And, he will never leave the training; It will always be a part of him. Parents can’t accept Jesus FOR their children or make Godly decisions FOR them.  But they do have the privilege of showing Jesus to them in hopes that they will follow Him. Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Pastor, Jim Cymbala, has a daughter who walked away from her faith and her family.  After several years of living in sin, she laid in her bed unable to sleep, listening to NYC traffic in the middle of the night.  The Holy Spirit brought to mind what she had been taught.  She wept as she remembered the Godly songs and Scripture that had been poured into her.She gave her life to Jesus that night and reconciled with her parents that very day.  Thank God she couldn’t depart from the training of her parents!

I recently asked several people who never left their faith WHY they chose to be faithful to what they were taught in their Christian homes. I really enjoyed reading their answers.  Their words are filled with wisdom, especially for those who are raising children.  It is clear that Godly training led them to genuine faith in Jesus. This is what they wrote.

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I am a 4th generation Christian. I was raised by parents who taught me right from wrong, how to pray, how to love God, how to be obedient, and so many good things. They showed me what real Christianity looks like…what a real Christian is.  I was saved and baptized at an early age.  I never had a desire to leave my faith. I really believe that what I was taught was truth.  I didn’t stray because I love God.”  Janel, age 21

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I am a 2nd generation Christian. I was raised in a home where my parents taught me a lot of good things.  We worked and played hard but Jesus always came first.  I have been around church and Christians my whole life and I’ve never heard of one single person that has regretted living for God.  Quite the opposite.  Many people who look back on their lives have an overwhelming regret that they wasted time and didn’t spend time on things that affect eternity.  I am thankful that I learned the Bible and grew up with Believers.  I’ve had to face some very tough times and without God and my church family I couldn’t have gotten through. I see things differently when I think about the truth of eternity.”  Brett, age 31

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I am a 3rd generation Christian although I can trace Christianity in my family a lot farther back than that.  Why didn’t I leave my faith when I was old enough?  I saw an amazing, positive, genuine Christianity lived out in my parents lives.  They were not perfect, but they were real Christians.  They never spoke bad of others in our church, they loved being at church and they lived the same way at home as out of the home.  They told me how happy they were that Jesus saved them and lived that way….grateful for Jesus.  When I was old enough to make the choice: is my parents God going to be my God?  Well, it wasn’t a choice at all.  I wanted God and all that came with that.  I’ve never, ever regretted my decision.  Sue, age 51

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I am a 2nd generation Christian. Honestly, what kept me choosing Jesus is that my parents practiced what they preached.  How they acted at church was how they acted at home.  I watched them filter everything through the Bible and do their best to please God.  They were happy and fun and didn’t make following Jesus look like a chore or a list of  “don’ts”  They thanked and praised God for everything.   I wanted God for myself and to live for God the way that they did.”  Brie, age 34

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“I am a 3rd generation Christian. From as young as I can remember I was taught about Jesus. I learned who He is and about relationship with Him. If I chose one reason that I stayed faithful to God and Christianity I would have to link it back to the way Jesus was introduced to me.  It wasn’t about attending church… it was because I was taught and then understood about having a relationship with Jesus. About what He did for us so He could be with us.”  Matt, age 31

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“I am a 3rd generation Christian.  The reason I stayed faithful to God and how I was raised was because I was shown true Christianity.  Although I made some mistakes and poor choices I learned from them.  I learned that what I was taught is truth.  I was taught to hate sin and love grace; that all sin will eventually lead to destruction and that Gods grace is a gift to me.   I had to experience it as a young adult to really believe it for myself.  I am thankful that I was raised in a Christian home.  I am even more thankful for my salvation.”  Jake, age 29

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“I am a 4th generation Christian. Why didn’t I walk away from Christianity like some people do? My parents stressed the importance of having a relationship with Jesus and they lived it out in their own lives.  They didn’t have extreme rules or man made standards for my brothers and I.  They, along with so many Christians, modeled the love of Christ to me.  Because of that I want to go to church and  grow in my relationship with God.”  Kyle, age 26

“I am a 3rd generation Christian.  My parents taught me to put Christ first in everything, how every decision I make should reflect what God wants and to love others like Christ does.  They modeled this for me.  They encouraged me to learn from the positive and negative examples of others. I didn’t walk away from my faith because I realized that Gods commands are there for my protection and because He loves me.  My faith in God became my own. I want to please the Lord with my life because of all that He has done for me.”  Kaitlin, age 26

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“I am a 3rd generation Christian.  Why didn’t I walk away from my faith? My parents taught me true Christianity.  To love God and to compassionately love people.  My parents had good balance with rules in my life and they lived by the same rules. I desired the Jesus that my parents pointed me to.  He was real to them and I wanted that in my life.”  Sarah, age 22

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“I’m a 3rd generation Christian.  Why did I choose to stay faithful to what I was taught? My parents did their best to practice what they preached.  They backed everything they taught me with real love. I’m thankful that my parents actually “parented” me. They taught, instructed, disciplined and loved me. They glorified God in our home. I knew God was real because I saw Him in my mom and dads life.  It was during a difficult time in my life that my grandfather, a preacher, pointed me to Jesus. That was when Jesus became real to me and  I chose Him for myself.”    Jared, age 29

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“I am a 4th generation Christian.  My parents demonstrated how to love God and how to faithfully serve Him. They showed generosity and hospitality to others, had a hunger for Gods Word and showed me the power of prayer.  I grew up in a church where people encouraged and invested in me.  All of these factors surely influenced who I am today.  I am thankful for my heritage but this didn’t make me a Christ follower.  I repented of my sin and asked Jesus to be my Savior at a young age.  After 38 years, even though I have not always been faithful Jesus has always been faithful to me.  Why didn’t I walk away from Christianity?  Because I love Jesus.  If my faith was based on the behavior of others, the circumstances of life or my own ability to measure up to Gods glory, I too might depart.  But I am compelled to look at Jesus.  Is it the prayers and godly example of  the generations before or saturation of the scriptures that give me power to stand fast? Here lies the mystery and power of the Spirit of God.  We can do the very best we know how to do, but its the Spirit of God that draws people to Himself.”  Michele, 43

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Can we raise our children to choose Jesus? No. That is a choice that is theirs alone. But we can do our best to model our love for Jesus to them.  I never asked the people above to tell me what their parents did right or to give credit to them.  The question was simply, “why didn’t you walk away from your faith like so many do?”  I think it’s interesting that all of them pointed out that their parents genuinely modeled Jesus. If I could live motherhood again, I would pour even more of Jesus into my children than I did. More of Jesus and less of everything else. Because in reality it is He thats makes life stable, wise, successful, and purposeful!  In Deuteronomy 6, God gives the Israelites clear instruction before they entered a new land, where there would be unbelievers who would influence their children to turn away from thier faith. He told them to teach their children the laws. Teach them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and might. He told them to remind their children of all the things that God had done, like how he rescued them from bondage and all the miracles in the desert. All so that their faith might be strong and continue from one generation to the next. Don’t get weary in training….It may be the very avenue that is used so that your child chooses Jesus!

“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in they grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that it is in thee also” 2 Timothy 1:5

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Colette[/custom_headline]

Feature photo attribution: flickr photo by Philippe Put http://flickr.com/photos/34547181@N00/15589452139 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

8 thoughts on “Can I Raise My Child to Choose Jesus?

  1. This is so eye opening that how we act, daily, is the best testimony to our family and to others!! God is so real and we need to show that at all times! I have failed many times, but then we need to get up, confess and live to the best of our ability for Him!!! Thank you for this eye opener!

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