Like all Christian parents, I sincerely desire to see my children trust in Jesus Christ and live in the hope of the gospel. My wife and I regularly pray for our children's salvation, and consciously try to have regular conversations with each of them about the good news of the gospel and the need for the good news. But, are there ways in which I'm hindering my children from coming to Christ?
In Joel Beeke's latest book, Parenting by God's Promises, now available for pre-order, he suggests 6 ways parents can hinder their children from coming to Christ and calls parents to vigilantly guard against each.
It is possible for us as Christian parents to hinder our children from coming to Christ, just as the disciples tried to keep children away from Him (Mark 10:13-16). We must guard against this possibility with great vigilance. We hinder our children when:
- We ourselves do not go to Jesus. If we do not go to Jesus, how can we expect our children to do so?
- We fail to foster Christ-centered conversation in the home. It is not enough just to talk about church affairs or to critique sermons. We must talk about Christ, His majestic glory, His love for sinners, His power to save, and His willingness to receive all who come to Him.
- We fail to live in integrity. This happens when our children hear what we say, but they do not see love for God and our neighbors shining through our actions.
- We fail to love Christ and His church.
- We fail to trust God and hold fast to His promises.
- We show little interest in spiritual things, so that our Bibles lie untouched from Sunday to Sunday, and our religion is a matter of empty forms and rites, devoid of the power of true godliness.
If we find ourselves hindering our children in these or other ways, we should pray that God will enable us to be helpers rather than hindrances to them, actively bringing them to the Lord.
Excerpt from Joel Beeke's Parenting by God's Promises: How to Raise Children in the Covenant of Grace.