By Jeff Keaton
1. They belong to God.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Ps 127:3).
Perhaps the greatest trust any person could ever be given is the responsibility of a child. As soon as both of our daughters were born, I realized that I was responsible for their physical, and even more importantly, spiritual well-being. I was fully aware from day one that I would stand before God someday and give an account for how I had raised them. I have always known God would not ask me about their position in life or their level of wealth. He will simply want to know if I taught them to know, love, and serve Him. Because of this understanding, I determined that I would do everything in my power to help them know God’s truth, and I would do everything possible to make sure they would not be influenced by those who would lead them away from God’s truth.
2. We want them to grow up to bless our hearts, not break them.
“A foolish son is a ruin to his father” (Prov 19:13a).
“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him” (Prov 23:24).
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6).
There is no absolute guarantee that if we give our children a biblical worldview they will choose a path of righteousness. However, there is a guarantee that if we don’t give them a biblical worldview they will go astray and break our hearts.
Young moms and dads think they have it pretty hard when their kids are little and demand their care and attention 24 hours a day. I remember those days, and they were tough. However, it’s much more diffcult to have grown children— who you no longer have control of—choose to reject the God you know and love. If we are diligent about leading our children to Christ and instilling a biblical worldview in their hearts and minds, a vast majority of them will bless our hearts as adults, not break them.
3. We want our children to experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from living in harmony with God’s law and design.
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Ps 119:1).
All of God’s laws are filled with God’s love. His laws were put in place to protect us, not restrict us. When our girls were little they couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t allow them to play in the street. They thought I was restricting them from having fun when in reality I was saving them from getting seriously hurt.
When we diligently teach our children the truth of God’s word and help them see all of life through the lens of God’s word, we set them up for a joyous life. No, we can never take away all their pain or tragedy, but we can help them to live under the blessings that come from living in harmony with God’s good design.
When our children come to know and love Christ and understand His will for their lives, they will not experience the unnecessary suffering that comes from breaking the law of God. A vast majority of our trouble comes from violating some aspect of God’s good plan. If we want our children to experience true joy and satisfaction in life, we must give them a biblical worldview.
4. We want them to be used by God to positively impact the world.
My parents chose, with God’s blessing, to bring nine children into this world. It wasn’t easy, and we surely don’t have the perfect family. However, after giving more than 50 years to full-time Christian ministry, my parent’s tribe has now grown to include 101 people. 52 of the 101 are either in full-time vocational ministry or preparing to go into the ministry. Many others are being used by God in the fields of medicine, business, etc. One of my parent’s greatest joys is to watch their children impact the world for Christ through the many endeavors we are involved in. Often my dad will call and share a new idea he has for Renewanation. He currently serves as a legacy pastor on my brother Troy’s pastoral staff. The fact that we are giving our lives in service to Christ simply thrills my parents. I know this feeling now as both of our daughters are serving in Christian ministry.
It doesn’t matter where God chooses to use our children, but to know that they love Him and are serving Him in their field of work is a dream come true for most Christian parents. This can only happen if we are intentional about developing a biblical view of life in their young hearts and minds. If Jesus isn’t their supreme love, they will fall for the lies of our culture and chase selfish dreams that lead them to live meaningless lives.
5. We want them to carry the Christian faith to the generations to come.
In Judges 2:6-10, we see how quick faith can be lost. We are told in this passage that Joshua and the generation below him, who had seen the great things the Lord had done, served the Lord. But by the time we get to Joshua’s grandchildren, we read this: “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.” How sad! I have seen this pattern over and over again. When I was a full-time pastor, non-Christians would file into my office and tell me about their godly grandparents. They often would tell me about the fond memories they had of a praying grandmother or grandfather. However, then they would tell how their parents had failed to pass on this same level of faith to them.
Joshua’s grandchildren did not know about the great things the Lord had done in the life of Israel or their grandfather Joshua. If we hope to pass on the Christian faith to the generations to come, we must be very intentional about teaching them the truth and shielding them from the false philosophies of the day.
6. We want to spend all eternity with our children and grandchildren.
If we truly believe that every child will live forever in heaven or hell, we should shudder at the possibility of them not making it to heaven. This life is simply a dot on the never-ending line of eternity. When we fail to teach our children the truth about God, we are setting them up for eternal failure. This thought gets me up every day and drives me to give my best to help one more child come to know Christ and see all of life through a biblical lens.
At Renewanation, we are investing heavily in Christian schools and churches. We want to help churches do a great job of teaching the children in their care, and we want to make weekday biblical worldview education much more accessible. If you share our passion for giving the children in your care a biblical worldview, please contact us at renewanation.org or 1-855-TO-RENEW to better understand how we can come alongside your church or school.
Volume 10 Issue 1 - The Renewanation Review