3 John 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
I can clearly remember the day, July 31st, 2002, when our first child, Spencer James Linder, was born. It was a joyous occasion and one of the best days of my life. I can also remember the dates of April 21, 2004, October 22, 2007, and March 11, 2010 when Faith, Seth, and Shane were born.
Having four children has been one of the greatest joys of my life, and if the Lord had allowed us to, I’d have loved to have even more (my wife might think differently).
As a family, we’ve got some good traditions, great memories, and important dates that we’ve shared. But there are four dates that are the most important we have ever or will ever have. Two of them are already in the past and two of them are yet to happen in the future.
The four most important dates in our family are the dates in which our children were or will be saved by entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Spencer, our oldest, was saved at VBS in Peoria, IL, on June 22, 2010. I can remember the day clearly, as I had the privilege of personally leading him to Christ.
Faith, our only girl, was saved in J12 (Jr. Church) just a few months ago on May 18, 2014. Her mom got the honor of leading her to the Lord.
Our two youngest, Seth and Shane, are both on the right path to gaining a proper understanding of salvation. We talk about it regularly and mom and dad pray about it often.
A Priceless Value
It wouldn’t matter what you could give or any amount of money you could offer me, Absolutely Nothing could take the place of or match the value of those four moments in our family’s life. My life’s number one goal ought to be leading my children into a saving faith in Christ, because one hundred years from now, nothing else about our family will matter.
The primary faith influencers in the life of any child are their dad and mom. God has given parents the role and responsibility of being the main spiritual leaders in their children’s lives, which ultimately means they are responsible for leading their children towards a personal relationship with Christ.
“Good” kids don’t go to Heaven. “Christian” kids who come from Godly homes don’t go to Heaven. (I was an unsaved pastor’s kid for the first 12 years of my life). “Saved” kids go to Heaven. A parent’s love must be strong enough to devote their life to the purpose of leading their children toward a saving faith in Christ.
- “A parent who claims to be saved but does not manifest any concern to see his children saved is no more saved than a stone.” Dr. Robert A. Morey
It doesn’t matter what kind of a life I provide for my family, what kind of memories we make, or how successful we look as a family in the eyes of those around us – if I fail at bringing my children to Christ, I have miserably failed, both now in this life, and especially for eternity.
I want the memories my family has together in this life to just be the beginning of all that we get to share together for all of eternity in Heaven. There is so much joy that awaits us on that side of eternity, that it makes the joy of home and family here pail in comparison.
So, what is a parent to do to help guide their children towards entering into a relationship with Jesus through salvation?
1. Pray regularly for the day of your child’s salvation.
From the day our children were born, we began praying for the day they would be saved. And not only did we pray for that day to come, we prayed that when it did come, it would be real, sincere, and genuine.
It’s not the day that saves them, it’s not even the decision that saves them; it’s their repentance of sin and faith in Christ that saves their soul.
Don’t teach your children that salvation is simply praying a prayer, because that often results in false professions. Allow the Holy Spirit to draw them through the conviction of sin and bring them to a point of genuine repentance. The date means nothing if it’s just a day they said a prayer, and not a day their life was changed by Jesus.
2. Talk to your kids regularly about how to be saved and what it means to enter into a relationship with Christ.
Talk about the subject around the dinner table, during family devotions, and in the routine of everyday life. Make sure they understand how much God loves them and what He did to save them.
Also, don’t be afraid to share your personal testimony of how the Lord saved you from sin. If they are learning about it in church and hearing you talk about it regularly, at some point, they are going to start having questions, and that’s when you know that God is beginning a work.
3. Be patient and allow them to come to Christ, just as someone allowed you to come to Christ.
Just because a child seems to understand the concept of salvation doesn’t always mean they are ready to make the decision to be saved. Conviction must accompany their understanding, and when it does, true repentance will follow.
Your ultimate desire as a parent should be that your child is led to salvation not by mom or dad or the pastor, but by the Holy Spirit. If you’re walking in the Spirit, you’ll know when that time comes.
- John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.
I wouldn’t trade those four most important dates in our family for the world any more than I would trade our children themselves. Those dates, because of the children’s souls they represent, are precious and special and eternal – dates in which their names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
It doesn’t matter if we raise children who have great morals, exemplify impeccable character, or even use their God-given talents and abilities to make a difference in the world, if we don’t raise them to come to know Christ personally – NOTHING else matters.
Whatever important dates you’ve got scheduled on the calendar for your family, make sure none of them take priority over the most important dates your family will ever have. Just as you were responsible for their first physical birthday, God is counting on you to lead them to their 2nd spiritual birthday as well – one that they will celebrate forever!
Eternity will thank you for it.