It is not easy being a Christian — it requires supernatural courage and strength; it is not a choice for the faint of heart. Christians must have thick skin and soft hearts. They must have inner strength coupled with meekness. They must live counter to the culture and stand firm as they contend for the Word of God.
This is why we teach our children about God. Children need to know God — his attributes and his character. They need to know that God is trustworthy and that he will never leave them. This is the only wayour children will be able to stand firm in a culture that rejects God.
Our grandson, Matthew, just graduated from a Christian pre-school and as part of the graduation ceremony, the children sang wonderful songs to God and about God. Did they understand all the words? Probably not. Nevertheless, they learned words of truth and sang them, “You are our living hope!”
Without hope, there is no courage or strength; hopelessness is the breeding ground for fear and weakness. God’s Word tells us that we must tell our children about his glorious deeds, his power and his mighty wonders so that they will set their hope on him. God is the source of all our hope.
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders… He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them—even the children not yet born—and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors—stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.” Psalm 78:1-8 NLT
However, there are those who say that teaching children about God is forcing religion upon them… it is indoctrinating them… even brainwashing. Is it?
Teaching our children about God does not make them Christians. We teach them that God has a plan and a purpose for the world, however they must decide on their own whether or not to accept God’s Word as true.
No Christian has ever been brainwashed into faith. Quite the opposite, becoming a Christian is a choice one makes after weighing the facts about God. No one is a Christian by default or by accident. Christianity is a faith that is chosen or rejected by each person individually.
I would argue that refraining from teaching our children about God is not an exercise of enlightened thinking; it is an exercise of cowardice and fear. Fear that our understanding of God is insufficient. Fear of taking a stand for what we know in our heart of hearts is true. Fear of being different. Fear
However, without a God in which to place their hope aren’t we putting our children in exactly the position we fear most – one of powerlessness. Unless of course we believe the strength which lies within them is sufficient to sustain them in any and all circumstances. Is it? I don’t think so.
Do we really want to send our children out in the world as kindergarteners, grade- or high-schoolers, even college students without knowledge of, and trust in, Almighty God? Do we want to send them out into the world without his Holy Spirit within them, guiding, teaching, comforting and counseling them?
If we think we are putting our children in a safe place — an offense-free environment — by not teaching them about God, we are mistaken. We are putting them on the edge of a spiritual abyss and hoping that no one pushes them off.
We are spiritual beings. We want more out of life than the places our emotions take us. We want eternity. We want purpose. We want hope. We want God.
Some people say that we should teach our children about every religion and let them choose which one they prefer when they become adults. Really? I would suggest that is simply another excuse to keep from teaching them about the One True God.
If we believe there is One True God, why would we entertain the idea of teaching our children about false gods? Worse yet, why teach them that the Christian God is one of a myriad of faith options? Isn’t that equivalent to telling them chocolate is a vegetable option?
Children know that the adults in their lives teach them what is important. When we fail to teach our children about God, we succeed in teaching them that he is not important and we remove their source of strength, courage and success… of hope.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9 NLT
Are you teaching the children in your sphere of influence about God, his character and attributes? Do you remind them regularly of God’s majesty and might? Will you help these little ones set their hope in God, by teaching them who God is according to his own Word?