Friday, 11 March 2016

The Knowledge of God - Imparting Faith to our Children - updated





Some Thoughts and Ideas

'By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months...for they were not afraid of the King's edict.'
Hebrews 11

Whenever I read the story of Moses and his parents' faith I'm inspired by their actions and by the influence they had on their son over a brief time span that enabled him to later live surrounded by idolatry without compromising his faith, but I also wonder why no other mother or father (that we know of) trusted the Lord and took action to deliver their sons from death.
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt and had a slave mentality. Sometimes we can pick up a slave mentality as a consequence of living in a faithless environment but it is impossible to please God without faith and we have to fight against unbelief and the prevailing culture of child raising when it comes to bringing up our own children.

'We have made the Word of Truth conform to our experience and accepted this low plane as the very pasture of the blessed.'

'Faith is not in itself a meritorious act; the merit is in the one toward whom it is directed. Faith is a redirecting of our sight, a getting out of the focus of our own vision and getting God into focus.' (A.W. Tozer)



'It is as the mother gets wisdom liberally from above, that she will be enabled for this divine task.' (Charlotte Mason)


I always asked God for wisdom and then doubted that I had any. If you ask for wisdom, you need to believe He will give it and that He will help you to discern what is best and make wise choices regarding your children's influences, activities and direction. (James 1:5, Philippians 1:10)

'...the keys even of this innermost chamber are placed in the hands of parents, and it is a great deal in their power to enthroned the King...' 
 (Charlotte Mason)

There are many keys that can help unlock a child's heart and mind. The Divine Spirit can communicate with them through the avenues of their minds, their wills and their emotion, and for each family it will look different.
Some of the keys for us have been:

  • Scripture - Implanting a love of God's Word - our children see that the Word of God is the foundation and the common 'rule of life' in the home that applies to everyone in it.

  • Principles - we teach our children principles of behaviour as they mature rather than give them rules. My upbringing started with rules at an early age (and little children need rules) but as I got older the rules didn't get replaced with principles; my parents just let go completely and I was left to form my own principles with the result that I was never really sure how I should act in certain situations.

'I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.' 
3 John 1:4

  • Humility - being willing to admit that we were wrong about something or asking forgiveness when we've lost it or over-reacted. If our children see the process of sanctification in our lives it encourages them and gives them a sense of security that we are being led by the Spirit of God and not our own whims.

  • Teaching our children to serve - this is so important because serving is close to the heart of God - Jesus took the very nature of a servant (Philippians 2:7). In a large family everyone needs to pull their weight or chaos results and we notice very quickly if someone has neglected their responsibilities.

  • Grace - we encourage excellence and doing everything to the best of their ability but allow grace to cover their mistakes.

  • Faithfulness - little things matter and we've made an effort to teach them that faithfulness in the small things, things hidden from the general view, is important because it really is a heart issue.


Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for thee.

(George Herbert)

  • Honouring God - It's pretty basic: If we honour Him, He will honour us. We've told the children our stories of His faithfulness in our lives, His provision and blessings. Praying about decisions we need to make or for God's guidance shows them that we honour Him and want Him to direct our paths. Good books can inspire our children to honour the Lord as they read about others who honoured Him in their lives: missionaries, godly leaders and heroes of the faith.

  • Teaching them to be worshippers - If children know from an early age that He has formed us for himself and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Him, and we model this ourselves, they will understand that nothing else will satisfy them or fill the space that only the living God can fill.

'The very essence of Christianity is personal loyalty, passionate loyalty to our adorable Chief.' 
(Charlotte Mason)

  • Prayer - we pray for our children and with our children. We pray for others with them and then believe that God will answer our prayers.We pray over them when they are sick. We pray when they need to make choices.We've prayed regularly for each of them, from an early age, that God would set apart a godly spouse for each of them and bring them together at the right time. We've prayed for each of them that they would come to know Jesus at an early age and walk with Him all the days of their lives.We try to prayerfully choose what they should be involved in so we're not reacting to outside pressure that says if you don't do this, that, or the next thing your children will be deprived. 


'Child raising is not a competitive sport and it's not project management.
 It's about bringing some balance back into the home because it seems that this virus of hurry has infected our approach to childhood.' 
 (Carl Honore)


  • A ministry - our children are our ministry and mission field, our primary responsibility. Our children.....

 '...are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody...a result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God...'   
2 Corinthians 3:2-3   


I first published this post three years ago and we've had a lot of changes in our family since then. Two children married, and the eldest five have graduated after being taught at home for their school years.
I still agree with what I've written above but I need to add that there is no such thing as a list where you tick a box and that guarantees you'll see all your children home and hosed.
The idea that if we can control what comes into our children's lives (which I sort of believed for awhile) we can avoid any trouble and that they will all turn out virtuous is a subtle deception. Yes, children need to be shielded from certain things but how do you shield them from what is within?
I now approach parenting as I did when I said those very scary marriage vows 28 years ago: 

'I do all this calling on the Grace of God!'

3 comments:

  1. These are wonderful tips for helping to bring our children to faith. But I agree, there's no list we can check off to control what happens to our children as they reach adulthood.

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  2. I love this, Carol. Many of these things, I'm seeing fruit grow from and through the beautiful, living books! Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. It's encouraging when you do begin to see fruit. All the hard work in the early years was not in vain!

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