I know the curriculum taught at school and the influence of our culture will undermine my children’s beliefs if they don’t have the right tools. As they face the world, one “tool” that will help them stand strong is understanding what they believe spiritually. I can’t send them to school with only my values in their backpacks…they need to have their own.
Do you know what you believe? Could you explain it to someone else? These are big questions even for adults. Why is it important that we fully grasp what we believe and how do we pass that on to our kids?
To Give an Answer for the Hope that You Have
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16
What is the “hope that we have”? It is the foundation of our faith. Our hope is that, although we are sinners and do not deserve the grace we receive because Jesus died for us, we have hope in heaven! We have been redeemed! …paid for!…washed clean! That’s something to get excited about. That has to be at the front and center of our hearts and a treasured jewel we pass down to our children.
If we have a solid grasp of that core belief, we can share it with others.
To Stand Strong and Not Be Ashamed
I have been reading Acts in depth lately and our children’s church curriculum is talking about Paul as well. I never really realized what a strong man he was. He stood his ground. He boldly spoke the truth. He did not stay quiet and mind his own business and neither did the other apostles.
“And [Paul] entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.” Acts 19:8 NASB
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16 NASB
Knowing what we believe will give us the strength and courage to stand strong.
To Refute Those That Try to Derail
Atheists are evangelizing. Their “theories” are taught as truth, but actually require more faith than it takes to believe in God. There is plenty of reasonable discussion out there on how history, nature, and the Bible align in truth. Our kids need to know as much as they can about why the Bible is true, why Jesus is the Savior, and how God designed creation, so they can refute anyone that questions their beliefs.
I happen to live with a resident “apologist”. My husband wouldn’t call himself that, as he hasn’t had formal training, but he has been absorbing information from books and podcasts like a sponge. He has thoroughly researched answers to atheist arguments, so he knows how to respond.
The definition of apologist is “a person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc.” Can we send our children to school as Christian apologists, ready to make a defense for their beliefs? Of course, but it doesn’t happen by accident.
By Knowing What You Believe
Do you know what you believe? If you grew up in a Christian home, do you remember when you really believed what your parents believed for yourself…and not just because you went to church with your family? If you didn’t grow up in a Christian home, do you remember what it was that changed your heart when you choose to believe in the saving grace of Christ?
Think about it, put your beliefs into words. Write it down if that would help.
By Getting Answers to Your Questions
Even Christians that have believed for most of their lives have questions for God. Look at David. The Psalms are full of his questions for God. God is big enough to handle those questions. Ask them and seek the answers. Talk to respected Christian friends and mentors. Research worthy sites and books. There are a great many intellectual resources out there. In the future I will share some of my husband’s favorites.
As you learn, share that with your kids and get them excited. Help your kids find the answers they seek as well.
By Purposely Bringing It Up with Your Kids
Pay attention to what your children are learning in school and from their friends. Seek opportunities to pour your Christian world view into their hearts, enough to flood out anything the culture is pouring on them.
I watch my husband share what he’s learning with my middle schooler. He sets her on guard for things to watch out for in class, gets her excited about the wonder of God’s creation, and gives her ground on which to stand if she should need to make a stand for her beliefs. I don’t know if she fully believes it all for herself yet, but she has many opportunities to gain understanding.
Please feel free to use the comments for this blog post as a place to log your questions about the Christian faith, history, and science in the comments. I will forward these on to my husband and have him research and give answers or resources to help you, in a way you can relay to your children.