It seems there is a push in the western world to let our kids find their own way. The general consensus in culture today says it's bad enough that you are religious, but don't you dare burden your kids with that nonsense! What is truly disturbing is that many Christians have bought into all of this!
While you may think that you are doing your children a service by "allowing" them to find their own way, I do not think you understand the consequences of such actions. To put it simply, leaving Christ out of your children's upbringing leaves them with an empty space inside. This is the space that God designed to be filled by Him--He gave us an unquenchable desire to fill this vacuum. However, if we do not teach our children that God's Holy Spirit is what truly fills this space, our children will be very quick to try filling it with things from the world around them. Without Christ this space cannot ever be truly filled, but without Christ they will continually seek to fill it.
The Bible has a lot to say about teaching our children about God and His ways (Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, Psalm 78:3-8, Deuteronomy 6:7). However, today I would like to highlight the story of a woman named Hannah in 1 Samuel 1.
If we do not teach our children that God's Holy Spirit is what truly fills this space they will be very quick to try filling it with things from the world around them.
Hannah was barren (meaning she was unable to have children), but she desired a child with all her heart. She sought and sought after God in prayer until one day she made a promise saying, "O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head" (1 Samuel 1:10-11 ESV). Right here this woman determined that she would determine the direction of her son's life with God, and God honoured it! Hannah became pregnant with a boy named Samuel, and after he was weaned she took him to the Temple and said to Eli, the Priest: "Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:26-28).
Does this sound like leaving your child to find religion on his or her own? No! And that is not God's plan. If we truly want what is best for our children we will seek to teach them who God is. When we, as believers in Christ Jesus, have a child we stand before one another and dedicate her to God--to some extent following Hannah's example.
Do you think that we still won't have much of an effect on our children's faith, even if we do give them to God 100%? Look at the end of verse 28: "And he worshipped the LORD there." Samuel not only followed God, but became one of the most well-known prophets of God. Teach your children who God is and help them form a true relationship with Him. You'll be saving them heartache, and giving them the gift of eternity in heaven with God.
--Pastor Stephen Valcourt