Parental Integrity

2:36 pm home, parenting

How do you, as a parent, pass on your faith to the next generation? One of the reasons that the Lord’s church is not growing as fast as it once did, is the loss of our own children either to the world or to false religion.  Is there anything that can be done to change this?  Where would we begin?
Christian Smith and Melinda Denton, on the basis of their groundbreaking National Study of Youth and Religion data, say, “Contrary to misguided cultural stereotypes and frequent parental misconceptions, we believe that the evidence clearly shows that the single most important social influence on the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents is their parents” (Vern Bengtson, Familes and Faith, p. 7).
Parents have the responsibility to nurture the souls of their children for eternity with God in heavenly places.  Abraham is a good example.  God trusted Abraham in the parenting task. “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Gen. 18:19).  God knew that Abraham would command (lead, teach, train) his children to love, fear and follow God.  God knew Abraham would lead his family to do justice and judgment (what is right in the sight of God).
Parents must examine themselves.  Below are three questions to get started:
First, What do you know about God and His truth?  Your knowledge of God is the content of what you will teach your children about God.  If your knowledge is insufficient, what will you tell your children about God?
Second, What do you believe about God and the truth?  Knowledge and belief are not the same thing.  However, faith is based upon knowledge of God’s Word (Rom. 10:17).  My faith is my own acceptance of what God Himself has revealed in His Word.
Third, What is your character?  Does your character match God’s truth?  This is the beginning of integrity.  Integrity involves the integration of my faith (which comes from God’s Word) into every aspect of my life.
The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy.  If I, as a parent, do not practice what I know to be right, I will fail as a parent in guiding my children in the pathway of righteousness.
When we ask, “how do we pass our faith on to the next generation?”, we must also ask, “what type of faith do I have now?”
Is my faith weak or strong?  Is it authentic or fake?  Is it little or great?
Parental integrity demands that I embrace all of God’s will for my life and not just pick and choose what I think is appropriate.
Parental integrity demands that parents who know the truth apply it in the discipline of their children.  Parents who know the truth and then permit their own children to disobey it will fail.
Parental integrity demands that when we teach our children that God comes first, then, when conflicts arise with worldly activities, we say no to those activities and demonstrate that love for God is supreme.
Hypocrisy will defeat the very goal of parenting:  to nurture the souls of our children in the paths of righteousness so that they will come to know God and love Him and desire to be with Him forever.
The parenting task is a soul-winning task.  Parents must be converted to Christ and committed and consecrated to Him before they can be successful in leading their children to God.

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