Three Ways to Model Authentic Faith
There is a song straight out of the 80’s that says, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me…” When it comes to being a parent, there is no truer statement. Your little ones are always watching you. Is it just me, or is that a terrifying thought?! But there is good news…if you are a follower of Christ, you are not alone in this parenting journey!
Because we are always “being watched” we must make sure the way we lead our kids to walk in faith comes from a place of authenticity and reliance on the Lord. Here are three tips to make that happen:
PREPARE YOUR OWN HEART
I know I'm stating the obvious here, but it is so important it is worth stating the obvious. Are you being filled up by the Holy Spirit, daily? Are you setting aside time each day to go to the Lord in prayer and read His word? The Bible is clear that “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” What is in our hearts will come out of our mouth--it's that simple. Without the Spirit pouring into us, the overflow from our hearts will not be pleasant or beneficial for anyone.
Our children can spot hypocrisy from a mile away. I can’t teach the Bible to my children without resting in it myself. I have to remember that I need daily, personal time with God in both listening to Him (through His Word) and speaking with Him (prayer). As a mom, I need Jesus as much as my children do.
I know what some might say: “But I'm a mom. I have no time to myself. It's not possible to find daily time to read my Bible in this season.”
Sister, don’t fall for a lie of the enemy! We have time for the things we prioritize. Go to a friend in Christ that you trust and share this struggle. Ask for her help to guide you and hold you accountable to being in the Word. Look for ways other moms are balancing this struggle, and get tips from them. Don’t fall for the “in this season” lie; there is no better time than now to grow in your relationship with Christ.
ASK FOR FORGIVENESS...OFTEN!
If you are anything at all like me, from the time your feet hit the floor until your head hits the pillow at night, you will struggle with sin. I know my biggest sin struggles come out in front of my family. Use these as teaching moments! If you have wronged your husband in the presence of your children, ask for his forgiveness in front of your children. If you have sinned against your children, go to them and talk to them about your sin nature, your need for a Savior, and your thanksgiving to God for his unending grace. Tell them of your need for Christ every hour of every day. Then, with the Lord’s help, strive to repent and improve in these areas, knowing that when you fail again, His grace is sufficient.
Moms, for your children, there is no greater testimony to the power and grace of the gospel than seeing for themselves His refining work in your life. Authenticity always wins over hypocrisy.
ADDRESS SIBLING CONFLICTS WITH PATIENCE AND GRACE
This one can be difficult to put into practice because it requires extra time, persistence, and patience - but the reward of getting to the heart issue is completely worth it! If you parent more than one child, you know that one of the biggest headaches for parents can be sibling relationships. No matter the issue, know that “saying sorry” is not going to solve the problem. When there is sin that needs to be addressed (a fight with a sibling, disobedience, lying, etc), get to the heart by asking good questions (What happened? Why? What should have happened?) Take the time to ask good questions that address not just the function of the behavior, but the reason behind it. This not only helps your child feel heard and valued, but it also gives them tools that they need to better understand how to respond in the future. You will never regret the fruit that comes from taking the time to dig deeper into your child’s heart.
A life lived in authentic, true faith--that depends on the Lord, confesses sin, and patiently points to the gospel--is the greatest gift and testimony you can give your child. I challenge you to put these three things into practice and watch how it opens the door for gospel transformation in the lives of your children.