How old are your kids? No matter how young they are, I would imagine you can already see signs of their growing independence. In what will seem like a manner of minutes, your children will probably move out of your home to begin their adult lives. You won’t have the ability to point them towards God throughout the day in your home. Your kids will need to know how to keep themselves healthy spiritually. If not, their faith will quickly wither and die.
Many of the things that help us grow and mature spiritually are things your kids can make habits in their lives. Just like eating healthy foods and exercising can keep their bodies as healthy as they can be, there are habits that will help your children stay strong spiritually. Doing these things regularly will give God opportunities to work on their hearts, while also letting them know what God wants from them and for them in life. They will help strengthen your children’s faith, so they will be prepared when the inevitable storms of life arise.
So what habits can you help your child establish so they can continue growing and maturing spiritually throughout their lives? There are probably quite a few, but here are four I believe are essential for spiritual health and growth:
- Daily Bible study. The idea of daily Bible reading has gone in and out of popularity over the years. The older I get though, the more I realize Christians must be in God’s Word daily, if they really want to be mighty men and women of God. You need to do whatever you can to help your children understand Bible reading should be like air to them – they can’t survive without listening to God daily through His Words. If they don’t read the Bible regularly, their ideas of what God wants for them and from them will be susceptible to being adapted to popular culture’s idea of what God wants or even that of false teachers. They will sin out of ignorance to God’s laws. They will struggle with life’s challenges because they don’t know God’s promises or know how to use His wisdom and guidance for help. Think of the Bible as the life manual your children must know to have the life God wants them to have. An unopened manual is useless (as many who refuse to read assembly instructions learn the hard way). Even one that has been opened in the past is easily forgotten if not reviewed regularly. The manual, in this case the Bible, must be regularly read and reviewed to be helpful.
- Prayer. Help your children learn and appreciate the power of unceasing prayer. God can absolutely read their hearts and minds, but He wants to hear from them. Merely having mealtime and bedtime prayers will not necessarily establish the habit of praying about anything and everything at any time to God. To have the relationship God wants with them, they need to communicate with him multiple times each day.
- Fellowship. We are at a place in popular culture where relationships are only of value when they are easy and fun. Social media gives the false impression that relationships which require work should be dumped. This causes many to reject the Church with it’s inevitably flawed members as too much trouble. Yet God created the Church not just for worshipping Him. He created it to give Christians a family and a community. A place where they could be supported when times are tough and encouraged to grow and mature spiritually. Help your children understand that while certain congregations will more closely resemble the way God designed them to be, all will have flawed people as members and leaders. Teach them how to fight to eradicate what is sinful from their church and embrace what God wanted it to be. Rejecting the idea of belonging to a congregation entirely is rejecting a gift from God – one He knows they need to open to grow and mature. (For older teens, help them understand that at times the struggles in congregations are in themselves ways of strengthening the faith and spiritual maturity of those who are working to correct them.)
- Service and faith sharing. Teach your children these go together – even while serving Christians. Help them make a habit of doing good works so others will see God and then sharing their faith with them. While on the surface serving and faith sharing are about others, most Christians will tell you when they serve and share their faith, they often believe they have grown spiritually themselves. Watching God use them and seeing Him work, will help keep your children’s faith strong and growing.
Of course, having these habits without a heart turned towards God won’t save your children. Hopefully though, establishing these habits while their young hearts are still yearning for God, will help your children continue to grow and mature spiritually for the rest of their lives. (If you need tips and ideas for the best ways to incorporate these habits in the lives of your children, go to our Parenting Like Hannah website and search for past posts under each topic.)