Don’t Be That Parent Part 1: The Salesman

One of the most exciting seasons for a spiritual parent is when our kids start talking about following Jesus.  It’s one thing to impress our faith upon our kids, but it’s a whole new ballgame when they discover a faith that’s all their own.

For those of us who love God, this is the best thing we can imagine.  Not only do we want to see our kids in heaven but we want them to enjoy life with God here and now.

But sometimes, the fact that we take our kids’ salvation so seriously is the very thing that can trip us up.  We can lose perspective and forget that, though we play a key role in our children’s faith, it’s ultimately a decision that’s between them and God.

When it comes to helping our kids navigate the decision to follow Jesus, it’s easy to fall into one of three extremes.  In this post, we’ll tackle the first one.

Parent #1 – The Salesman

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Salespeople work on commission.  If they don’t close the deal, they don’t make money. Sometimes we can treat our children’s faith the same way.  We don’t feel like we win as a spiritual parent unless we close the deal.

In our eagerness to see our kids saved, it’s tempting to push a decision on them even if they’re not ready to cross the line of faith.  We may feel pressure when they turn a certain age or if we see our friends’ children getting baptized.  But it’s in these moments we have to remember three things:

1. Every child is unique.  There is no magic age to follow Jesus.  Every child processes the world, including matters of faith, differently.  Your child has to take this decision at their own speed.

2. This is not a reflection of our parenting.  We’re not good parents if our kids become Christians earlier and bad parents if they don’t.

3. This is God’s deal.  Our job is show our kids what it looks like to follow Jesus, pray for them and teach and encourage them along the way.  But it’s only God who saves.  He is doing a mysterious work in each child’s heart as he lovingly draws them into relationship with himself.

So the good news is the pressure is off.  You don’t have to sell your kids anything.  Just live your faith in front of them.  Relax.  Pray.  Listen well.  Then, ultimately, when the time is right, the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

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