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  • Kelli Rae Wilson

If our kids walk away from God



The most treasured prayer from any Christian parent would be that their children walk with the Lord... for all the days of their life.

There is a big misconception that if Christian parents' kids walked away from God- than the parents didn't show Christ enough in the home. This is a lie. This is a painful thought and a heavy, false burden that parents do not need to carry.

Do we as parents have deep influences over our children?- most certainly (Deuteronomy 6). Also, spend some time reading about Eli, who had sons like satan, yet he raised Samuel to be Godly. Eli was a priest and his sons may not have been parented well but even as adults they chose to disgrace God and Eli (1 Samuel). Our children have to make their own relationship with Christ, we cannot do that for them. Eli's sons died.

One of my biggest fears as a Christian parent is that my children will try and piggy-back my faith as their own. In some religions, in the Christian faith, we even see this being the cornerstone of teaching. You see religion being passed down by family inheritance, but that is not how a person receives salvation. Parents cannot give or make their children have faith. We are all born sinful and we all have to make a choice to be redeemed and to need a Redeemer.

Two weeks ago, I was driving with my oldest sons and was explaining to them the lyrics to a song titled "What do I know of Holy" by Addison Road...I have to say, these are some of the most beautiful lyrics I have ever heard from a very old song (see below). There is a sentence where she is speaking to God and states:

"I guess I thought that I had figured You out,

I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about

How You were mighty to save

Those were only empty words on a page

Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be

The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees"

I was explaining to my boys how she was singing about how she grew up knowing God's Word and the stories on the pages. She even knew the lyrics to "mighty to save". She grew up going through all the motions, but never got a glimpse of HIS holiness. When she did, it brought her down to her knees.

It urged me to ask my sons if they think they would get tired of learning about God, their Savior, and if they could ever imagine leaving their faith one day?

One son responded, "No, how could I leave someone who did so much for me?" "He died for me and he loves me so much!"

My response was -"Wow, that’s really amazing you can see how much the Lord loves you, I thought you were going to say- “no, I wouldn't leave the faith because I don't want to go to hell"....

The second son responded- "that was going to be my answer actually".

I proceeded to ask them, "since I am a Christian mother, is this enough for you to know God personally and go to heaven?" One responded, no and the other responded, yesAs you can see, part of the devil’s lies is making our kids think we can just do this "faith-stuff" for them.

In researching, these were the main variables that influenced children in their faith:

1). Reminding children early on that they are sinners and need a savior. Sitting in a pew each Sunday will not save them. When they recognize they are sinners and will be a sinner the rest of their life, they will comprehended the need to have a Savior personally no matter what age.

2). Making God’s Word a priority in their life. How do children grow to love a parent? They see the dedication and develop a trust and honor for the one who is there for them- unconditionally. Making our children read the Bible reveals to them the vast love of God and even fear of God. Once someone understands that love from God, with the Holy Spirit living inside them, it would be painful to walk away from that. It would be as painful as rejecting a loving parent.

3). Don’t send your children out unarmed. I believe Deuteronomy 6 is a clear vision of how we are to train our children. Yet, so often we hand our children over to the secular world to train them all day long- in and out. God knew the world would become increasingly evil. Equipping our children with the Biblical tools is what helps them not let the world seem smarter than their God. A study showed, by the Washington Post, that children who are sent to church activities and religious ed programs without their parent’s involvement, almost never stay tied to the church or religion. The kids whose parents were involved- 80% of their kids were influenced and stayed in the religion.

4). Starts with us. The number one thing that influences children's faith the most is the parents. It is not enough that we go to church and say we love God. We have to be doing God’s Work. We have to be an example of it. The priority has to start with us. They will never know how to do God's work without knowing His word first, or seeing us be the example of the Word. We have to be living out the things God’s Word says to do!! Sitting in a church is not even a Biblical command to having Salvation or entering the Kingdom of of heaven. If our priorities are worldly things like business, baseball, and dance and if our children never see us put the worldly things second to going to things like church camp, attend a Bible Study, doing mission work, meeting with someone to speak the Gospel, …then.....our kids will never see the priority or precedence that Christ has in our lives. Quite frankly, God doesn’t have that priority in your life then.

5) Sexual sin. In researching and reading, sexual sin in the teen and young adult years ended up being an influential reason why teens and young adults feel pressure to leave their faith. We know sin separates us from God. That is why we need a Savior. When we continue to live in sin, we choose to cling to that sin that puts a wedge between us and a Holy God. There are many sins that can do this damage. *I believe sexual sin is so prevalent in these younger years because of the urge to not only be loved and accepted, but to seek attention, and have self gratification. Between the emotions, hormones, and testosterone in this age, you also have human beings trying to be independent and live without the holiness of God. The world and social media just YELLS and SCREAMS to be sexual or else you are nothing in the worlds eyes. Being stuck in sexual sin as teenagers and young adults has a huge impact on their relationship with Christ and them keeping their faith into adulthood.

Sadly, we cannot make our children go into adulthood as Christ followers. They must make their own choice. It cannot be a choice we as parents make because Roman’s tells us we have all fallen short. All of us parents have fallen short so we need a Savior and our kids need one as well. We need to explain this to our kids too: That we as parents have fallen short. They must never think they can use our faith to save them.

And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.… Roman’s 3:22-24

Over half of all Christian parents will experience a child leaving their faith. Some studies have said up to 90% will experience this heartache. The stats were based on age and how strong the parents affiliation was within the church. Here are some additional heartbreaking facts:

Study Findings: 70% will leave the faith in college. Only 35% eventually return to their faith.

Book Findings: 90% of youth active in high school church programs drop out of church by the time they are sophomores on college.

Book Findings: Nearly three out of every five young Christians disconnect from their churches after the age of 15.

*70-75% of Christian youth leave the church after high school (see survey data Barna and USA Today).

So how should we pray for our little children or even adult lost children?

A Bible teacher once asked our class, would you pray that no matter what happens, no matter what it would take, you give your "unsaved" family member over to the Lord? Do you pray that whatever it be, Lord-- even if it's suffering on their behalf or my behalf just let your will be done? Would you pray that even if it took a painstaking humbling or a loss, would you still pray, Lord, whatever it takes, help my family member come to know you, Lord? I'll never forget what this teacher said, “that should be the prayer and if you pray this way toward God and start giving-up your boundaries— then get ready .. because God can do the unthinkable in the lives of the lost. But, sometimes it's at the mercy of this life's comforts. Sometimes it even breaks our hearts- or the ones who we are praying for.”

As the song lyrics mentioned above. We want our children to get a glimpse of His Holiness. We want it to bring them down to their knees. A gracious humbled love for a mighty Savior.

When I speak at different events about children or obedience or mothering, you will often hear me talk about the 'eternal victory' that we should long for in our children. The eternal victory is knowing our children will be in eternity one day with the God who loves them even more than us. It is emphasizing this to them all throughout their life. This life will pass away soon and our prayers need to be ongoing for spiritual protection over our children’s relationship with Christ. In fact, even in our Bible studies and prayer meetings you will often hear my prayer for our children be one that gives or asks for our children to directly be put into the hands of God, this is a praying heart like Hannah. It is a humbling prayer that goes something like this:

"Lord, do whatever it takes to keep our children walking in your ways. May it be blessing or be hardship, sickness, pain, or a trial. May it be success or fame or even homelessness. Do what you need to, Lord, to keep our children HUMBLED in loving you. Lord, help us as parent to lead them to you and reflect your love. Amen.”

Some amazing men in the Bible did amazing things to influence, pray, and instruct their children.

King David told his son Solomon- "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. [1 Chronicles 28:9]

Not only did King David say these things but David explained to his son how his vision and dreams of building the temple for God, were not going to be put into fruition by David himself. God wasn’t going to allow David to build this because he was a warrior and had too much blood on his hands. God wanted his son, Solomon, as a man of peace to finish this temple. That might have felt as if David failed. He had already worked so hard on this project's materials and plans. David was a great warrior and it may seem like he was punished by God. David obeyed God and passed the duty of building the temple onto Solomon and David praised God even when his plans didn't precail. Like David, we have joy as a parent in showing our children God has other plans for us- even when we are obedient to Him. David goes onto to tell Solomon to love the God of your Father. He doesn’t just say listen to me your father, but instead, he says: "acknowledged whole heartedly and serve the God of your father."

Job (1) is an intro to describing a man with upright Character. Job was a perfect blameless man {who still had sin by-the-way}. In Job 1:5, it says Job did this for his children -"Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all (all his kids). For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. This Job did continually.” One of the character descriptions that was important in showing that Job was an up-right man, was how he prayed over his children. He even made sacrifices for their sins. Today we no longer have to conduct burnt offerings or sacrifices to the Lord because Jesus sacrificed his life for us. But, we can be like Job and pray to the Lord for our children. Jesus was the one paid offering in our lives. We pray continually for Him to show favor to our children in keeping the Holy Spirit in our lives and their lives.

Christ's Sacrifice for the Ungodly

“…It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Roman’s 5:7-8

A wonderful article (I cried) on a mother’s advice:

http://www.lifeway.com/Article/parenting-family-relating-to-your-unsaved-grown-children

Here is an article for the parent looking for advice with younger children:

http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/parenting/foundations/spiritual-development/why-do-so-many-kids-leave-the-church

“{You can have hope that your children will return from the land of the enemy. God has not forgotten your child. God’s plans for your children are not annulled because your child is in a wayward state: “For your work shall be rewarded ... and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come back to their own border”}”

(Jeremiah. 31:16-17). - Mary Hudson

WHAT DO I KNOW OF HOLY:

`addison road`

https://youtu.be/N6J5TzSE_18