Children naturally piggyback off of our faith for quite some time. Knowing all to well that God has no grandchildren we gently nudge them toward autonomy over the years. Encouraging them to own their own thoughts, values and beliefs as we set them on a journey to find out who they are and who God really is. Our heart’s desire echoing…
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)
Sadly we realize, some will not be found walking in the truth. Perhaps not for a season or not at all. What’s helpful to remember is, as perfect of an example as Jesus was to His twelve disciples- one still rebelled. One with wild Tarzan-like faith…..
The True Vine
In the last of the “I Am” statements in John 15 Jesus calls Himself the “True Vine.” It’s easy to miss the subtlety of those two words. In them we realize there is a choice. Let’s face it…
Jesus is just One Vine in the midst of a thick tangled forest of enticing wild vines that seek to lure children away from the Truth.
These are vines that from all outward appearance seem strong, dependable and trustworthy, not to mention fun! Promising to deliver them from one place to another safely. To bring them somewhere in life… to make them Somebody. They vie for our children’s hearts, not making them choose one but ALL if they want!
This is the very real temptation of Tarzan-like faith
Let them See Your Bruises
Have you been there? Do you remember the confusion? The lies? The painful thud and taste of dirt as you crashed to the ground having leapt aimlessly from one failing, misleading vine to the other?
If you came to Christ later in life, don’t miss the opportunity to use your story to help your children navigate life. Don’t be afraid to tell them age appropriate details of the times that you naively suspended your life by trusting in counterfeit gods, swung on the false hopes and pretenses of others, were fooled by satan’s empty promises, or maybe even deceived by a false religion. The times you trusted in performance, works, co-dependent relationships, or substance-abuse. The vines you clung to for value, worth, or salvation. Whatever you put all your hope and energy into, only to come collapsing down.
We’ve all played around and sat upon these vines like swings. Maybe even frantically jumped from one seemingly reliable vine after the other, only to find out Tarzan-like faith leaves us bloody, broken and bruised.
Tell them. Show them. Like Thomas they need to see your scars.
Through our explorations we become the expert, licensed and uniquely equipped to guide our children. Like a ropes course instructor to life, able to point out how to bypass all the counterfeit vines and train them in the way they should go. (Prov. 22:6)
Repeatedly showing them Jesus is the ONLY ONE that satisfies. The only one that is all True. The only one we can fully depend on. We humbly abide in Christ fully satisfied in Him. Show them HOW to walk in truth, and how to stumble and rebound in Grace.
Until we ourselves finally rest in the One True Vine we will always struggle to point it out to our children.
To clarify, we aren’t seeking to create fear in our children by placing them in spiritual safety bubbles. We are building trust and intimacy with them. And there is certainly no guarantee that they will not choose the same vines we did. Think of how many times in the Old Testament the son repeats the same exact sin of the father.
Some children must see for themselves, experience the impact of their decisions from their own perspective. As parents and trainers we must be willing to let that happen knowing God holds the ultimate safety lines on their lives. We can’t be there to catch their every fall but God can. Our prayer then becomes that out of their exploration they learn to identify the True Vine and use their Tarzan-like faith to instruct the next generation.
They say, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, because now we have heard him ourselves, and we know that he really is the Savior of the world!” John 4:42
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