We are in a battle.
Our boys are growing older—both in their pre-teen years. Hubby’s and my role as their main influencers is closing. They say children’s characters are mostly formed by the time they are twelve. Twelve! Our oldest is there.
I see him pulling away. I expected it. I knew it was coming. At the same time, I wonder how well we’ve equipped him for handling the lures the world will throw his way. Have we helped him learn how to set his heart upon Jesus? Honestly, some days I feel like I’m losing the battle for their souls.
Both of our boys have “asked Jesus into their hearts.” But I fear that’s where they stopped on their journey of learning to walk with Him. We are working to train them. But life gets busy. Some days the waves toss each of us in different directions on its vast ocean.
Have we taught our boys how to fall in love with Jesus? This I know. If they don’t learn how to make Him first in their lives—first in Who they turn to when their lives get rocky . . .
. . . first in Who they rely on for strength and comfort (let’s face it, the teen years are hard) . . .
. . . the first in Who they turn to when they need answers to the questions their friends toss at them . . .
—how will they survive? How will their fledgling faith not only weather these coming years, but thrive in the midst of them?
I fear we haven’t done enough to equip them. We pray with them. We pray for them. We spend some time doing devotions with them and, (hangs her head here), even less time reading and talking about God’s word with them.
They will come to an age where their faith will—or won’t—become their own. Have we enabled them, encouraged them to choose Jesus over the world?
The world offers so many tangible pleasures. Electronics, movies that entice them to worldly behaviors, appealing music, friends who don’t know or walk with Jesus. So many things for the eyes to enjoy and absorb. So many things that will rub into the men they will become.
Following Jesus is hard sometimes. He calls us to walk a different path. A path that leads away from tangible pleasures and toward real joy. But, how do we help them to choose joy over pleasure?
When their hearts belong to God, and they’re seeking after Him, they can trust where their hearts lead them.
But if their hearts seek after the things the world offers—I fear for what will become of them.
Hubby and I are praying for our guys. Daily. Many times each day.
I’ve begun praying more for the wisdom to help them navigate the pulls of the world. But most of all, I’m praying for their hearts. I can’t control those. God has to quicken our boys’ spirits to want to know Him and walk closely with Him. That’s His job, not mine.
How I am trying to encourage our boys to seek Jesus:
1. Being there when they need to talk. Now, while they still crave cuddle time and talking time with Hubby and me . . . this is our opportunity to be Jesus with skin on. To share His truths with them. To challenge them to follow His ways. Not that they won’t listen as they grow older. But right now, we still share a certain intimacy with them that will change as they grow older.
2. Pray for them. Pray with them. We pray together each morning on the way to school. I pray for them during their days. And my hubby and I beg God for wisdom, discernment, and guidance as we parent them.
3. Be more proactive about spending time in the Word with them. I’ve been weak in this area.
4. Share the things God is teaching me in His word. I can’t force them to read and receive from God’s word. But maybe, if I share what He’s showing me, they’ll listen and engage in conversation.
I know there’s more we should be doing. But I don’t want to make this a list of “Do this. Do that. And your child will walk with God all his days.” This parenting thing is a step-by-step, often walking-blind journey. And the older our boys grow, the more I find myself praying.
What about you? What are you doing to help your children seek a vibrant relationship with Jesus? If your children are grown, what did you do that helped them grow in their relationship with Jesus?