Friday, March 29, 2013
When I talk to friends who have abandoned the faith, I hear little in their stories about the typical catalysts of rebellion: abuse and neglect and hypocrisy and unfaithfulness. Mostly I hear: “It wasn’t anything anyone did. It was simply my own desire to run away.”
The Scriptures reminds us that natural man is completely depraved with a natural bent away from God. Only the work of regeneration gives us the ability and desire to please Him. Even kids who grow up in the church. Even kids raised on a steady diet of Scripture. Even kids who were taught right theology.
We might realize that every child has a different spiritual growth track, that discipleship is, to quote John Ortberg, “hand-crafted, not mass-produced.” We might allow for honest questions and seasons of doubt during the critical years of adolescence. We might not assume that our children will automatically know and understand the Gospel, but need to be taught freshly the orthodox truths of God’s revelation.
Ultimately, it is God who works in the heart of every child to woo him or her to Himself. Our job as parents, pastors and influencers is to create an authentic environment of grace, where faith can flourish.To this, I would only add that sometimes it is more that "knowing and understanding" and "teaching freshly orthodox truths." Faith that stays is not based in knowledge, it is based on the indewelling of the Holy Spirit. Not in the Holy Roller fashon, but in the fashion of someone that is being transformed from the inside out, including their mind, by a power over which they have no control.
It is not a matter of teaching, it is a matter of mentoring - being an example. The best way to provide this "hand-crafted" guidance is not in teaching - it's in living with. And that means we have to mind ourt ow p's and q's pretty carefully.
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