By Erick Goss, Crosswalk.com
Rhythm. Routine. Whatever you call it, it’s the cadence of your day. If you’ve found this column, you’re likely exploring new rhythms for 2022 - especially in your walk with Christ.
I want to encourage you to stop the striving, live in the gospel, and, by all means, invite your kids. And then let God work in and through it.
So many things upset rhythm. Life with young kids is unpredictable, learning the ebb and flow of a growing family. Life with older kids is often breakneck speed, running carpools, and keeping up with homework. Then, add the layer of uncertainty the last few years has brought - including the whiplash with a COVID resurgence that is wreaking havoc on plans we thought were solid!
Thankfully, steadfastness is not built on circumstances or the plans we keep or don’t keep. Instead, our Christian lives are rooted in the gospel, which points to fellowship with Jesus each day. And that, we can trust, is constant for us and for our kids.
Pastor Tim Keller offers one of my favorite definitions of the gospel: “Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever.” (Emphasis added, “The Gospel in All its Forms.”)
Rescue from sin and judgment - not just to go to heaven - as was the sole focus for so many of us growing up, but also so that we can have fellowship with God. Here and now. In our daily rhythms. That with-ness is the best source of consistency we could hope for - so far beyond any plan we could make on our own. This is clear in John 15 where we are commanded to abide. God is with us daily as our father and friend, challenger and comfort, source of conviction and hope.
What does that mean for our families and young kids? It’s a reminder that God’s restorative work in creation and relationship with us is happening all around us - in a very practical way. As daily life happens, talk to your kids about the gospel. Kids are relational and incredibly spiritual. They have a sense of wonder about the world and are natural problem solvers who can see the brokenness of the world. God is making his work clear as he actively engages in the challenges we see - like forgiveness in families and injustice globally. We just need to point it out and encourage our kids to rely on His strength.
So, this isn’t a 5-step plan or a tracker system to hold to. In this New Year, I’d like to share a few practices that take the freewheeling out of my family’s life with three teenage girls and help us live with a daily focus on God who is with us:
Meet with God as a daily, personal habit (Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:16): Modeling your walk with God to your children is powerful. As they say, often more is caught than taught. As kids get older, they see the hypocrisy in our lives when we talk about walking with God but they observe us living in our own strength. Set aside 20 minutes a day to abide as a branch connected to a vine is forced to do (John 15:5).
Engage scripture together (Deuteronomy 11:18-21): Instead of just going through scripture, think through Bible stories or scriptures that address issues that you and your family are facing. Nothing is cooler than for our children to see that God isn’t “just the big guy upstairs” but rather a Spirit that lives within us, engaged in our daily lives.
Talk actively about what God is doing in your life as a family (Psalm 119:129-131): Praying as a family, keeping a journal of what you are asking God about, seeking his understanding, and obeying His words is a great way to see how He works and how the Spirit reveals answers. We try to do this over dinner at night and during our weekly family time.
Practice being a faith community (Acts 2:42-47): It’s awesome for kids to see other people testify of the things they are learning at home. I’ve found that as my kids get older, while they listen to me, they don’t develop real conviction until they see what mom and dad are saying affirmed by other people. So whether that’s being with like-minded families or serving in your community, choose something that fosters togetherness.
These practical rhythms and applications can be incredible ways for kids to develop their own faith. Ignore the exact ways you see others put these into practice, and find the routines that work in your family. Every family is different and is at its best when they find that special way to connect with God and each other. And, each of our children is very different from each other and how they experience God and see Him in their lives. As parents, we can serve our family by connecting with our own uniqueness and theirs.
Our kids are being offered a ton of narratives that offer false promises of everyday fulfillment without Jesus. Let’s point them to Jesus, through everyday practices, as Jesus himself encouraged Peter: “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’ “ (John 6:68-69; ESV)
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Monkey Business Images
Erick Goss is the CEO and co-founder of Minno, a kids media and tech company that helps families experience Jesus everyday and have a lot of fun together, on and off the screen. Minno is offering their Bible for Kids LifeGuide for free in January, encouraging parents to get into the Word with their kids using the guide’s helpful tools and background information. Minno also offers 24/7 access to shows where faith is front and center on its member app, parenting resources for free at gominno.com/parents, and the award-winning Minno Laugh & Grow Bible: The Gospel in 52 Five Minute Bible Stories.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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