One of the things I’ve tried to do with my parenting is to be aware of the different aspects of each of my children’s being – their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, moral, spiritual; to intentionally know where they are at, and to know how I could help them grow.  As parents we usually look at what our children are doing to assess how they are going – but that is not appropriate when we are talking about their spiritual growth.  Listen in as I talk about how we can know if our child is growing spiritually.

How to know if your Child is Growing Spiritually

The problem with ‘assessing’ and ‘planning’ spiritual growth in our children is that it quickly becomes about external things – like reading your Bible, Praying, Going to Church, Volunteering.  We can read through that list, do a mental check, and think that everyone is doing okay.  

And yet the real questions we need to ask when thinking about our children growing in their faith needs to be about their relationship with Jesus.   

  • Do your kids have a relationship with Jesus?
  • Do they desire to be more and more like him? {and then}
  • And how are you helping, encouraging, supporting them in that?

 

Our Example of Spiritual Growth is Important

Before we go any further in thinking about our kids, we need to think about ourselves.  How is our relationship with Jesus?

I always think there is a double whammy when it comes to Christian parenting.  

  • First off we are a Christians – that means we are a follower of Christ and as such we will do certain things and do them in a certain way.
  • Secondly, we are a parent.  Where our job is to raise our children to be healthy, and safe – in all areas of their life.

So as a Christian parent – how we do our role as a parent – is defined by our relationship with Jesus.  

Which means – that whatever we do as we engage with our children we need to engage as a Christian.  Being a Christian should shape how we engage or interact with all parts of our life – and even more so our children, because they are watching, and we want them to know and love our Jesus as much as we know and love him.  

Before we can ask if our children are growing in faith we need to check our own relationship and growth as a Christian.  Have we moved from milk to meat? (reference to 1 Cor 3:2)

How would you assess yourself, your own spiritual growth and maturity? 

  •  Are you getting to know Jesus more and more each day? 
  • Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit?  
  • Obeying?  
  • Being changed from the inside out?  

Or are you only getting to know more about Him?  Head knowledge. 

There is a difference – and we can go through all the motions of being a Christian and knowing about Jesus, and yet, he’s standing at the door of our heart – knocking, saying let me into every crevice of your heart.

The heart is the place where we process and hold beliefs and determine our will, emotions, passions, character – the center of everything that makes us tick as a person.  So the question is – Is our relationship with Jesus changing or affecting each of these things?  Is Jesus changing our beliefs, values, emotions, passions, and choices?

Not to say that we need to get it 100% right and be fully mature before we can encourage our kids in their faith journey – but our desire needs to be tuned towards Jesus, knowing him, obeying him, being changed by him.  If we are just going through the motions, we cannot expect to see life, spiritual life, in our kids.

As my kids were growing up they lived with me day in and day out. Even when they were young they knew what was going on in my life.  They knew the ups and downs, the real and the pretend.   So we need to live honestly with Jesus, in front of the kids – not trying to be perfect.  Of course, God is bigger than anything – and I prayed that God would turn on the light in my children’s heart and help them see who He is and respond to Him.  At the same time, knowing that my kids were watching, I didn’t want to be a hindrance to my children, a stumbling block – I wanted them to see a real and honest Christ-follower and to be an example for them.  

 

Fostering Faith in our Children

I feel our parenting, back when we were in those directive and guiding stages, was very much shaped by our children’s desire to know God for themselves.  And as I look back over how we parented, and how I encourage other parents to engage with discipleship there are two seasons to consider.  I call these parenting seasons – before the cross and after the cross; before the kids respond to Jesus and the work of the Cross and after. 

I think we are more familiar with a journey of a non believer, being evangelized, and discipled than we are applying the same process to our kids.  But our kids are just non-christians – people who need to know Jesus.  So the process is much the same.

We introduce our kids to Jesus.  We teach them that He was a real person. We talk about Him being God – and how he loved us so much he came to earth to prepare a way for us to be with him forever.  We teach them about the power of who God is, and his stories as recorded in the Bible.  

When they believe, and they want Jesus as their Saviour and Lord – then we move into disicpleship – this is parenting after the cross so to speak.

As a parent we need to know which season our child is in – and then help them to grow in the things that are pertinent to that season.

Before the cross:  A non-christian child needs to know who God is, who they are, what God has done for them, and how they can respond to Him.

After the cross: A christian child needs to know what the Bible says about how to be a follower of Christ, how to grow and be obedient, how to handle challenges and temptations and be true to their God. There’s too much to list here – but our children can learn to walk with Jesus just like you are learning to walk with Jesus.  

Discipleship is learning to walk in all the things that Jesus taught.  And it is a privilege to be the Christian discipling our kids as young Christians.

 

How do we know our Children are Growing Spiritually?

So how do we know that our kids are growing in their faith?  Remember how I said at the beginning, we can’t check off a list of all the good things they are doing as an assessment of their growing in faith because it isn’t a prescribed journey – you don’t learn this, and then that and then that.  There is no sequential curriculum for the Christian. 

We grow by talking, listening and obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit.  So if your children are talking, listening and obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit they will be growing.  But what that looks like will be unique for each person.

The Bible says when we walk in the Spirit there will be fruit.  We will be known by our works.  If your children are growing in their faith, there will be fruit.

You know when you are in a healthy relationship with Jesus – you want to be with Him, you want to know more about His ways, you want to do things that please and honour Him.  Our kids faith will be exactly the same.

Just as we are known by our fruit, so too will our kids – the thing is, we are walking along side of them, teaching them, encouraging them, supporting them, but we have to be careful not to put expectations that they reach a certain level of maturity by a certain time.  That is not the life of a Christian.  That is how we measure success in other areas of our life maybe – but being a Christian is a heart thing, though what is in our heart comes out in our choices. 

So as a Christian parent, don’t fall into the trap judging your child’s Christian walk.  It isn’t to be compared with someone elses.  It isn’t to be graded or marked as successful or not.  It isn’t to be celebrated as a parenting-win.   It is their relationship with Jesus – we need to keep our focus on that, and helping them to grow more and more to be like Him.  That’s it.  

Heart-focused Action Step

The Heart-focused Action step for this week is to check your heart – what are you believing, or valuing when it comes to your child’s walk with Jesus?  Does it line up with what the Bible says?  

  1.  Are you proactive in teaching your child the next thing they need to learn in their faith journey, based on the questions they ask, challenges they face or experiences they have?  Or do you have a prescribed journey in mind?
  2. If your child has decided to follow Jesus do you see them as a Christian?  How do you think that should change your parenting them?
  3. And if your child is not-yet a Christian – are you introducing Jesus to them or are you making them act as if they are a Christ-follower?   

Ultimately we can’t know how our kids are going with God – we can ask them, we can look for fruit (because the Bible does say there will be fruit from knowing Jesus) but we can’t test, or prove or insist like we can in any other field of knowledge.  And we certainly cannot check off a list saying they are at an age-appropriate level.

Instead we can immerse them in the Word of God, give them the example of a growing Christian, teach them, answer their questions, point them to Jesus all through the day, pray for them and trust God that he will complete the good works that he has begun! (Phil 1:6)

Read more about this resource here

The reason I like conversation starters are they help us use those moments in our day that might otherwise be filled with either silence or dribble and turn them into moments of deep connection. It is a powerful parenting tool.

But…. if you fire questions at your kids like a game of 20 Questions they’ll shut down.

And… if you don’t open up and be vulnerable and show your heart then your kids won’t either. Conversation is two ways.

Have you had a good conversation about Jesus with your kids lately?

The thing that will impact your kids’ lives more than the words you say is the relationship you have with them, and the integrity of your character – where you live out what you believe.

Our kids are watching us, and deciding if we are a good role model or not. For sure, in the early years it is assumed they will look up to us, and even obey what we say. But as they grow up they start to think for themselves and the quip: Do what I say not what I do – just doesn’t cut it.

It is when we build a relationship with our kids, when we respect them as people, and as when we live with integrity that they open the door to their heart and we can speak into their lives in ways that helps them grow.

There is no quick parenting hack here – nor is there any guarantee – but we have to give it our all and that starts with being intentional, relational, and heart-focused as we engage with our kids.

0 Comments

Let me know your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The download link is on it's way.

Individual Education Planning Worksheets - brainstorming every area of your child's life.

Get your Planning Worksheets

I will email you the download link so you can start looking at all the different spheres of your child's life before you make any curriculum choices. 

The download link is on it's way.

An Alternative to Chocolate

An Alternative to Chocolate

Not that I have anything against chocolate - but these jelly beans can help your kids share the message of Jesus, his love, death and resurrection at Easter time.  

The download link is on it's way.

Parent Guide: How to make your Family Bible Study Really Work

Family Bible Study is Tricky with all the Different Ages

 

But there is a way to make this a rich learning and bonding family time.  This Guide includes tips, planning worksheet, and discussion prompts.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download yourCharacter Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your Character Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

The download link is on it's way.

Download your Cheat Sheet

 

A quick reference to help you discern between a heart attitude and a lack of skill for when your child loses it!

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on its way.

Make God your First Response

Print out this parenting reminder to call out to God in the middle of the moment.

I'm excited to share this download with you. Watch your inbox.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

 

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Our children hear different words when we react to when we respond. Do your children hear blah blah blah when you correct them? Includes a parenting poster.

Download Parenting Poster

 

When we Respond instead of React we find a way to deal with the heart not just behaviour.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Character Lesson Guide

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

When family relationships get tense - look for the niggles.

Heart Focused Parenting Resource for the Intentional Parent

 

Your download will arrive in your inbox shortly. 

Print it out and use to teach the hearts of your kids.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Free Email Course

Daily emails  (6 days) to help you walk towards being a heart focused homeschool family!

You have joined the email course. Watch your email inbox!

Find ways to Re-engage your Student

Download this checklist and stir your child's curiosity

Watch your Inbox - the Checklist is on it's way!

FREE Parenting Worksheet

This worksheet will help you move from addressing behaviour to really parenting the heart, one issue at a time.

 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Personal growth starts with an honest assessment

The download link is on it's way. Please check your email.

Give Effective Consequences

Think before you React

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

 

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

One Another Verses

Be Intentional in the Teen Years

Use this Cheat Sheet to remind you of how you can love your teen.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

#14 Heart Booster from Resource Library

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Download your copy

Download your copy

Blending Life and Lessons - and start your journey of changing your thinking about education.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Download: One Another Verses pdf

Download this list of One Another verses and teach your children how to love others.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Raising Kids with Character

ATTEND LIVE : FREE PARENTING WORKSHOP

A bonus for Heart Booster readers:  Learn how to teach character to your kids so that they can live their lives making values-based choices.

 

Live Session:  5th May 2021, 6.30pm AWST

Replay available until 16th May 2021

 

I'm so excited about this workshop - thanks for joining me!

Raising Kids with Character

REPLAY OPTION : FREE PARENTING WORKSHOP

A bonus for Heart Booster readers:  Learn how to teach character to your kids so that they can live their lives making values-based choices.

 

Replay available from 6th May until 16th May 2021

 

I'm so excited about this workshop - thanks for joining me!

Raising Kids with Character

WAITLIST

 

The Raising Kids with Character parenting workshop will be offered again this year - details yet to be confirmed.  Join the waitlist so you don't miss out. 

I will keep in you in the loop as soon as decisions have been made!

Bonus Reading list

 

Sharing my Homeschool Belief File

Knowing what you believe and why about education and homeschooling helps you make good decisions.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Build your Family Routine
Starter Kit:

Assess and Plan how to use your time wisely with this worksheet bundle.

Instant download, and then join the Heart Boost Weekly, by confirming in your email.

Success! An email link is being sent to you!

Success! An email is on it's way!

Free email course

... delivered to your email inbox

Success! An email is on it's way!

Download: Family Devotional Activities (PDF)

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Download:Workshop Resource

This is a digital product. Download and print - but please don't share. 

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

#21 Heart Booster from Resource Library

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Free email course

... delivered to your email inbox

Success! An email is on it's way!

FreePrintable Posters

... delivered to your email inbox

Success! An email is on it's way!

Success! An email is on it's way!