As parents, we want nothing more than to pass our faith down to our children. Gary Thomas reminds parents that the best way to pass faith onto their kids is by possessing a strong faith in their own hearts and modeling that faith to their children.
“I noticed this first in my own life, but I believe it’s true. When I was earnestly seeking the Lord through prayer, Bible study, and worship, my family just felt different. It seemed to create within them more of a hunger for God.”
This concept referenced by Gary is often expressed with the popular phrase, “more is caught then taught” when it comes to parenting. Scripture attests to the validity of this principle.
“When Paul is talking to wives with unbelieving husbands and when he’s talking to a young pastor like Timothy who is trying to reach other people, he says in order to influence others; we have to fall in love with God. We have to surrender our hearts to God and fill our minds with Scripture. We should be an example of what we want our kids to be.”
We often think biblical parenting requires learning and executing complex techniques. However, Gary doesn’t really see it that way.
“There are literally hundreds of books about how to raise kids ‘God’s way,’ but there are actually very few Bible verses that talk about how to raise our kids. Maybe if the how-to was so clear and so important, it seems to me that God would have done more than a few verses.”
Gary says the truth is, the best way we can influence our children in faith is by first being influenced by God.
“We model compassion, kindness, forgiveness, humility, and our need for grace. Those things are then what make Christianity inviting and welcoming to our kids. It’s not like programming computers where you put in the right figures and you get the right result. In general, the most influential thing we can do is to be authentic believers who understand grace, love God, revere His Word, and surrender to the Holy Spirit.”
Today, take time to cultivate your own relationship with God and trust that your example will have an eternal impact on the lives of your children as well.
Gary L. Thomas is a bestselling author and international speaker whose ministry brings people closer to Christ and closer to others. He unites the study of Scripture, church history, and the Christian classics to foster spiritual growth and deeper relationships.How raising children shapes our souls with Gary Thomas