One of the greatest privileges we have as parents and guardians is the blessing of instilling faith into our children’s lives. Most of us are familiar with the age-old proverb: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV). But what does it really mean to “train up” our children?
Simply expressed, to train our children means we teach them through modeling. As leaders and servants in the body of Christ, it is our longing and desire that our children will grow and mature into a well-founded relationship with Jesus. We play a crucial part in this development — as our lives and the faith we hold onto are modeled before their eyes. Do we model a foundational faith for our children that is established in love for God and others (Matthew 22:37–39)? Is our faith immersed in grace, forgiveness and humility (Colossians 3:12–14)? Does it reflect the passions and concerns of Jesus — a heart for the lost, broken and hurting (Luke 19:10, Matthew 11:28–30)?
The Scriptures are filled with examples of faith-filled leaders who modeled obedience and godliness before their children. Noah, in particular, is a great example. Hebrews 11:7 tells us that “by faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.”
Noah experienced rejection on every level because his life was completely different than his neighbors’ lives. God commanded him to build a huge boat in an area where it never rained. It took him over 100 years to build it. Even still, he obeyed God despite his circumstances and followed His commands. Noah instilled faith in his children by modeling obedience to God through his steadfast determination in following God’s leading.
There is an old adage that says “faith is caught and not taught.” This is only half accurate. The truth is, you can teach faith and godliness — but it must be lived out and modeled daily to be effective. Instilling a healthy, lifelong faith happens when God’s ways are infused into our daily habits, routines and activities. Truth is “impressed” on them during every waking moment (Deuteronomy 6:7). In other words, Jesus is our life and our children know it.
As parents and guardians, our own faith will always prepare and shape the foundation of our children’s faith. May God give us wisdom and guidance as we strive to impart a faith that is rooted in truth, holiness and a deep love for Him.
Paul K. Castle is the pastor of discipleship at the Countryside Free Methodist Church in Sandusky, Michigan.
DISCUSSION: What is one way I can daily model a foundational faith for my child?  Why is it important we model an active faith that reflects the passions and concerns of Jesus? 0