Then he (Jesus) asked them (His Disciples), “But who do you say I am?”- Matthew 16:15
At some point in all of our lives we will have to answer this same question. Who do you say Jesus is? We won’t be allowed to repeat what our parents have taught us or ditto the person sitting next to us. We will have to courageously explain our own, personal answer to that question.
If you were asked that today, what would you say? A man. A God. A teacher. My Savior. My King. A good person. Someone who cares or someone who abandons. Who is God to you? How has Jesus affected your life?
The world right now is having this internal and ever increasing verbal struggle to figure out what they believe. Now more than ever it is important that we ponder this question and figure out what we are going to believe is true.
Great Speech or God’s Power?
Francis Chan spoke at our church recently and several of his comments have really stuck with me. He explained that he could preach a great message that inspired us to do something, but it would only last until another great speaker comes along and convinces us to do something else. Humans can be swayed so easily and are naturally drawn to the next best thing. How many hobbies have you started and no longer do? How many articles of clothing are hanging in your closet untouched? What are the top two best seller books that will get replaced by the next best thing next year?
Francis explained that the only way for us to not walk away from God when the “next best thing” tempts us is for us to have a personal encounter with God. It is only when God is real and intimate that we can’t walk away. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
Have you had one of those moments with the Lord?
I’ve had several. God filled me with unexplainable peace the weekend that I miscarried and healed me immediately from the emotional trauma of that experience.
Another time, when I was in a deep season of doubt, God woke me up in the middle of the night and told me His purpose for my life.
Many times God has provided a text or call from a friend that was an answer to a prayer I had prayed in the privacy of my bedroom.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have had my fair share of doubts. I have even been angry with God when my prayers seem to be unanswered or answered in a way I do not want. But when I pause long enough to think straight, I will always choose God. Looking back, He has always been faithful. He has always been present. He was always ready to lead me out. I just needed to pause, listen and obey.
As parents, it is our main mission to lead our kids to have an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord. It is only an encounter with Him that can prevent them from walking away from the faith through their young adult years. Like Francis said, if our kids’ faith only rests on good logic, then their logical college professor might be able to persuade them that atheism actually makes more sense. If our kids’ faith only rests on the feel-good message that they hear on Sunday morning, then the next feel-good TED Talk or movie or close friend may be able to get them to move on to the next thing. But if your child has had a deep personal encounter with God, that sets them up with something that the world can never take away. If they then start an ongoing lifestyle where they encounter God as a normal part of their daily life, then they are laying a foundation that absolutely can’t be shaken.
What Can We Do?
We all love our kids very much, and our deepest desire is for them to love God and stay true to Him for their whole lives. That can create fear in us, because we know that we can’t force them to love God. There’s no formula or magic words. We have to let go of that fear and let God teach us how to lead our kids. It’s actually very simple. We need to walk the path ourselves, and put ourselves in situations where God can show up.
Then we need to share with our kids what God is doing in our lives. We need to make it a normal dinnertime discussion. Next, we need to put our kids into situations where God can show up for them. This will include church, youth group and summer camps. This will also include mission trips, serving in soup kitchens, and helping our elderly neighbor. It will also include establishing a pattern of Bible reading, prayer, and worship in the home. You want your kids to meet God and know God, so that something begins growing in them that will fuel them for their entire lives!
Have you put yourselves in situations where God can show up? Do you invest time daily and weekly in spending time with God? Asking Him questions and listening for the answers? Do you try to live in obedience, to keep your mind unhindered and clear? Are you creating a culture in your home where your kids naturally build their foundation of belief?
Ultimately, it comes down to this question: Who do you say that Jesus is?
PS: We do think that excellent logical arguments for God are important also. We love Josh and Sean McDowell’s books and Answers in Genesis as good starting points. But you have to start with their heart – they need to love God and experience God first, and THEN the other stuff.