Raising Our Kids to Be Disciples

Yesterday we drove almost two hours up to Tulsa to see a neurologist for my seven-year-old. Our son developed a tic last month, and the appointment was a sobering reminder that we are powerless as parents to control everything that goes on in the lives of our children.

The good news, the doctor told us, is that our kid’s involuntary movements aren’t serious. The consultation revealed that this is an otherwise completely healthy, normal boy. His tic may go away on its own, or it may last his whole life, but either way it’s only something that might possibly cause embarrassment in social situations and not interfere with daily activities.

It was a great relief. On the drive home, it struck me that while we can certainly handle something like this, we need to make sure we approach it like every other task of our parenting mission: through the lens of biblical truth.

I wrote about how it’s necessary to protect our children from worldly influences in Why Sheltering Your Kids is a Good Thing. But if all we ever do is insulate them from the secularism that pervades our culture by educating at home, we might as well not bother.

We would be naive to think that any one provision is a recipe for creating Christ followers out of our children, yet we can and should still go about the process of homeschooling. In the words of Willa Ryan, quoted in Real Learning, ” [we]want our family to meet in heaven someday, and [we] think we have a better shot at it if we journey together as much as possible. God put us together for a reason.”

As a homeschooling mom, I teach God’s providential rule over creation and history, as well as addition, subtraction, reading, and spelling. I have the ability to shape my children’s worldview according to God’s Word, instead of the empty pagan philosophies of the world.

I should not simply be educating my children at home. I should also be discipling them.

That is the key component of home education. We don’t want our children to be like those who are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

Biblical education involves more than just imparting knowledge. It involves the shaping of character through a close, personal relationship and the application of biblical discipline.

In this setting, parents walk beside their children as they expose them to the world and its many issues from a biblical perspective. Teaching and modeling spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, scripture memorization, and Christian service can help prepare your children to become mature believers who are ready to serve the Lord.

Ultimately, a biblical education is the direct application of the Great Commission in our homes. The Great Commission not only includes the preaching of the Gospel and baptizing new believers, but also the making of mature believers by teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.

The Great Commission needs to begin with our family, expand to our friends and extended family, our local community, and then to the rest of the world.

Modeling this life of service and obedience to the Lord before our children has the greatest potential for them to believe in the power of the gospel. Otherwise they may have an appearance of godliness, but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5).

And yet, we still cannot override our children’s free will. 

They may, even after all of our teaching and prayers, choose to reject the faith. That’s why parenting is an investment, and not a purchase.

But if that ever comes to pass, we will be confident that they do know who Christ really is. They have walked with Him daily in their families. They have seen Him in the lives of their parents.

They’ll just happen to think they don’t need Him at that moment.

Their rejection will be one based on pride, rather than intellectual or emotional doubt. It may not make it easier, but at least we can know that we did everything we were called to do.

We will have ultimately trusted the Provider instead of His provision for raising kids to love Jesus.

It’s easy to look at something good, like homeschooling, and subtly put all of our hope and security in it. Home education in and of itself is only a means and an opportunity. It cannot replace the true, life-altering change that comes only through personally knowing Christ.