When to push your child spiritually and when to hold off….

1 Dec

This is a REALLY big topic and I do NOT claim to be a spiritual authority or expert on this matter.

Today’s entry is really more of a scratch piece of paper for me to write down my thoughts, with a BIG OPEN SECTION at the end for your input.  And yes, I can see how many subscribers I have…. so that means there should be a lot of input : )

I believe there are spiritual topics you can address with your child, but you can’t enforce understanding and maturity and so, while you address the matter – maybe even on numerous occasions, you have to just keep being an example, sit back and pray for their maturity and understanding.

Something I would classify as falling under this category is “The Trinity.”  My son is able to hear what we’re saying, but really grasping that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three individual persons, but are all still God is a really big concept.  In fact, most adults don’t understand it… we just have faith that it’s true.

Which is my point.  Matters of faith may be weak at first but can grow through life experience, trials, and just being revealed through understanding and wisdom from God.

Matters of obedience I feel are on a different scale.

Obedience is only relevent if someone is saved.  If they haven’t accepted Christ as their Savior, then obedience is irrelevant.  So what I’m about to address does not apply for the child who is unsaved.

We’re called to rebuke, mentor, and disciple each other, and this calling reaches beyond just our peers and directly starts in our homes with our spouse and our children.

If a saved child is walking in disobedience to scripture, they need rebuked.  Or if they are unlearned in a section of scripture that deals with obedience in a certain area, then they need taught.

Let me give you a brief (I promise it will be brief) background of my oldest son.  When he was four years old, he asked his dad to lead him to the Lord.  It was beautiful.  While every parent wants to rejoice and celebrate the day their child is saved, Josh and I did just that, but with the caution and understanding that he was only four.  Would he remember doing it? Was he old enough to “be accountable” for his actions and really understand what he was doing?

As time went on, he only continued to grow in love and wisdom.  It helps that he attends private Christian School for sure… but the child is VERY wise for his age.  He knows more of what is in the Bible than I did at his age without a doubt, and I was raised in church.

I say all this to say, he is now 7 2/3 years old and we both feel, he is saved.  (Let me say, I have a 6 year old son, and I don’t believe he is saved yet… I am very level-headed on this for those who think 7 is still way too young.)

Scripture says, we are to believe and be baptized.  We didn’t go hog-wild encouraging this at four years old.  Because of his age, we wanted to see some evidence. We have brought it up a few times, but haven’t really pushed the issue, explained it, or studied it with him in Scripture.

This Sunday at church is a baptism service, and we believe our son should be baptized.  We will not force him to, nor will be love him ANY LESS if he doesn’t do it.

All week long our son has been saying “No.” And his excuses are “I don’t want to do it in front of that many people.” “I’ll do it when I’m older.” “I’d rather just do it here next summer in the pool with just you guys.”

Clearly, he is missing the points.  So I sat down with him last night (Dad was gone or he would have joined us) and I told him the Truth of Scripture.

-Baptism is an act of obedience that directly follows conversion.

Scripture gives numerous instances where the people were saved and then immediately baptized.

-Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change which acts as a testimony to others.

If we intentionally (which is different from circumstantially) hide our baptism, not only are we acting as if we’re ashamed of the gospel, we’re denying God the ability to use our lives as a public witness for the changes He’s done inside of us.

Literally, baptism is a way that all men and women can assist God in showing others a miracle.  The symbolization is a reflection of the direct miracle that took place in our lives as our sins are completely washed away and we’re redeemed!

I feel all believers who have been saved but have not been baptized do need rebuked or taught.

What happens if we don’t?

Either one of two things.

1.) We begin to walk in disobedience because we don’t addresses the situation.

2.) The person who is saved but isn’t baptized can start to believe that we walk in obedience to scripture when we want to.

– When we’re no longer afraid of men (which will never happen.)

-When we are no longer shy or embarrassed (which is not likely to disappear when it comes to being the center of attention for some.)

-When we’re older. (None of us is promised a single minute of this life.)

-When we are ready to let go of our sins. (We’re never ready to stop sinning… we only stop through the help of the Holy Spirit and most of us have to intentionally deny ourselves from our natural sinful nature until we die.)

I want to be very careful that my son does not believe that he can be obedient to God when he wants to or when he’s ready.  Obedience to God is an act of worship and disobedience is a sin.

I told him last night “You know that scripture says you’re suppose to be baptized once you’re saved.  At this point, you’re telling God, ‘I want to fulfill my desires instead of being obedient to you.  I know what Your word says to do, but because I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of other people, I’m going to go ahead and not do it even though I know Your Word says it’s an act of obedience if I do.’ And once you start being disobedient in some areas, it just gets easier to be disobedient in all areas.”

He didn’t like that.  He tried to say, “Mom, that’s not what I’m doing.  I just don’t want to do it right now in front of people.

It’s REALLY tough teaching your child these cold hard truths, but like I told him, I believe that if he starts a life that allows disobedience, it’ll just keep getting easier and easier to be disobedient whenever his flesh likes his way better than God’s way.

Practical Application:

Live a life that examples obedience.

Challenge, rebuke, and teach your children, spouse, peers that obedience is not optional if we’re OK with it.

Your turn….. THOUGHTS????????

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3 Responses to “When to push your child spiritually and when to hold off….”

  1. Valerie Norris December 3, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Kayla! On the topic of the Trinity, we have a book that I got from amazon, and there is a youtube video as well. It’s called 3 in 1 : A Picture of God. It has really helped my children understand and grasp the concept a little more. Here’s the link http://youtu.be/ltw2J6k7E-M I also have a 7 yr old who says he asked Jesus into his heart already but is dragging his feet on the baptism. Thanks for sharing. Now I have a better idea of what to talk specifically about with him. I didn’t really know how to approach it before or how to avoid feeling like I was forcing his hand. Your perspective on this is very helpful!

    • Kayla Gulick December 3, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks Val!!

      And good luck on handling the baptism situation. It is scary. For everyone…not just kids. But everyone is always so blessed and thankful they faced the fear and were obedient!

  2. howsyourlovelife December 6, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Yes, baptism is an outward sign of obedience and neglecting it can be the beginning of disobedience. In my opinion your job as the parent is to explain this, but then to allow the Holy Spirit to convict him to make the decision. The last thing you want is for your child to feel resentment about this important step! We let our children come to us when they felt ready to be baptized, and all three were in early elementary years, each was a couple of years after making the decision. They had to ‘prove’ they were ready by explaining their desire to us and then to our pastor, and we were all convinced that they truly understood the importance of the event.

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