The word “faith” is becoming a commodity that anybody is able to sell anytime and any day. People tend to say, “Just believe!”
Believe what? Believe that what you’re dreaming to have is coming to be true. Just dream as if you had what you wish to have and see yourself having it, then you will have it! They say, “That is faith!”
My friends, the Bible doesn’t say that about faith.
Faith means believing what the word of God says. Period!
Let me show you this in a simple example: How do we do parenting?
- Parenting must be done in faith
The Bible says,
“- – – whatever is not from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23b NASB
That means, whatever we, Christians, do, we are to do it in faith.
We raise our kids in faith, for example, means we’re raising our kids according to the word of God. Whatever the word of God says, we strive to put that into practice.
For example: The Bible says, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” Proverbs 23:24 NASB
If parents resist disciplining their kids for whatever reason, they show that they hate their kids. Disciplining a child is one of the ways we, parents, show our love to our children. And when we discipline them, using a rod, for example, a wooden spoon, to spank them, without anger or rage, to inflict pain according to their age, we show that we love and care for our children. We spank them not because we are angry or frustrated but because we saw disobedience in them that may cost of them a lot in life. So, we discipline them today for their own good. God shows us how to be good parents:
““My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:5b-11 NASB
- The object of our faith is Jesus Christ
The object of our faith is nothing but a Person, Jesus Christ. Faith is not what we think and dream to have; that is our wish. Faith is everything to do with Jesus Christ who is the word of God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, – – – full of grace and truth. ” John 1:1, 14 NASB
The Bible says,
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NASB
“the assurance of things hoped for” – is a key phrase!
What do we hope?
Is this hope the same as saying, “I hope to go to school,” or “I hope to visit my mom this summer?”
Listen how Paul writes:
“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Romans 8:24-25 NASB
We hope in Christ. We hope in the word of God. We hope in a God we do not see and touch but believe. Do you see my point?
So, we strive to show Jesus Christ, the word of God, through our parenting styles.
- Our parenting style shows our faith
What we believe shows itself by how we behave and do in life. If we say, we believe in God, we have faith in Jesus Christ; and that faith will be evident in the way we do parenting.
Faith shows its existence by how we behave. If we have faith in this world, we parent our kids in ways for them to be number in sport; number one in class and make as much money as they can so they can be rich and famous. This will be our daily “message” to our kids.
And our kids are our excellent judges. They know who our “God” is, this world or the Triune God. We don’t need to tell them that Jesus Christ or this world is our object of faith. They know because our faith shows itself in what we say and do.
The Bible says,
“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
- Parenting is modeling
Since whatever we do and say comes out of faith, parenting is also the result of our faith. And when we parent our kids, we model to them our faith.
The question we parents need to ask is this: What are we modeling before our kids?
As Christians, we want to model to our kids godliness!
Our kids watch us more than they hear us. And they are very good “copy cats.” They learn from us how to view life and God because we live out our faith.
When we put our faith in Christ, we strive to live out His word and our kids see Jesus Christ in and through us.
The Bible says,
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NASB
A child comes to this life having his/her unique nature, gift, talent and all given to them by God. All we parents need to do is not to change their unique nature so that they look like us but we model godliness before them so they learn to put their trust in Christ in the way they should go.
- Parenting is a sacrificial job
As Christians, we’re supposed to live out our faith. Living out our faith demands all kinds of sacrifices on our part because the faith we’re passing on to our children is not our wishes and dreams but Jesus Christ who is the only Savior of this world. We sacrifice so many of temporal things, such as cutting down our work hour, pausing on our careers to come back to them in another season of life so we raise our kids today in godliness while they are little. We can catch with our school, work and career but we cannot catch up with our kids once they turn to be big kids or adults.
The late Jim Elliot (Philip James Elliot), a husband of late Elizabeth Elliot, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Beautiful! (Please read his biography if you get a chance.)
- Parenting is something we always learn
Faith is something that grows. There is no “graduation” from Christianity. We always grow in faith.
In the same way, as we parent our kids, we parent them in faith, means we always learn how to best parent our kids. There is no “I know it all” kind of attitude with faith in Christ. We always pray and study the word so that we “do not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of” our mind, so that we “may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NASB
So, as Christians, we should not tolerate ignorance and immaturity in our faith!
We always learn how to parent our kids from the word of God and the experiences of those who have gone before us.
- Parenting is given to two adults
Parenting is given to fathers and mothers, not to little kids. That means, both parents have equal but different responsibilities to raise their kids in faith, in Christ, as they raise them by the word of God.
For example, if we teach our kids to pray in the morning or before they start driving, we should not focus on the tradition of praying but on the “whys.”
We need to tell them why prayer is important thing to Christians. Tell them that the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV – and we pray because the Bible says so and we do it to show that God is our eternal, heavenly Father and we relate and fellowship with Him mainly through prayer in Spirit. Do you see that?
That means parents are in adults who lead their kids in the right path. If they, parents, have problems, however, for example, anger issue, since they are adults, they know when and how to ask help from others who can help them to deal with their anger issues. If their marriages are not healthy, they know that a healthy marriage is a very critically important ground to raise their kids in godliness. So, they don’t ignore their marital problems, rather, they seek help from others who can help them sort things out so their marriage will be healthy.
Do you see what faith is?
Yes, saying “I have faith in God” does not show that we’re Christians. It simply means we have a “knowledge” that God exists like how demons believe: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?” James 2:19-20 ESV
Yes, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” James 2:26 ESV
So, my friends, let’s live out our faith. Let’s strive to pass on to our kids a faith that is alive, not a faith that is dead, a faith that has only a name, “a Christian,” apart from Christian deeds. ///