September 25, 2023
I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace. Isaiah 54:13 NLT
Our church is one that dedicates or blesses babies and children whose parents bring them for that purpose. Why do we do that? It’s not an adult type of baptism, which is a public profession of a believer that their faith in Christ has brought them from death to life. It’s not a ticket to heaven ceremony. So what is it? It is a commitment to God in the presence of our church family to raise our child in the ways of the Lord. Parents are doing that this month.
If you are a Jesus-follower and a parent, or not a parent but you have a deep love for and investment in some children, their relationship with God is likely and hopefully a concern to you. They are gifts to us to steward for their Creator. Doing this can be the greatest joy of our lives or the greatest burden of our lives.
The salvation and growth of the children God has placed in our lives is a mammoth responsibility. But that responsibility can never be fulfilled without recognizing that their salvation is not our work; it is the work of the Spirit of God. God is more interested in having a transformative and fulfilling relationship with them than we can begin to imagine.
If we don’t understand this, we can be so concerned that our children “say the prayer,” get baptized, make a profession of faith, that we end up manipulating them into doing something either to please us, or to get us off their backs. Even worse, we can turn their idea of knowing Jesus into a business transaction, a rite of passage, or simply an event instead of a growing and dynamic relationship with Jesus. He is the One who knows them best, loves them most, and is the Source of all Wisdom for their lives. They will miss His goal for them; the best goal—that they “enjoy great peace.”
To do this, it is absolutely essential that we be “workers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). So what’s our part and what’s His part?
Commit them to Jesus. 100%. This means far more than arranging a christening or participating in a dedication service. It means letting go of your firm grip on them, releasing your sense of possession, and agreeing that your children are His. Samuel was released for his primary and revolutionary relationship with God when his mother committed from her heart, "I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28 NIV
Then, be the best example they know of up-close-and-personal living for Jesus yourself. When they don’t understand or remember your words (and that will happen more often than you wish or dream), they will always remember the way you lived, the way you kept promises, your language and tone, the way you treated others, the quickness and completeness of your forgiveness, the way you apologized when you were wrong—and of course, parents are wrong, far more than we ever want to admit. They will remember your integrity.
When you do that, you can always be certain God will more than do His part. What’s that? His part is to teach all your children from the heart and enable them as they follow Him to enjoy great peace.
What child (or children) has God placed especially in your heart and life? Pray for them to be surrounded by the right people and to learn to recognize God’s voice. Pray that you will release them to God to teach them as He knows best, and to continue to grow you in your life with Him, making you a great role model to follow. Then, pray that God’s result for all of you will come to pass—joy and peace.