When we think of our Christian testimony, we tend to think of something that happened in the past. We tend to view this as a slice of history, the story of our initial submission to Christ. Few realize that our testimony is a living, breathing reality; a story that continues to be written throughout our walk with Christ. It is a living history that is growing, with pages added to the book every day. Sharing that living story with our children and showing them how God is touching our life, increasing our love for him, and growing our anticipation of eternity with him in heaven is one of the best ways to validate the truth of the gospel.
Perhaps the most excellent service any of us can give our children is that they see our love for Jesus—no one thing affirms the truth of Christianity more. The ploys of Satan will pale in the face of our passion for Christ. When Jesus is our highest treasure and fellowship with his Spirit is a part of our lifestyle, our example is a powerful antidote to the world’s lies that tempt our children against trusting God and believing in Jesus. When they see us lean on Christ through trials and find our security in our future hope of heaven, it breathes life into our profession of faith and validates our Christian testimony before them. They don’t just hear about what God did in our lives; they see what God is doing.
My wife’s grandfather Carl spoke of his love for Jesus often. Carl shared his desire to kneel at Jesus’s feet one day and his longing to leave this world and be with his Savior. As a result, he passed on that love for Christ and hope for heaven to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Practical Tips for Modeling Our Relationship with God
How do we demonstrate a personal relationship with God before our children? How do we model a love for the kingdom to come? Here are a few helpful suggestions.
1. Pursue Christ
In the process of discipleship there is no substitute for learning more about Jesus and spending time with Jesus. While Bible knowledge and Christian traditions are helpful, our love for our Savior validates those other practices. Church attendance without an active pursuit of Christ is an empty work. We must regularly pursue fellowship with him. Make reading good books about Jesus a priority.
“What does it mean to get up in the morning and experience union with Christ?” John Piper answers that question this way: “It means you bank totally on him for the living of your life.”
Believe the reality that Christ lives in you through the Spirit. Jesus told the disciples that when the Spirit of God was poured out, they would “know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17 NIV). He continued, saying, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20).
Pursue a relationship with Jesus through studying his Word, praying with the expectation that he will reveal himself to you as you read and meditate. Cultivate a longing for heaven and live to store up your treasure there (Matthew 6:19–21). Read the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn.
2. Share your experience
Let your children in on your relationship with Jesus. As you engage in daily communion with Christ as described above, share with your kids what you are learning and how he is revealing himself to you. Let them know how you are affected by what you read in Scripture or a point in the message on Sunday. Talk about your hope for heaven and cultivate a longing for Christ’s return. In this way, sharing your testimony with your children will not just be about your initial response to the gospel but will be a demonstration of your ongoing relationships with Christ and your fellowship with the Spirit
3. Abandon sinful pursuits
The other side of the coin of living for Jesus is putting to death the competition—our sinful flesh and our love for the world.
They say you can discover a person’s priorities by taking a look at how they spend their money. Another window into a person’s heart is found in the words we speak. Jesus said, out of the abundance of the heart, our mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). What do you talk about the most? What do you get the most excited about—or conversely, the most disappointed in when your plans don’t pan out?
I was in a conversation with a member of our church who recently visited one of our older members named Lennie. They told me, “I love being around Lennie. He brings everything back to Jesus.” That’s been my experience as well. I can’t remember a conversation I’ve had with Lennie where he didn’t mention Jesus in some way. A love for Christ cannot be contained. It shines forth like a flame under a glass for all to see, and it lights up the darkest room.
The world is eager, to sell us on its gadgets and gizmos and the number of boxes we have delivered is growing exponentially. It’s not that everything is bad, but none of it holds a candle to Jesus. It is in saying, “No” to the world’s goods in exchange for Christ that our kids see our value for Christ. When we choose our quiet time, fellowship with believers, and service to others over selfish or shallow pursuits, our children see that Christ is real and we love him.
Showing by Example
Our kids see our love for Christ in action when we look to give generously instead of purchasing an unnecessary device, toy, or trinket from Amazon. When we give up a Saturday to help a family move or give up an evening to serve in a ministry and explain our priorities in light of our love for Jesus, we validate the reality of our relationship with Jesus to our kids. As your children grow closer to adulthood, they may still try to deny Christ his rightful place on the throne of their hearts, but they won’t be able to deny he occupies the throne of yours.
Our Christian testimony is meant to grow as a living affirmation of our ongoing relationship with Jesus. When it does, and we share our growing love for Christ with our children, we provide a well-paved avenue for the Spirit to work in their lives as well.
God Made Me For Heaven
In God Made Me for Heaven, Marty Machowski shares deep theological truths through a creative story. Told through the perspective of a grandmother sharing her hope of heaven to her grandchildren and their friends, this picture book beautifully illustrated by Trish Mahoney includes a gospel presentation and speaks about eternity in simple language kids can understand.
Photo: Eleni / Lightstock