This morning, the sermon at church began a new series on youth in the church (as a body)--our expectations of them, whether they have heard the gospel rightly, what they are doing with it. It seems that some of the messages in this series will be aimed at the youth, and some at the parents, and some at the church as a whole.
One of the points that Pastor John made (the sermon will be available online shortly at Desiring God) was that we often underestimate our children when they have made a profession of faith. As I think about this, I am in agreement. Although we homeschool and definitely do not participate in most of the silliness the post-modern world has to offer, the idea of children and teens being kind of empty-headed and completely fun-oriented is very pervasive, and I have to admit that I have lower expectations of my kids than I should at times.
My daughter has professed faith in Christ, and as time passes I have been excited to see the beginnings of all kinds of good fruit in her. Of course, a parent can't say with certainty, "My child is saved!", since only God truly knows the heart, but nevertheless, I am delighted to see her begin to grow in righteousness.
But I am concerned that I'm not encouraging her enough to live for the Glory of God, to delight in Him, to rest in the security of His future Grace, while still persevering in a life of good works to reflect His mercy. Certainly, I encourage her in her efforts to be more Christ-like, I try to recognize and comment when I see fruits of patience and kindness and self-control. But I'm wondering if I should be doing something different. I'm thinking that when it comes to helping our children grow in faith, we maybe need to be coming more alongside them, sinner to sinner, and encouraging them as we would adult believers, with a heart to helping them glorify God with their lives. Not to minimize or change the authority of the parental role, of course, because that's part of God's plan, but just to try to empathize more, as the struggles our children have are the same as the ones we have, day to day.
I think I am underestimating her ability to have a real focus in her life.
I really need to give this some more thought, as I see that this post is kind of a babbling affair, sort of a stream of consciousness, but I'm excited to see where this new idea leads me, and excited to hear how this new sermon series develops.