Home christian living Who is Defining Your “Important”?

This doesn’t specifically apply to courtship, as we’ve been discussing, but really it is at the heart of everything–including preparing our children for marriage.

A friend of mine relayed the message in a sermon she recently heard that encouraged me.

The pastor challenged the parents of his huge congregation to consider what they were investing in their children.

“Many of you pour your time, your money and your energy into teaching your sons how to play baseball or, fill in the blank.   You do everything you can to make sure he’s the best–but he doesn’t know Christ or a thing about what the Scriptures say about his life.”

How many parents are guilty of trying to meet the pressures of what culture says is important, giving very little thought to discipling their children?

Who is defining *successful* for us?  So many call themselves Christians, but do not regard God’s Word as the instruction manual for daily life.  What does the Bible  say about what’s important?  About parenting?  About what makes a person successful?

A true Christ-follower will take the words of Scripture and apply them to all areas of life.  Following Christ changes everything we do.  Our perspective, our goals, our methods, our decisions.

And as it applies to parenting, nothing we do even competes with our responsibility to disciple, teach the fear of the Lord, and impart Scriptural truth to our children. If we’re not doing that, we’re not being obedient to the Word of God.

I don’t want to get into theology here, but one of the most dangerous ideologies, in my opinion, in the church is the “raise your hand if you prayed the prayer” message.  “Whew, I’m glad that’s over, now I can relax”.  This is the thinking of many Christian parents.

Salvation is not a singular event that we are responsible for ensuring in our children.  Salvation belongs to the Lord.  We are only given the command to disciple them intensely.   They must be grown up in the Word with a vigilant pursuit of righteousness.   Real men and women of God don’t just appear after a prayer.  They are made through the day in, day out, hearing, seeing, breathing, living and seeking God’s Word in every area of life.  Just as Jesus daily walked beside his disciples pointing all of life back to Scripture, so must we with those He has given us to disciple.  This is our only job that matters.

So he’s good at baseball–there is nothing wrong with that.  But does he have a heart that follows hard after the things of God?  Do whatever it takes to get him there.

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Heather August 22, 2009 - 2:33 pm

This: “Salvation is not a singular event that we are responsible for ensuring in our children. Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

reminded me of several years ago when I heard a man announce to our fellowship that his then 4 year old son had prayed to ask Jesus into his heart (which I think is wonderful news ) but then he went on to state that since the older sister had already done this, the only child they needed to “worry about” was their younger son. I don’t think the father meant that he felt his job was done, but I recall cringing inwardly at the wording…

And I have often found myself chastised when recognizing my own laziness in setting a godly example and urging my own children to diligently seek reconciliation and relationship with God.

Lord, don’t allow me to squander that which you have entrusted to my care!

Kelly L August 22, 2009 - 3:21 pm

AMEN! Phil 2:12 “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” came to mind immediatly. There is no one time fits forever prayer. It is to be worked on with fear and trembling! It is not fire insurance it is a constant forever growth: glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18). I’ve pretty much had it with people declaring they “know” someone is a Christian because they were there when they said a prayer or were baptized. You will know them by their fruits! At least that is what Jesus said, and He is never wrong. Thanks, Kelly, for reminding us and spurring us on in the fact the the heart makes all the difference. Rules without the heart following in obedience is just religion. And religion is easy to leave or follow mindlessly. Oh Lord, change your children’s hearts while you change our children’s!!!!

Bethany Hudson August 22, 2009 - 3:58 pm

AMEN! What would have been even more convicted than baseball, I think, would be to talk about education. So many parents are willing to give up anything to get their kids into a good college–without ever giving a thought to what the path to that good college might do to their kids’ characters. Today, “education” is the idol of parenting, it seems. Even the idea of giving birth to more children which might prevent your family from covering college expenses is deemed as some sort of cultural sin. Our life decisions, where we make sacrifices, what we spend our time and money on speaks louder to our kids than any words we use. Thanks for talking about this, Kelly.

Word Warrior August 22, 2009 - 4:46 pm


I agree…education came to mind also as I wrote this–so many idols in this day.

Word Warrior August 22, 2009 - 4:49 pm


It does seem we’ve made up our own definitions about what makes a Christian. I was in a service once where the pastor said “if you can’t name the date your were saved, you better question your salvation”. Yikes!!!

Amy Jo August 23, 2009 - 10:02 pm

This is a conversation my husband and I have had often about our chidlren: we don’t want a well-meaning church worker to “lead them in a prayer” to ask Jesus into their hearts and give them some type of assurance that they are “saved.” We are prayerfully and dillegently just planting God’s Word in their very young hearts each day to prepare them for God to draw them to Him in His time. I am curious as to if you beleive that salvation is “progressive” or is a “one-time” event. Some of your comments leave me unclear as to your personal beliefs on this issue. It is one that I have discussed on occasion with others and am very curious as to your take on this. I am not attempting in the least to open a great theology debate, so if you’d rather not “go here” I very much understand.

Word Warrior August 24, 2009 - 7:31 am

Amy Jo,

I don’t know. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I’m not sure it can’t be both. I’ve seen/heard of people who were instantly transformed in a one-time “event” of salvation, when the scales just fell off their eyes and they surrendered in a moment.

I think these examples are why many evangelists work to evoke a “response”…but I don’t think a genuine response has to do with man’s working, and I certainly think there is a huge danger when that work involves an emotional charge to increase said response. I believe even in the singular event of salvation, only God can call a heart. All other responses are empty, and IMO, deceptive. (Perhaps the parable of the sower could best explain that???)

But I also believe salvation is progressive in many lives, especially in children who grow up in a Christian home and just always know, believe and love the Lord. (I am reformed, and our theology is often misunderstood–so I won’t go into it all here.) We are instructed to raise them as believers, not wait until a profession of faith, but trust God’s work of salvation in their hearts. Scripture shows evidence that children of believers belong to the *church*, and are a part of God’s covenant body, even before evidence of salvation. (“For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” 1 Cor. 7:14) And in the OT…children were circumcised as a sign that they belonged to the covenant, (“and the promise of God shall be to you and your children) and parents raised them as such until/unless they broke covenant. (Belonging to the covenant doesn’t make them *saved* as children, salvation must come as a work of the heart through God’s wooing alone.)

Scripture doesn’t say anything about praying a prayer, unless you consider the verse “What must I do to be saved? Confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God has raised him from the dead and thou shalt be saved”.

But the conditions for salvation (believing) doesn’t necessarily have to happen in one event. Furthermore, the *evidence* for salvation is not “a date” or event. It is obedience to Jesus’ commandments (If you love Me…), and the fruit of a life.

Rachel Falaschi August 24, 2009 - 4:38 pm

My husband was raised in a Roman Catholic home. At some point after college he began taking faith seriously and found a Church home, where we now go. So many people raised in the protestant background ask him when he became saved. They give that little eyebrow raise when he says it was a process, not a particular date he could point to. Many have even invited him to pray “the prayer” to make sure he was saved. He always politely declines and says he already has blessed assurance that he is.

Leslie from VA August 25, 2009 - 6:04 am


Excellent post! I agree with your comments, too.

I think one area that needs to be noted in homeschooling circles is that there is also a “homeschooling culture” that we need to constantly be sifting through the Word of God. Just because you homeschool, doesn’t make everything “safe” that is marketed to you and your family. I am afraid there are even those who equate homeschooling with a kind of salvation or holiness!

I always us a quote when I begin to waver on why I am doing such and such. The quote:
“In the absence of biblical conviction, you go the way of culture.” (There are a lot of subcultures within the big frame of things, huh!?)
In all we do as homeschooling parents, we must check out the latest homeschooling/educational fads, family activities and reading material. As you exhorted Kelly, “A true Christ-follower will take the words of Scripture and apply them to all areas of life. Following Christ changes everything we do. Our perspective, our goals, our methods, our decisions.”

Mark August 25, 2009 - 11:11 am

excellent post Kelly

Mrs. Santos August 28, 2009 - 3:57 pm

Hi Kelly:

This is such a good and timely post – especially with home school starting. I tend to get all wrapped up in my goals for the year as far as academics or activities go – but your post reminds me of what God’s word says.

Luke 16:15 Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

As for being saved…

John 3:3
Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 1:3
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath BEGOTTEN US again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

and then…

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 1Peter 2:2

I believe that if you truly are born again you will want God’s word.

Reasons I don’t want to have a million children….. « Maidens Quarters July 9, 2010 - 1:06 pm

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