Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Kid-Friendly Christianity?

Sometimes we water down what we believe to make it more palatable for our kids.  We don't tell them all the gruesome bits in the Bible stories.  We keep to ourselves the fact that thousands of our brothers and sisters around the world live in danger because of their beliefs.  We don't tell them that David was an adulterer and murderer.  We keep them from worry.  We tell them the nice bits.  We tell them how much God loves them (true) and about His grace and mercy (all good).  We try to make following Jesus as easy as possible.  We're worried we might put them off.  We try to make it kid-friendly to protect them from any danger.

The problem is that following Jesus isn't always easy.  And in watering down our faith, we water down our God.  In keeping them protected from worry and fear, we don't allow them to grow in faith.  When we don't show them how other Christians live around the world, we give them a narrow view of what it really means to live for God.  When they don't see the bigger picture, they can't see the bigger God.

Take this weekend, for example.  We are seriously depending on God for our needs at the moment. 'Daily bread' has taken on a new and literal meaning for us.  Instead of keeping this a secret from the boys, we have shared and prayed together as a family.  On Sunday,  one of my boys told me that he felt like he'd stepped out of the boat but then been abandoned by God because we were in so much financial need.

Was it wrong for us to share this with the boys?  Should we have protected them from the realities of our life at the moment so that they don't feel anxious?  In sharing everything with them, their faith in God is at risk.  It's a scary business.

I believe that in showing them the realities of life as a Jesus-follower, their faith will grow.  When an envelope was pushed through our door last night with £500 cash in it, Toby and Max were the first to thank God, their provider.  The previously anxious one breathed a sigh of relief as he realised that His God hadn't abandoned him.  Far from it.

I want my boys to know how awesome God is.  I want them to know that following Jesus means counting the cost but is the most thrilling, adrenaline-filled ride they will ever go on.  I refuse to water down God.  I want their faith to be challenged and to grow.  I will not live in fear of them being 'put off' because I know that if we show our children who God really is, they can never choose any other way of living but to follow Him with everything they've got.

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