Dads, I come at you today with a huge problem that is weighing heavily upon my heart. Where is faith transferred? Now, when I say faith, I am referring to the beliefs, teachings and acceptance of the Christian faith. We are living in a time where we should be sharing our faith and many of us do, however are we transferring it to others? Are we passing it down to our children or are we letting someone else take that task?
We are experiencing a cultural shift or a new order that is sweeping a whole generation away from our faith. Look at this:
- 70% to 80% of the teenagers have or are leaving the church.
- There is very little sense of absolute truth, everything is to be experienced and is relative to the person and place.
- People do not look at a situation of is it right or is it wrong, but how does it make me feel.
This is what has become the overwhelming thought or tendency of our current generation. Television, music industry, magazines, internet advertisement, game developers are sparing no money to reach our children and disconnect them from our faith. This disconnect that we are living in and especially our teenagers is destroying our future generation.
Unfortunately, today we have a large amount of christian youth wearing the team colors, uniform, or clothing of the enemy. I am referring to the youth accepting, or adopting the value system and beliefs of this new order. Sadly it has become their value system even though they go to church. They have accepted another value system of what they should and should not do, where they should and should not go, and what they should and should not watch or hear. This new value system did not come from their faith, it has come from this world.
Here is some reality:
- 2012, 6.5% of 8th graders, 17.0% of 10th graders, and 22.9% of 12th graders used marijuana in the past month we are shocked.
- 3 in 10 teen American girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. That’s nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies every year. Despite teenage pregnancy classes in school.
- 8 out of 10 teen dads don’t marry the mother of their child.
And with all of these things going on, there is a mindset in many parents of “I don’t want to be bothered.” I place all of this in front of you to let you see the problems or mess that our kids face on a daily basis. Many of us sit here and read this and say to ourselves “Yes, I know that it is tough out there, but I have taught my child better and they know what to do.” I hope that your kids do know what to do, but if they don’t or you don’t have not begun to pass down your faith, pay close attention. I am about answer the question of “Where is faith transferred?
Now in Deuteronomy, Moses was talking to the people as they were preparing to cross the Jordan and make their way to the Promised Land. In the Promised Land there was a lot of negativity. There were the Hittites, Jebusites, Canaanites, and all kinds of problems in the Promised Land. However, they are getting ready to go into the Promised Land. Now look at it, you have a promise land full of great things and potential, but there are huge problems and obstacles in the Promised Land. Now that seems like a huge contradiction, but God has a solution for that!
Moses told the people that we are crossing the river and going into the promise land, but if you want this to work, you are going to need to listen to God and do it God’s way. This is the only way that they were going to be able to be productive and manage a life in the promise land that is full of problems and messes. It is the same way with you and your kids. When you read this, pretend that you are Moses and you are talking to your kids.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
1 “This is the command—the statutes and ordinances—the Lord your God has instructed me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to enter and possess.
2 Do this so that you may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life by keeping all His statutes and commands I am giving you, your son, and your grandson, and so that you may have a long life.
3 Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow them, so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart
7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.
9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Moses is telling them that if you want to survive, make it, and experience the best there is in the promise land, the family must become the primary place where faith is transferred. Did you get that dad? The FAMILY MUST BECOME THE PRIMARY PLACE WHERE FAITH IS TRANSFERRED. Not the government, not the public schools or even the church. Notice that Moses tells the people of Israel that this will affect your life, your son and your grandson. If you are going to make it in the promise land (the world), it is going to be done so by what happens in your house.
Notice verse 7, you are to repeat the commandment of “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” to your son(your kids) in your house. In verse 9, you are to write them on the doorpost of your house and on your gates. If you are going to make it, and your kids are going to make it, you got to make it at home first. The biggest reason that we are losing a generation is that the home is no longer the place where faith is transferred. Listen, the primary role of the home is the discipleship and evangelism of our children. Who is the head of your home dad? According to God’s word, that would be you. As head of the house, who is responsible for what happens in your house? Again, that would be you. The father is responsible to make sure that the home is where faith is transferred down to our sons and daughters. That is a huge responsibility that is placed on the father. But like Super Chicken told Fred, “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it!”
However, many dads and parents, outsource that responsibility to others so they do not have to deal or worry with it. Church, you teach my kids. Schools, you raise my kids for 8 to 9 hours. Television/computer, you entertain my kids. I am to frustrated, tired and got my own issues and I don’t want to be bothered! There used to be a commercial that asked “Parent’s do you know where your children are?” Today many parents do not know and they do not care that they do not know. Dads, this is our responsibility, we should be the leaders and teachers when it comes to the spiritual knowledge in our family. There is no neutral parenting when it comes to your kids. You are either being responsible or your are not. If you were man enough to be part of their creation, you should be man enough to teach them and teach them diligently!
Moses told the people is Israel, that if you are going to make it through all the problems, mess, and tribulations that we are going to go through, then this has to be rooted in your home. Not only in the home, but when they are walking with you, talking with you, going to sleep at night and when they rise up in the morning. Make it so that no matter what your child does, they hear what God has in store for them. Instead of you listening to your favorite secular group from your teenage years, listen to a christian station. Instead of watching movies that are rated R by yourself, watch a G rated movie with your family. Think of it in this way, your kids should be a pinball bouncing off of the knowledge of God and transference of faith in your house. Show your kids that they don’t need to be ashamed of the Gospel and they won’t! Show your kids how to share, love and embrace God’s promise and they will. It is your place to pass down the faith in your house to your children.
You see guys; if the home does not survive, the children will not survive and the future does not survive. We must start looking long term and not just at today and this week. We need to be teaching our kids survival through spiritual means not only physical means. Notice that Moses told them that in doing these things they would have a long life. Even though they were about to be going through all kinds of mess, if they would listen to God, they would survive and get to the Promised Land.
Guys are you transferring your faith to your kids? Are you discipling your kids? Are you even trying? People say “I don’t know what to do?” or “My parents never did this with me, so I don’t know how to do it. “ You know what, I fall into both of those and it is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. This is what I started in my house. We as a family pick out a book of the Bible, currently we are making our way through Acts. My Bible is broken down into topics or short sections. I, as the father, head of the house, and responsible teacher of the house read the Bible out loud to my family. I read the whole section, not the chapter or whole book. I have kids ranging from 5 to 11 and the fidgets start to kick in on long stretches. Once I read it, we discuss it. You will be amazed at what your kids will grab out of what you read to them. They will ask questions! So in the morning dad, have a little devotion time alone with just you and God, so you have a head start and can be prepared for later. You don’t have to have a master’s degree or a doctorate in theology to talk to your kids. You have to have a servants heart, a fathers caring heart, a heart that looks down through time to see the results in your kids life.
The hard work has been done for you. The Bible has already been written and prepared for you. So the excuses are gone, you are the leader, now get your kids together, and let’s make sure that we transfer our faith so that our kids may survive in the wilderness.
Steve Blackston is an engineer for the NRCS and a Children’s Pastor at Mountain View Baptist church in Thomaston, GA and he has served as board member in his local homeschooling group numerous years. He is the father of two boys and a girl, and husband to the most wonderful wife of 14 years. You can find him at Husband of a Homeschooling Mom.