The Most Critical Spiritual Environment (Is the One in Which You Live)

LifeWay Research conducted a national survey of 1,200 adults with children under 18 at home.  They attempted to discover what parents defined as “successful parenting.”  Their findings were interesting yet not shocking.

  • 25% of those interviewed would view their jobs as parents as successful if their children were happy as adults.
  • 22% were hoping their children would find success in adulthood.
  • Another 17% defined success when a child graduated from college.
  • Only 9% of those surveyed view their job to produce godly children.

What was enlightening about this study is that 82% of those parents polled were fearful concerning the state of the world their children would inherit.  With such a vast majority concerned about the future, only 14% of those parents were aware of what the Bible says concerning parenting.

The Bible leaves no room for guesswork.  God defines successful parenting as commanding one’s children “to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice” (Gen. 18:19).

Any other parental pursuit is insignificant to this original command, and any attempted handoff of one’s children is cheating them of God’s ideal.

That Was Supposed to Be My Job

During a car ride one particular evening, I asked the boys to tell me what their favorite part of the day was.  My second child, Eli, loudly proclaimed, “Jonah and the fish!”  Mom had attended a Bible study that morning and took the boys to the daycare program provided by the organization.  These dedicated workers did more than provide Goldfish snacks and wet wipes — they always taught the children a Bible story in a memorable way.

As they began to retell the story to me in a humorous fashion, I suddenly realized what had happened and became very upset.  Someone else had the privilege of telling my boys that story before I did.  We had read biblical stories, but I had not taught them this specific story yet.  I was outraged!  How dare this mini-van driving, Veggie Tales watching, multitasking, soccer mom tell my boys about Jonah?  That was my job!

Unfortunately, this woman of God who saw my boys once a week had gotten around to it before their dad who lived in the home with them had made the time.  That night reminded me of my task to teach my children the truths of God’s Word.  I could never run out of material to teach my boys concerning the glorious deeds of our God!  While they sat in the back seat of my truck, I started at Genesis 1, and by the time we pulled into the driveway, we were rounding the corner into Joshua!

Parents, it is our job to tell our children the great and wonderful acts of our loving and powerful Lord.

When someone teaches our children about the Bible, it should serve as a reinforcement and not as an introduction.

When our lives back up the biblical truths we teach them, impact occurs.  An integral part of God’s global plan of redemption has always been parents teaching their children the ways of the LORD.

The most critical spiritual environment is the one in which you live.

No weekly programs can compare to the impact of consistent, intentional parents.  Don’t expect anyone to have more of an impact on your children than you if you will maintain righteousness and justice before their eyes.

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Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.