If parents are to overcome the constant bombardment of ungodly cultural influences in the lives of their children, they must do it with proper teaching. Proper teaching is required daily to continue nurturing a wholesome, Christian worldview while plucking out the seeds of doubt and wickedness as they are sown into the minds of our children and before they have time to take root.
Spend a moment to pause and truly contemplate this question: Is Christianity important to you OR is it your identity? When Christians gather together to worship God, then I know that their Christian walk is important to them. However, their attendance alone at an assembly won't necessarily tell me if Christianity is their identity. In my estimation, there is a huge difference between claiming Christianity is important in my life and affirming it as my identity. For something to define me (as an identity), it must be the central pillar of my life. It must affect every aspect of my being; it must drive the decisions I make (the big ones, of course, but even the seemingly small ones). There is a difference between supporting something casually and being totally committed to it with every fiber of one's being.
I read an article recently about an NFL quarterback who is in great shape even in his late 30s and hopes to play many more years. If he succeeds in this goal, it won't be an accident but due to his total commitment to football. His love of the game determines what he eats (mostly vegetables), when he goes to bed (about 8 PM so he can get can plenty of rest), how much exercise he gets, how vigorously he studies film, etc. His entire life every day (in season or out) is about being the best QB he can be; it is his identity. It is a primary reason for his success & longevity in the game. Football is his life. What about Christians, is Christ really our life? Or, is He just an important component of our lives (like family, our job, our hobbies, etc.)?
If our priorities are not proper, then our ability to properly teach our children may be fatally undermined. Our children certainly hear our words of instruction, but our actions--how we actually live our lives--either expose our hypocrisy or confirm our verbal messages. I challenge you to be brave & ask your children what they perceive your priorities to be. How might they respond? Money? Pleasure? Socializing? Recreation? Entertainment? Food? Work? God? Doing what is right? Prayer? Bible study? The church? Etc. Our priorities aren't necessarily what we claim they are, and our children can see this.
Parents, God put you in charge; you must lead! "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33). To seek first God's kingdom & God's righteousness is to make Christianity your identity. If everything in your life is ordered & determined around the fact that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you are properly equipped to teach your children and overcome the negative cultural influences that abound. If parents aren't seeking the Lord's way first, what hope is there that they will lead their children where they themselves are unwilling to go?
Friends, are you serious about the souls of your children? Let us all learn from this wisdom written long ago - "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" (Deut. 10:12,13). But Stephen, there is nothing mentioned there about children. You're right, and yet here is a foundational truth in saving your children: you've got to walk the walk yourself if you want them to follow. If you're only partially committed to Christ, your children will see it, even if you successfully hide it from the church.
What happens when both parents are faithful & active Christians? Some have claimed that over 90% of children will follow their parents' lead when both father & mother are dedicated and zealous to the Lord & His work. 90%! There is simply no substitution for having two parents that are faithful & active disciples of Jesus!
We will continue this study in our next lesson.