Encouraging Your Child as a New Christian
By Dixie Walker
Hide-and-seek is a familiar childhood game. The point, obviously, is for one individual to search out every possible spot of the given area in order to find the concealed person. The anticipation of finding the one hidden is what makes the game so much fun. In comparison, what joy it is to seek after the Lord in order to experience all that comes in relationship with Him after becoming a Christian.
As your child comes to know Jesus as her personal Savior, you’ll want to talk with her about pursuing Him in all matters of life as she matures in her Christian walk. This is part of becoming a disciple — a follower of Christ. The reason we pursue time with the Lord, even though we have already been saved, is to have a closer connection with Him. We want to know His ways and direction for our lives.
The Lord will guide your child in decisions she needs to make regarding friends, school situations, family relations, and any matter that comes her way. This is an important point to bring out when discussing this issue of discipleship with your child. She needs the confidence of knowing her Lord is with her at all times and He is interested in every part of her life.
As you talk with your child about having a growing relationship with God, compare it to a familiar friendship she has with someone else. As that friendship grows, she becomes more in tune with the ways of the other person. She learns what makes her friend happy as well as things that disappoint.
It works the same way with the Lord. In Romans 12:2 we read, “Do not be comformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” This verse reminds us that, as Christians, our thinking will be changed to reflect God’s thinking as we seek Him. We can trust in the Lord to conform us to His image as we mature in our faith.
As we’re reminded in Proverbs 22:6, we are to “teach a youth about the way he should go.” Here are a few simple tips on guiding your child to seek the Lord:
Model Bible study in your own lifestyle. Your relationship-building with God will become evident in the eyes of your child, and she’ll eventually want to follow your lead. Talk with her about the things you’re learning through Bible study and prayer time. This will show that you’re participating in spiritual growth just as you’re encouraging her to do in her own quiet times. Modeling is a great way of changing behavior in our children.
Establish time in prayer. Share with your child some answers to prayer that you’ve received from the Lord recently. This will become a positive reinforcement for her to pursue answers to her own life events through conversation with God. Hopefully she will then share some of those things with you. As this back-and-forth type of conversation happens regularly, your child will find that seeking the Lord’s will is a very natural, enjoyable aspect of the Christian life. A great Bible promise for children to learn is, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Remind your child of this verse often as you see God answering prayers.
Encourage your child to journal any questions and answers she is currently seeking from the Lord during her quiet times. Assure her that the spiritual journal is a private matter between herself and God. Writing down answers that God reveals will encourage her to continue building on a close relationship with Him as she waits to see how He responds to her needs.
Attend church regularly as a family. One thing that encourages Christians of all ages is fellowship with other believers. By participating in children’s and student ministries, kids can learn so much about growing in their faith! Again, as a parent, you should set the model for your children by attending worship and Bible study at your church on a regular basis. Discuss what you each learned that day as you return home. This can make for a fun, interesting way of comparing how God speaks to each of us differently through His Word.
As with other matters of education, you must seize moments throughout the day to teach your child to seek the Lord’s heart after she becomes a Christian. God delights to be in close relationship with all who know Him!
Dixie Walker has been in childhood ministry with families and teachers for the past 20 years. She and her family currently reside in the metro Atlanta area.
This article originally appeared in ParentLife Magazine (September 2014) For more articles like this, subscribe to ParentLife.