"Your Children Will Worship God or Idols"

What a frightening and piercing truth that should be to all of us as parents. Our children will either worship the one true God through faith in Jesus Christ and enjoy Him forever or they will worship the idols of the heart and perish forever because of that sin.

That truth is from chapter eight of Tedd and Margy Tripp's book Instructing a Child's Heart. In that chapter Tedd and Margy deal with casting a vision of the glory of God to your children. Children will either worship the greatness of God or they will worship the idols of their heart. Those idols include: power/influence, pride/performance, possessions, pleasure/sensuality, fear of man/desire for approval, friendship, and being "in the know."

The authors' comment in relation to those idols of the heart that they will never satisfy your child (or you and I for that matter) because we were created to be satisfied and amazed with Someone much greater, God.

Either your children will love and serve God or exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve created things rather than the Creator. Teach them to understand the heart's propensity to manufacture idols.

When you think of idols of the heart, don't think of scandalous sins. Think of harmless hobbies in which children will invest vast amounts of time. Think of the daydreams that provide excitement to a heart that is not finding true and lasting pleasures in knowing God.

Here a a few (several) more great quotes from the chapter:

Remember this. Your children are not likely to grow into adults who truly know God unless you provide them with a big God who is worthy of worship.

If you want your children to sing on Sunday, give them a glorious God. If you want your children to have a reason not to sin on Monday, give them a glorious God. If you want them to think of nobler things than the latest, mind-numbing video fantasy game, give them a glorious God. If want them to dream grander dreams than illicit sex or more money or more stuff, give them a glorious God. If you want them to have a reason for confidence when life seems to spin out of control, give them a glorious God.

Until your children have understood that it is worthwhile to divest of everything, that nothing in all the earth matters but knowing and loving Jesus, they will never know him and love him and serve him.

The authors warn parents, "Don't Feed the Idols."

Families are so overcommitted to activities that there is precious little time for meals together, family devotions, or simple conversation and family enjoyment.

I have observed children coming to church in their Little League uniforms. At 11:55, the family quietly slips out of the Lord's Day worship service. The game starts at noon and the coach won't play anyone who is late. The church is gathered to exult in God's presence and to hear his Word. The pastor is opening the Word of God. Just as he is getting to application, an entire family leaves the church because there is something more time sensitive--the child's participation in Little League. If this child concludes that life is found in knowing God it will be in spite of, not because of, his parents' examples.

I am not against enjoying the blessings God has given us...I am not arguing for asceticism. But don't present a worldview in which life consists in these things, and God is just the icing on the cake. God is the cake!

The authors mention a "Decision Tree" to be used by parents before enrolling their child in any activity:

    1. What is the committment required?
    2. What will it cost?
    3. How many hours each week will we be "on call'?
    4. Does this activity conflict with things of higher priority (i.e.
      family worship, family meals, corporate worship at church)?
    5. How will this impact the rest of the family?
    6. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?


Many Christians are cynical about whether their children can be moved by a vision for the glory of God. They can. They are made for this truth. It is the authentic answer to their deepest longings. It is self-authenticating truth. Your children can "get it."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that church should come before ball. The coaches don't all see it this way because church is not a part of their life. I dont coach in little league, but I do help coach in pee-wee basketball and when there is a kid on the team that can not be on time because of a Church event we do excuse them and if they make it after the church event is over we will let them play. I think that is how it should be. Kids or anyone else for that fact, should not be punished for their religous beliefs, and they should put God first!