Ask Alex

How do I help my kids care about Jesus?


God’s heart is with you as you seek to encourage your children to follow God—for their sake’s and for His glory! One of the first questions that might be wise to ask is how much your children can see Jesus means to you. Sometimes people can care deeply about Jesus and live their lives for Him, but their children might only see certain parts of that. Others make church a priority but it can be hard to see that Jesus Himself is the priority. There are so many situations. But still, the heart of the matters is how devoted we are to Jesus, since we as parents are called to be the primary example to our children of what it looks like to follow Him.

Regardless of where you land on that first question, the next thought is in line with that. Can you begin to make much more of Jesus in your own life? Can you begin to direct your daily conversations more and more towards Him and His kingdom, the things He cares about? Are there things God has been telling you are important for a long time that you have neglected to obey? Could you step out in faith and begin to reorganize your life and priorities so that obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading becomes the primary way you make decisions? Is the way you eat, spend your money, use your time, and treat people pointing towards Jesus? As the answers to these questions begin to become closer to what we all know is honorable to God, the people in our lives—especially our children, can more easily see Jesus as the treasure that He is through us. And no matter how much we may have failed in the past, God can always give us a new start. That’s the amazing power that rose Christ from the dead and saves dead sinners to give them new life!

It can feel like nagging to try and get our children—particularly teenagers or adults—to care about the things of God. But if you’re inviting them to enjoy the God you’re enjoying and experience the blessing you’re experiencing, that’s attractive. And if God is what life is all about, and if you can help them see that with normal, everyday things that you are taking to God, then maybe they might want to go to God about everyday life, too. Each generation and person is different, and though a sense of duty may motivate some of us to stay in church—but we’ll still miss God’s heart—others won’t be motivated by it. And really, for people to want more from life and from God than duty and church attendance is a good thing, but it’s our job to help them see that the more can come from God as we ourselves seek it from Him.

Now, there is also a reality we have to pay attention to where this world and especially culture through media are calling young people away from the faith. Unfortunately, the subject of truth itself and the validity of the Bible are key places where Satanic spiritual forces are most focused on attacking young people in our time. Young people are being constantly bombarded with the idea that truth is relative and that what works for one person does not have to be true at all times and in all places. They are getting this from every direction, especially through media. So your kids may well be able to believe that the Bible says something is wrong, believe they love God, and still do something consistently that God says is wrong because it “works for them,” and can’t possibly be wrong for everyone at all times. This is a gross misunderstanding of the Scriptures, but it’s the battle we are all facing. As you love your kids, you will have to seek God to help you be strong for the subject of the absolute truth of God’s Word. That’s part of love, sharing truth that will save someone from tremendous pain and heartache. The fact is, Jesus came in real history and has a real identity and a real and truly narrow road He calls people to walk, and as Lord, He gets to be in charge. If we say we follow Him but do not strive to obey Him, we are lying to ourselves and do not belong to Him. All of us are called to test ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5-7).

So, above all, love Jesus yourself. Secondly, listen to your kids to hear their heart. Thirdly, share how Jesus meets that real need. Lastly, never stop praying.

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

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