Convictions are an important part about who we are. A conviction is a firm belief and something we carry with us throughout our lives, often giving our life purpose and direction. They guide us towards the actions and choices we feel are most deeply rooted within our character, giving us not only something to die for, but something to truly live for as well. Which is why it’s never too early to start acquiring strong convictions and to teach these convictions to our children. What convictions do you have? Can your children see how important those convictions are to you?
One of the most beautiful characteristics of Generation Z is that they are very cause-oriented. They don’t wish to simply live for the traditional, materialistic “American dream”, they wish to live for meaning and purpose while bettering the world around them. They are easily inspired to join big causes and, as such, culture is quick to share concerning issues with our children, encouraging them to get on board with those causes and inherit the convictions of others as their own. These convictions might not be bad things in and of themselves, but are they the most important? Are we offering our children the opportunity to truly share in the convictions God gave us that not only mean the most, but will also have the most positive impact on our world?
3 Convictions Worth Having
Let me suggest three convictions worth teaching your children to cherish: faith, family, and freedom. When these convictions are biblically solid, all other convictions or causes worth championing will naturally ensue out of these three as a result.
Now, “faith, family, and freedom” might sound like just a catchy alliteration—one you might even associate with American nationalism. But the world uses and defines these terms in its own way, so when we teach these three convictions to our children, we want to use them consistently the way they were meant to be used—rooted in biblical principles—to make sure kids know what we mean by them. That way, when they hear the terms used in different contexts out in the world, they can tell the difference between what is biblically solid and what is not.
The first conviction worth having and teaching your child is faith. Faith, as described in the Bible, is the conscious choice to stand on the promises of God. Faith is not a flippant term to describe believing in whatever you want to hope for; it’s not something as simple as, say, believing your favorite sports team can win. Faith is belief in the unshakeable, unchangeable promises and character of God, which you can trust.
Which means that an important facet of faith is learning to trust God, and profess that trust in God, even when things are hard. When we teach kids about faith, we want to teach them to be bold with their convictions and not intimidated by what the world says about them. To do this, lead by example by publicly expressing your own faith when the situation arises so kids can see how it’s done. When it comes time for your own child to express their faith, chances are it will likely be in a school. This can be a difficult social situation when freedom of religion is so hotly debated right now. However, in America, school children have legal standing to express their faith in the classroom, in homework assignments, and in school activities. They’re allowed to offer to lead the school in prayer and say anything they want as long as it’s not hateful or unkind.
Teach children that even if others don’t agree with them, the conviction to live by faith in God’s promises and express it freely is a cause worthy of sacrifice and one that brings Him (and us) joy. Also teach children that just because it’s their faith, doesn’t mean it’s everyone else’s, and to never react with hostility, disrespect, or defensiveness if someone doesn’t agree with them. Holding fast to your convictions should never mean disrespecting others, while we never want our own pride to affect a potential chance to be a witness of the love Jesus has for them.
To learn more about kids expressing their faith at school, search the CEF blog with the words “freedom” and “school.”
The second conviction worth cherishing is family. Family, when defined by biblical standards, is a sacred gift from God. Teach kids to cherish family by reaffirming your own commitment to it, even when things get hard. Frequently remind them of your gratitude for them and for the support of the family unit, tell your kids how much you love them, and be quick to both forgive and apologize when mistakes are made. Be sure to prioritize family time in your day-to-day as well, setting aside time to be together despite busy schedules or treating dinner as a daily family gathering—you don’t have to eat if you’re not hungry, but you do have to sit and spend time with everyone. If children don’t have access to their biological family or if family relations are strained, teach them how God is our family and of the love we can find in our Heavenly Father.
Every family relationship—spousal, parental, sibling, or a relative—is designed by God to teach us something about Himself. Protecting and upholding the family unit is both an important conviction and a fun concept to explore, as it teaches us more about different aspects of God’s character.
Especially in America, this third conviction, freedom, is often incorrectly associated with an attitude of rebellion—as in, “I can do whatever I want because it’s a free country”. From a biblical standpoint, however, God paints true freedom as something entirely different.
Jesus said that the truth of God’s Word sets you free. What does the truth set us free from? It sets us free from slavery to sin, guilt, and regrets. It sets us free from the weight and temptations of the world. The book of Romans has much to say about freedom from sin as it’s central to the gospel message, but the bottom line is this: God gave us free will and a free conscience to choose Him or not—a huge gift, and one given out of love for us and a desire for consensual relationship. That freedom comes with great responsibility to consistently choose the right path and to consistently choose to follow Jesus, but the rewards are great when we do.
True, biblical freedom is the antithesis to the rebellious freedom most people think of when they hear the word. When you pursue freedom through Christ as a cherished conviction, you aren’t pursuing an attitude of rebellion or of ruthlessly defending your possessions and privileges. You’re pursuing the conscious choice to run from sin, to seek Him, and to deny the temptations of the world because you already have what is most important: freedom through Jesus.
This is what we should be teaching our kids. Find ways to let children see you stand up for your biblical convictions on faith, family, and freedom. But don’t just be on the defensive, waiting for someone to take issue with your beliefs or convictions. Promote them! Revel in the joy, purpose, and fulfillment a life spent prioritizing your convictions in faith, family, and freedom in Christ brings. In the parable of the talents in Luke 19, Jesus tells the disciples to occupy and engage in the world until He returns, not hide in a corner and just try to survive until His return. Let’s show our kids that biblical faith, family, and freedom are causes worth living and dying for, and that every conviction in life must come from a biblical foundation.