If children grow up believing there’s nothing worth dying for, they’ll end up feeling like there’s nothing worth living for.
It’s never too early to start acquiring strong convictions. A conviction is a firm belief. So, we need to ask ourselves, “What convictions do we have?” More importantly, how deeply do they run? Do they run deeply enough that we’re willing to die for them? And more relevantly, are we willing to make sacrifices to live for them? Can our children see just how important our convictions are to us?
A characteristic of Generation Z is that they are very cause-oriented. They don’t wish to live for the traditional materialistic American dream, they wish to live for meaning and purpose. They are easily inspired to join big causes. Other people are sharing concerning issues with them and encouraging them to get on board with those causes. Are we offering our kids something meaningful to live for, or are we letting others have greater influence with their convictions?
Let me suggest three convictions worth dying—and living for: faith, family and freedom. When these convictions are biblically solid, all other convictions or causes can be evaluated and built on them.
Now, “faith, family and freedom” makes a great sound bite, the terms even alliterate! But the world uses them and defines them its own way, so we want to use them consistently with biblical principles and make sure kids know what we mean. Then, when they hear the terms used in different ways, they can tell the difference.
Faith, as described in the Bible, is standing on the promises of God. So, we don’t want to use it like it’s just believing for whatever you want to hope for, like believing your favorite sports team can win. It’s believing in the unshakeable, unchangeable promises of God which you can take to the bank.
Teach kids to be bold with their faith and not intimidated. Express your faith in God’s promises in public forums so kids can see how it’s done. School children have legal standing to express their faith in the classroom, in homework assignments and school activities. They’re allowed to offer to lead in prayer and say anything they want as long as it’s not unkind. The conviction to live by faith in God’s promises and express it freely is a cause worthy of sacrifice. If you need to know more about kids expressing faith at school, search the blog with the words “freedom” and “school.”
Family is God’s idea, regardless of how people want to redefine it. Don’t use the term loosely, for every group you feel close with, so children understand it’s something sacred. Affirm your commitment at every opportunity. When family relations get hard, say, “I’m committed to this family.” Dinner time together should be valued over busy schedules and not depend on whether family members think they’re hungry. Every family relationship—spousal, parental, sibling, is designed by God to teach us something about Himself. It’s a fun concept to explore, and an important conviction.
Freedom is often associated with an attitude of rebellion—as in, “I can do whatever I want cuz it’s a free country” so this conviction takes a lot of intentional training. Jesus said that the truth of God’s Word sets you free. What does truth set us free from? Slavery to sin, guilt, and regrets. The book of Romans has much to say about freedom from sin—it’s central to the gospel message. God gave us a free will and free conscience to choose Him or not—a huge gift. Freedom comes with great responsibility but the rewards are also great.
Find ways to let kids see you stand up for your biblical convictions on faith, family and freedom. But don’t just be on the defensive, promote them. 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 to live and die for, and that every cause in life must come from a biblical foundation.
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