The # 1 Factor in a Child’s Spiritual Health as an Adult (And Why We Should be Encouraged as Parents)
I recently stumbled upon some Lifeway Research (Read it Here) in which they conducted a study where they researched the main factors in a child’s life that predicted an inclination to Christian spiritual health as an adult. They primarily looked for similar indicators between Christian adults practicing their faith regularly, and what they did as a child. The number one factor?
Regular Bible reading.
A few of my friends and I sat together, discussing this study, and agreed we actually felt relief and encouragement from these results. We are in the trenches of parenting, hoping and praying and doing the best we can to encourage a love for God in our kids’ hearts. And these results from Lifeway? While certainly flawed and imperfect, they could suggest:
We don’t have to despair if we can’t afford the expensive, private school down the road.
We don’t have to worry about finding the most entertaining youth pastor.
We don’t have to stress about finding the “perfect” church for our child. (Which we know doesn’t exist anyway.)
We don’t have to live in fear if our child hasn’t found a group of wonderful, godly friends.
We don’t have to panic if we can’t find a local Awana Club.
We don’t have to strive to find the coolest faith-based social media account for them to follow.
We don’t have to search endlessly and spend beyond our budget for that enticing Church camp.
We don’t have to lay awake at night and over-analyze all the ways we should be articulating the gospel better.
While God can use all things (including those above) to draw our child closer to Him, it’s the simple turning of the pages of Scripture, the pursuit of God Himself through His word that remains the most powerful factor in anyone’s walk with God. And the reading of Scripture with our child can be done if we are rich or poor, a single parent/working parent/couple, if we live in a busy city or a suburb, if we live in America or another country, an apartment or house… We could go on.
And a note to the parent who is discouraged by these results: This Lifeway study is manmade. While it attests to the power of God’s Word, it’s not childhood Bible reading itself that changes, it’s God Himself who does. These results are not about deriving a formulaic approach to parenting or piling on guilt. It is, hopefully, an encouragement to us as parents to help our children hide God’s Word in their heart.
It’s been there all along. He’s been there all along. Drawing us closer to Him through His perfect Word, no matter how young or old we are. And since we know Bible reading starts with us as parents, if you need a little encouragement, read: “3 Tips When We Don’t Feel Like Reading the Bible” HERE.