“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Heb 11:1.
“Faith is choosing to live as though the Bible were true regardless of circumstances, emotions, or cultural trends.”1 I use that faith definition with our students almost every week. It is a great way to help students understand what it means to live in faith. It helps them to take what we learn from the Bible and to ask the question: “What does this mean to my life?”
So, the big question for parents is, “How do you model and teach ‘choosing to live as though the Bible is true?’” You have to figure out what it looks like to be a faithful family, a family who lives out belief in faith in every circumstance. First, let’s consider this idea: faith is something you do.
Faith is not the same thing as belief. You can believe something that makes no difference in your life. You can believe something that requires you to do nothing. I believe that the border between Canada and the Unites States is a thing, but it makes no difference to my daily life, I don’t have to do anything because of that border. UNTIL I go to cross it. Then suddenly I have to do something, I have to check-in with the Canadian authorities. Now, my belief in that line makes a difference to my life.
You must have belief to have faith but having belief does not necessarily mean that you have faith. Belief is the 1st step, faith is every step thereafter. Taking your kids to church does not teach them faith. Taking them twice a week still won’t teach them faith. Someone has to model faith for them and talk to them about what it looks like to “live as if the Bible were true.”
You might believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that it is important to your daily life. I certainly believe this. However, it doesn’t become faith until I go home and open my Bible at home. It doesn’t become faith until I read scripture to find out what it says to me about who God is and what he wants from me.
If your kids are going to get this, you have to ask questions of them from scripture. If they learn about giving to the need in Matthew 6, ask the question, “Who does God want us/you to help?” If you’re in a church like FBC Monahans that has a clothes closet you can get some clothing together and take it to the clothes closet with you kids and explain why you’re doing it. You can also help them learn to give money.
At that point, what you are teaching is faith. You cannot forget the belief part, don’t teach them a set of behaviors, start with who Jesus is, then what the Word of God teaches, then show them how to live that out in faith.
1 Ron & Della Proctor, Mentoring 101 (Orlando, FL: CCCI, 2009), p. 8.