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Talking about Walking

What are your spiritual goals—or hopes—for your Christian children? What benchmarks of progress are you looking for in their relationship with God?

It’s not an easy question, and I think we can fall out of balance in one extreme or the other. On the one hand, some parents can become obsessive about their child’s spiritual development, pushing kids to feel big emotions in response to the grace of God or voluntarily perform great acts of service or simply display near-flawless attitudes of humility, obedience, or zeal much sooner than is reasonable.

In that way, we can be like the first-time parent who begins obsessing about the fact that his eight-month old can’t yet walk, driving himself to distraction looking up all the conditions that might eventually keep a baby from graduating from that “wounded soldier” crawl. We have to be patient and allow kids to develop at their own pace.

On the other hand, we wouldn’t think highly of any parents who did nothing to help their child move toward walking or feeding herself or graduating from diapers. We expect parents to participate in the development of their kids’ physical progress.

As believers, we can also set spiritual goals for our kids that are way too low, hoping for nothing more than a little respect, obedience, and avoidance of “big sins” like sex, drugs, and grand theft auto.

In the middle somewhere, is a healthy attitude that expects to see our Christian kids making progress toward walking after Jesus in some specific ways—not as a legalistic list of do’s and don’ts, but as a normal part of their spiritual maturity. (We should expect to see these same things in ourselves, as well.)

To that end, we’re hoping to talk with our kids this week (and next) about some of the walking skills listed in Romans 12:9-21. And we hope a few of the questions below will help to get that conversation going.

You might want to have a Bible handy to read a few of these verses together if that fits naturally into some of the talking time you have available.

Talking Points

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Ask God to help your child not to get the details of God’s commands wrong. (See Gen. 3:2-3.)

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