There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 4:18).
The primary ways you do this are through your attitudes, words, and actions. These three characteristics become the most significant shaping influences that will motivate your kids to either imitate or reject you, which will affect how they respond to Jesus. Though you cannot make your children righteous or unrighteous, God calls you to cooperate with Him in their salvation. You do this by modeling the life of Christ before them (Ephesians 5:1) and teaching them all the things He taught you (Matthew 28:19-20).
If you are not modeling and teaching the life of Christ to your children, the chances of them rejecting your Christianity by the time they are teenagers is exponentially higher than if you humbly present Christ to them while they are young. The biggest culprit that hinders their thoughts about Christ is fear, which is one of the first sin patterns you’ll see in their lives. So naturally, you want to be proactive in helping your child overcome fear, which is why I’ve listed seven negative patterns for your consideration. If any of these represent you, it would be wise to remove them from your life.
Some of these traits may be unavoidable, but you must know that they can become mental strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) that will negatively shape your child. Being born in Adam is to be born with fear, which makes fearfulness part of everyone’s Adamic wiring. Younger children are highly susceptible to fear; they need the security of a family community. If they do not find it, the temptation will be to hunt for a “safer” community outside of their family when they become older.
Running from fear and toward acceptance is one of the primary reasons a teen will distance himself from non-Christlike parents. He is looking for a more approving and loving community. Knowing this tendency and the accompanying temptations should motivate you to build a friendly and safe environment for your child. A simple biblical template to create this kind of home is the fruit of the Spirit constellation in Galatians 5:22-23. These nine elements give you a snapshot of what Christ was like and what you should be like to your children.
Examine Paul’s “template of Christlikeness” to see how well you are doing and how you may need to change. You can preface each Christ trait with this question: “Are my children experiencing (the fruit of the Spirit) through me?”
You cannot save your children or make them holy. You also cannot live perfectly. But you can choose not to complicate their lives, which you can do if you give them the most precise possible picture of Jesus.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).