While we are instructed to teach our children to hide God’s Word in their hearts, we must be completely reliant on Jesus when it comes to changing and molding the hearts of our children. It is only the power of God that brings about real change. . . .
We need to be careful to guard against wrong motives. Our motive for depending on Christ and teaching our children to depend on Christ should not be to become good parents with good kids who enjoy the fullest of blessings in life. So many become Christians because of the promise of Jesus in the second part of John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We think as parents, “If I come to Jesus and lead my children to Jesus, we will all have peace and joy and experience life abundantly.” While that is true, it is not the reason we come to Christ. When we come to Christ for what we can get out of it, we can become disoriented in our faith when we do “all the right things” in parenting and our children go astray. We think, “I have put my trust in Christ and encouraged my children to do the same. I expected happiness and look what has happened.”
While the promise of “peace, joy, and abundant life” in John 10:10 is the result of the gospel, it is not the essence. The essence of the gospel is found in the next verse John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” The essence of the gospel is not what Jesus will do for us. It is what he has already done for us. Jesus bore the punishment we deserved when he died on the cross, forgiving all of our past, present, and future sins in totality. So the gospel for parents should not be about “I want to get saved and depend on Christ and teach my children to do the same so that all will go well in our lives.” The gospel for parents should be about, “I want to get saved and depend on Christ and teach my children to do the same because he gave his life for us. Therefore, I want to spend my life and encourage my children to spend their lives, worshipping, honoring, and praising him for the holy God he is.”