There are many terribly sad verses in the Bible that have to do with individuals and families forsaking the Lord, but one sticks out in particular to me because of the role of the father. Eli was the head priest in Israel, he was a good and Godly man, but his weakness was his two sons who were also priests. In 1 Samuel 2 the Lord says of Eli’s two sons, Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12).
These two worthless men did not know the Lord…now I think when we read a phrase like this in Scripture we assume that these men must have been completely pagan, but here this is obviously not the case. Hophni and Phinehas (Eli’s sons) were priests they were raised by the head priest they obviously knew of the Lord, they knew His Word, and they knew the rituals and practices, but the desires of their hearts were set on the flesh (1 John 2:15–17).
Eli for a time was clueless to his son’s hearts. By the time he realized that Hophni and Phinehas’ hearts were hard toward the Lord it was too late. Do you know your child’s heart? In trying to understand the heart of our children, the first question we need to ask ourselves is, does my child have a desire to seek the Lord? As we all know this doesn’t necessarily mean that our children are following a strict list of “do’s” and “don’t,” but rather a “want” to know Jesus and live for Him. When our children do this (and the same is true for us) fruit is produced (Galatians 5:22–24).
Paul David Tripp in his book Age of Opportunity lists five signs of a “pursuit of God” in your child:
- Independent life of personal worship.
- Desire for corporate worship.
- Will pursue fellowship with the body of Christ.
- Will be relaxed and open to discussions about spiritual things.
- Approach decision making from a Biblical perspective.
Talk to your children about their relationship with Jesus. Pray specifically that your children would desire to love and serve Jesus. He loves them dearly and has blessed you with the unique opportunity to disciple them and grow them in the faith (Deuteronomy 6:4–9).
The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding is a nonprofit organization committed to building strong families by serving to bridge the cultural-generational gap between parents and teenagers.
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The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation teaches people how to explore the wisdom and depth of the Bible and apply its grace-centered message to the problems of daily living.
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