Ask any good athlete who throws a ball, swings a bat, or swings a golf club, and they’ll tell you that same thing: it takes a good follow-through. You follow through with your arm after you release the ball. You follow through with the bat after you make contact. A good follow through is the key to better results in the performance of many sports.
We could draw the same conclusion in the all-important area of Christian education. When it comes to spiritual needs and the nurturing of Christ faith — whether it be for ourselves or for our children — it takes a good follow-through.
God’s Effective Method
Of course the type of “follow-through” that we need is not something we have to discover or perfect. God has spelled it out. God has given us the “follow-through” of His Word.
Remember what Jesus said to His followers? “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Remember what the Lord promised in the Old Testament? “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” God has promised that the teaching and the learning of His Word will bring good results. God has predicted that the faithful use of Scripture will produce good fruit in the hearts of young and old. We can trust God to keep His promise, because His Word has tremendous power to build up our knowledge and our faith in the saving truths of the Gospel.
Follow Through With Yourself
As parents and role models for our children, we can never live by the motto: “Do as I say, not as I do.” Children watch how their parents act and often mimic the habits of mom and dad. We teach by example, even in matters of our spiritual life.
Parents who make the time for prayer, family devotions, and Bible study will give their children the right example to follow in their future years. Those parents will also reap benefits for themselves. The influence of God’s Word is sure to give us greater knowledge of Christian doctrine, a steady growth in our faith, and motivation to serve in the Lord’s kingdom.
Before you follow through with your family, be sure to apply the “follow-through” of Scripture to yourself.
Follow Through With Your Children
In my study of the passages that pertain to Christian education, I’ve noticed a striking pattern. Most of God’s commands to instruct the child are given to parents rather than the church.
To parents God has said: “These words which I command you today . . . you shall teach them diligently to your children . . . ” (Deut. 6:6-7). To fathers God has said: “Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). God has given the responsibility of Christian education primarily to Christian parents. But that is not to say that the church shouldn’t help. By all means we should use the “follow-through” of Sunday School, confirmation class, Christian day school (if available) and ILC. But never should these programs and institutions of the church replace the involvement and the influence of parental training. Talks to your child about the problem of sin, the love of Christ, and the power of the cross. Discuss with your teenager the Lord’s will for chastity, marriage, money, and stewardship. Show them what God has said. God will surely follow through in the heart and mind of your child.
We can’t be absentee parents when it comes to the spiritual training of our children. But neither should we think that good results depend on human efforts. The follow-through of Christian education is entirely under the powerful control of the Holy Spirit who has said: “My word . . . shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is. 55:11).
When you follow through with the Word, the Word will follow through with you and your family.
— Pastor Steven Sippert