Every Christian parent wants their kids to live in the hope and joy found only in Christ. But every day, our kids talk to kids who disagree with what we’ve taught them. At school, in the neighborhood, and even at church, your child will hear, “Has God really said that?” “God isn’t really going to do that!” “That’s just make-believe.” How can we prepare our children to know what is true and what is a lie?
The Bible warns us of God’s enemy, Satan. From the beginning of time, Satan has lied to keep us from trusting God. Satan easily deceives us. Without God’s powerful Word, our kids trust in cultural trends. Each new philosophy and temptation tries to carry them away. What can we as parents do? We can teach them to look to Jesus, who triumphed over Satan at the cross. When Pilate asked, “What is truth?” Jesus answered, “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).
And although it’s true that God, in Christ, delivers believers from the penalty our sin deserves, we still struggle constantly with sin on this Earth. This can be a hard reality for our children to grasp. How can we help our family understand the struggles we face and, at the same time, the hope we have in Jesus? God’s truth responds to our biggest questions and our inner struggles. Here are three truths to hold on to as you prepare your family to celebrate the foundation of our hope — Christ’s death and resurrection.
1. Satan’s lies battle against God’s truth
The serpent whispers, “True happiness comes through what you have and do.” “Who needs to be Jesus’ friend? Live for yourself and be happy.” “Why tell the truth when no one else is?” “Don’t you have a right to be angry?” Let the truth of God’s Word drown out Satan’s lies. In the Holy Spirit’s power, we can help our kids identify the lies.
We can expect Satan’s lies to battle with God’s truth in our minds and hearts. When we least expect it, doubt and fear will suddenly fill our kids’ hearts. Prepare for those moments. Give your family the hope we all need — Jesus truly saves! In Christ, God loves and forgives us. And God assures us that he is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). As we trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit makes the truth more powerful than the next new lie (2 Timothy 3:15-18).
2. God has a bigger purpose in our suffering
Our world expects parents to teach their kids to look on the bright side. But what happens when the bright side is hard to find? God doesn’t ask us to pretend that things are good when they are bad. Instead, God calls us to cry out to him. The psalmist says, “Pour out your hearts before him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). Prayers of lament and repentance let your kids hear you talk to God about your fears, impulses, and discouragements. They may begin to see the connection between our struggles and our need to depend on God.
We may think our kids need to hear “feel-good” prayers, but we don’t have to pretend all is well. God, in his Word and by his Spirit, is with us in life’s struggle. He invites us and our kids to ask hard questions. “Why do Christians still struggle with sin?” “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” “Why do people get sick and die?” Hard questions can lead our kids to the solid hope in Christ they need.
As Easter approaches, follow Jesus on his hard road to the cross. You can read excerpts from A Jesus Easter with your family. It tackles 25 of Satan’s lies with God’s eternal truth. It may lead your kids to ask more tough questions: “Jesus had done nothing wrong, so why did bad people accuse him?” “Why did they call Jesus names and beat him?” “Why did Jesus have to suffer and die?” As your family reads the Scriptures together, teach your kids to watch for God — his person and promises. Open God’s Word, and show your family what it means to look for God’s bigger purpose. Our loving heavenly Father is at work, making us more like his Son, Jesus.
3. Hardship teaches us to hope in God
Our children hope for many things that may or may not happen. But there’s no maybe about hope in God. Resurrection hope in God means we can be certain his Word is true. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and open the way for us to be God’s children. He rose to life, defeating Satan, sin, and death forever. Now God’s children know that they, too, will be raised to new life after they die (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Our kids can know that Jesus empowers his children to live the life he died to give them. Our bodies will die, yet we will be resurrected in a glorified body. Death and sin can never touch us again (Philippians 3:21).
Easter is a special time to look to the cross of Christ and his resurrection — to refresh our hope in God if we have already trusted in Jesus, and to point our children to salvation if they have not yet trusted in him. Jesus frees us from the power of sin (Romans 6:17-18). The more this amazing truth takes hold of us, the more we experience a taste of victory. The truth our kids believe can overpower whatever lies Satan throws at them. And when they sin, they will find grace and comfort in repentance and forgiveness. Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us (John 14:2-3). One day he will come for us. We will live with him in his kingdom without sin (1 John 3:1-3). He will wipe away every tear. We will only have pefect joy, forever (Revelation 21:3-4; 22:5).
When doubts and sins threaten our children’s hearts, hope in Jesus keeps them safe. God’s Word tells the truth about sin and suffering so that our families can find freedom, hope, and joy in Christ. You don’t have to live in fear of the wrong opinions and lies that your children will encounter. Let God’s Word guide your family, make them wise, and strengthen. Make this Easter a time for your family to discover true hope through faith in Jesus Christ.