Second, to entrust your children to God is to teach them doctrine. Our children and teens are seeking answers to two basic developmental questions: “Who am I?” and “What do I believe?” Thanks to smartphones and social media, culture is catechizing (teaching) our kids around the clock. While they are turning to their devices to make sense of life in the world, we must lead them into the deep, liberating, and life-giving Word of God, which is the only source of truth. Deuteronomy 6:4–9 reminds us that we are to be intentional about constantly and diligently teaching them God’s Word, showing them how it speaks to all of life. Our approach is to be multisensory as we talk, sit, walk, lie down, and rise up with God’s Word on our lips and in our lives. We teach sound doctrine by enlisting the tools of age-appropriate catechisms, family devotions, and the everyday teachable moments that offer opportunities to pass on the truths of God’s Word. But teaching doctrine, while essential, is not enough.
Third, to entrust your children to God is to train them in righteousness (1 Tim. 4:6–10). Knowing sound doctrine is a worthless pursuit if that doctrine is not translated into everyday living. Our parenting should be directed to the end not just of honoring God with our lips but of glorifying Him with our lives (Mark 7:6). One way that parents can teach this is to look for those everyday opportunities to employ what I call the World-Word-Walk paradigm. It starts with keeping your ears and eyes open to the current cultural narrative. What is the world teaching our kids? We point these things out and then examine them with our children under the light of God’s Word. Finally, we think and pray with them about how God’s Word is calling them to walk obediently to God’s glory in the midst of a world that teaches them to live contrary to the gospel.
Fourth, to entrust our children to God is to completely entrust our children to God. While we have been given the responsibilities to tend, teach, and train, we cannot drag, push, or pull our kids screaming and kicking into the kingdom of God. There is no guarantee that we will see the results that we want, in the way that we want, or in the time that we want. No, “salvation belongs to the Lord” (Ps. 3:8; see also Rev. 7:10). It is only the Holy Spirit, working in His way and His time, who will call our children to faith. We need to constantly remind ourselves of what I heard R.C. Sproul say on many occasions: “God has entrusted the ministry of the Word to us, not its results.” Our high calling is to be faithful and obedient—and to leave the rest up to God.
My dad was a pastor, and he would often end worship services with words of benediction that I’ve turned into a prayer that I’ve prayed often for my own children and grandchildren: “Lord, as they go on their way, may You Yourself go with them. May You go before them to show them the way, behind them to protect them, beside them to comfort them, above them to watch over them, and within them to give them peace. Amen.” And thanks be to God that my parents prayed these same words for me.