I was surprised to discover that some Christians believe that they can “train” their children to love Jesus. Frankly, I find this a bit disturbing because how can one “train” children? They’re not animals. And when Christians say train, it usually means a great deal of corporal punishment is being used as in the Michael Pearl style.
I don’t want to get to involved in what the Hebrew meaning of “train” is for this post as I believe the Christians claiming that they must “train” their children are using “train” wrongly anyway.
Can you truly train anyone, let alone children, to love? Does God train us to love Him?
According to the Bible, we are not trained by God to love Him.
“We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19, KJV).
And how did He show us love?
”But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NASB).
No, God never “trains” us to love Him because that would pretty much be forcing us to love Him. God prefers true love that can only come from deep within our hearts because we have seen and felt God’s love for us. He is gentle and patient while He waits for us to accept His great love for us and reciprocate it back to Him!
Another thing, young children have a special knowledge of Who God is. They already love Him.
“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants'” (Matthew 11:25, NASB).
“From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease” (Psalm 8:2, NASB).
We just need to cultivate that knowledge and love for Him through reading His Word to them, including them in prayer and worship without forcing it on them, and, most importantly, showing them God’s amazing love by modeling it to them through treating them and others with compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and grace.
We don’t need to worry about “training” our children to love Jesus nor fighting for their souls. Rather, we need to worry about accurately portraying God’s loving character to them so that true love for God and others will last a lifetime!