Even if my kids are growing up in a home where they hear about God’s word and Edric and I try our best to role-model what it means to follow God, our children aren’t exempted from the spiritual battle for their hearts and minds.
Some weeks ago I sat down with my second son, Edan, because Elijah, my eldest, said, “Mom, Edan has doubts that Jesus is real.”
For those who have followed Edan’s history on this blog, you might remember that Edan was about three years old when he favored the word NO and tended to be withdrawn, disinterested, and habitually “un-smiley.” Edric and I decided it was time for him to hear the gospel. When Edric shared God’s story of salvation through Jesus Christ, Edan readily acknowledged that he needed Jesus and earnestly desired to go to heaven someday. Soon after he made this decision, he changed, too.
From Mr. No he transformed into a sweet, tender-hearted, and kind son who was thoughtful and friendly. This was the Holy Spirit’s work in his life and I marveled at how vastly different he was from his originally negative self.
When I discovered that he struggled with doubts about the personhood of Christ it surprised me but I accepted it as a reasonable response to spiritual matters. Elijah came to that point, too, and over the years I’ve encouraged him to keep digging into Scripture and examining the claims of the Bible. The last thing I want is for my kids to adopt a belief system that they do not understand. I don’t want Christianity to be cultural for them.
Statistics show that in America, most children who grow up in Christian homes (about 89%) abandon their faith by the time they reach college. Shocking, isn’t it? Why do good Christian parents fail to pass on their spiritual heritage?
Given the human-centered philosophies that pervade the present generation, the anti-God influences that saturate the media and the amoral celebrities and popular people whom our children look up to, we have to acknowledge that our kids are growing up in a spiritually-hostile world. Without a solid faith foundation and bible-based convictions, we can’t expect them to navigate through the hostility without becoming causalities.
I sat down with Edan to explain why faith in Jesus is reasonable. It took up a chunk of our homeschool morning, but as we lingered in our discussion as mother and son, I thought to myself, This is why I homeschool my kids…for moments like this one, when I have the privilege of influencing their hearts towards Christ and His plan and purpose for their lives.
Whenever my kids have faith questions, I welcome them. Questions are a good thing! During a recent retreat, a woman who was very skeptical about the Bible, made a joke about herself. She said something like this, “If I were to attend Bible studies, I may get kicked out for asking too many questions.” My response to her was, “It’s okay to have questions. God doesn’t want us to have blind faith in Him. He wants us to seek after Him.”
When I think about my children’s doubts and their desire for evidence as they grow in their understanding of God, who He is, who they are and His plan for their lives, I am glad they are asking their questions now, while they are at home, while Edric and I can lead them to the answers. Furthermore, they challenge us to review the basis of our own belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior of our own lives.
What can we know about Jesus Christ?
Jesus was a real person, a historical figure. There are many secular and non-secular evidences that confirm that Jesus Christ was an actual person. Here are some of the more notable ones:
In his Antiquities, the famous Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, refers to James as “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.”
The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) confirms Jesus’ crucifixion on the eve of Passover and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.
The first-century Roman Tacitus, who is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world, mentioned superstitious “Christians” (from Christus, which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. (Source: gotquestions.org)
Furthermore, why would Jesus’ supposed disciples die for him if his existence were a lie? Many of these martyrs suffered gruesome deaths!
“There is more evidence that Jesus of Nazareth certainly lived than for most famous figures of the ancient past” Paul L. Maier, The Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History, Western Michigan University
Because Jesus was a real person, we must consider his claims, which were unlike any other made by religious teachers we know of today.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity)
Jesus claimed to be God and He said that He would die for the sins of man and be raised on the third day. It would be very easy to deny his deity if we can prove that He never rose again from the dead. However, no person who has tried to make a case against the resurrection has ever succeeded in doing so. In fact, skeptics who have attempted to disprove the resurrection (brilliant ones like the knighted Sir Lionel Luckhoo and investigative journalist, Lee Strobel) came to the conclusion that evidence supports the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So if Jesus claimed to be God and He rose again from the dead as proof, then His claim to be God was true. He is God.
“The scientific data point powerfully toward the existence of a Creator and that the historical evidence for the resurrection establishes convincingly that Jesus is divine.” Lee Strobel, Finding the Real Jesus: A Guide for Curious Christians and Skeptical Seekers.
Since Jesus is God, we can believe His other claims, such as, “I came that you might have life and might have it more abundantly,” and “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” and “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” We can stake our lives on His promises. We can live and die for them.
People who come to Jesus experience changed lives. I’m talking about people who are prideful, angry, lost in sin, and enslaved to destructive choices that hurt themselves and those around them. Just the other evening we were having dinner with a couple who nearly gave up on their marriage because the husband had an affair. Their marriage was in shambles but after coming to Jesus and surrendering their lives to Him, they decided to rebuild their marriage. Today they are completely different people from the persons Edric and I first met. There is peace, joy, and the desire to live a holy life. How do these miracles happen? The Bible tells us, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed, behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Their story is similar to countless others who have been set free by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, having witnessed and heard stories about people delivered from demonic oppression in the name of Jesus gives compelling evidence that Jesus is real to the spirit world, too!
When Edan and I ended our conversation, he was in tears and we embraced each other. My children hunger for truth. They need to have an anchor that keeps them grounded when doubts flood their minds. The doubts will come. When they do, will they cling to what they know about God? Will they entertain the lies they are fed by the evil one or will they be able to counter him with truth? As my father used to tell me, “the greatest battlefield is in the mind.” My children are engaged in the same battle. It is my job and Edric’s to prepare and equip them.
Finally, my prayer is that they will all finish well. I can’t believe for them. They must determine for themselves whether Jesus is real, and whether they can entrust their lives to Him. But it starts with Edric and me establishing our own faith convictions and teaching our children what these are. We can’t assume that they will “get it” by osmosis. There has to be intentional effort on our part to model, encourage, teach, and help them answer their faith questions.
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10 – 17
13 thoughts on “When Children Doubt That Jesus is Real”
THANK YOU for this write up, my daughter had the same doubts…
Thank you soo much Ms.JOY for this wonderful story of Eden, like me also experienced it but still I’d tried to be more close to GOD. I think I just don’t know how to start to claim something to him.???? ???? Hope you can help me ????
Hi Cherry! It really begins with acknowledging that we need Jesus, that we are sinners and fall short of God’s standard of holiness. (Romans 3:23) But because God loves us so much, He provided a way through the death of His Son, to cover our sins. (John 3:16) When we receive this gift of forgiveness from Him and claim, by faith, that He has made a way for us to be reconciled to God, then He washes away our sins and makes us new creations. (Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Corinthians 5:17). We have a new beginning! It’s like being born again to new life in Christ. To grow in our faith, it is important to read God’s word — the Bible. You can start with the gospel of John, to get to know Jesus better and how much God loves you. And then I suggest you join a church organization and small group where you can grow with others who desire to seek God also. I don’t know what your background is or what church you belong to but you can check out ccf.org.ph for more information. 🙂
If you are a follower of Jesus and still feel like your relationship with Him is dry, then I suggest you also start looking for a small group where you can grow in your understanding of what it means to follow Christ. Sometimes we have residual issues that haven’t been dealt with, that can be like “plugs” that keep us from experiencing the abundant life that God has promised us. When I say abundant, I’m not referring to financial blessings (although that can be a part of it), rather I’m referring to deep satisfaction, joy, and peace in the Lord. Sometimes this block in your spiritual life can be a sin, or a wrong perspective, maybe even unforgiveness or unresolved conflicts in relationships, or wounds from your past, or even demonic oppression due to strongholds like occult practices in your past or experiences. Next year, our church will have a program called Glorious Hope (which they run every year). Perhaps you can attend this. It’s an 18 week series every Saturday that helps people overcome issues in their past and present that they have trouble identifying or getting away from. You can contact ccf.org.ph for more information on this as well 🙂
Hi, Ms. Joy!
I’ve been visiting your blog these days and every time I do, God never fails to bless me through the gift of writing He has generously given you.
Every time I finished reading your past entries, I would decide not to leave any comments and just be content with reading other people’s, but this one is just so timely I couldn’t help but to do it now. I am about to disciple one of my 7 year-old students in Sunday school, and I’m a bit lost on how to start. Then, I read this post. You know what? I got the answer! Haha! Of course, we always lead people to Jesus by letting them know who He is and what He has done (the Gospel) in the first place. So, I’m excited now to start my fellowship with my student by letting her know Who we are going to talk about for the coming days. GOD IS JUST SOOOOO GOOD! 🙂
I also bought your book, read it for a couple of times (especially that chapter about the three fathers). Thanks for making me cry. Haha! Praise God for a wonderful story He has written through your life. God bless you and your family. 🙂
I’m so glad you were blessed! Praise God!!! All glory to Him
Thank you so much for sharing this Ms Joy 🙂 Your children are all wonderful, thanks be to God! I love how you and your husband openly and lovingly tried to explain, who Jesus was and who is, to your little kids. Praying for your family <3
Kids need this nowadays. Will share this to my pamangkins. Thank you 🙂
Hope it helps, Kris!
Thanks a lot.. It’s helping me now..and I’m sure in the future when I encounter curious Christians 🙂
I realized I need to be walking in the Holy Spirit not just for myself but also for my kids. Thanks!
We recently transferred to a local ccf. We attended another church service before but I just kept going back to your father’s podcasts. Truth is, they were more aligned to what I’ve been reading in the Bible. It was as if God was walking me through every day til Sunday as we know He is.
We’re starting from scratch again but I think that’s good because we just became new parents and what I’ve noticed w ccf is they give importance to family more than anything. I know a day will come when I have to share God’s word to my child. After going to the new services and checking out old podcasts especially of your mom’s testimonies, I’m looking at the bible more determined and focused on what I need to search for so that by God’s grace and guidance, we can lead her to the passages of hope and love. Anything is possible with God and with the Holy Spirit I pray that I pass on His truth and not leave the next generation to themselves.
I read pastor john piper’s old sermons and he said that we cannot leave our children to magically find out who Jesus is. The command in the bible is to show them where to go and who God is.
Thanks for your blog. I look forward to your new posts.