The new pop song right now that is causing such an uproar is Katy Perry’s song, “I Kissed a Girl.” Erin mentioned it the other day and I did some of my own research. (I have a kid who is a brilliant song writer and musician so I felt an affinity for the parents of Katy - someday if she decides to do anything with her music, they could be interviewing me) Here is a girl who grew up in a Methodist home with two Methodist preachers as parents. Her first album (under Katy Hudson) was a “Christian” album. (Here is a link to the lyrics of the album.) But if you ever watched her videos I Kissed a Girl, or the one out on the charts now, you would have assumed that there was no Christianity in her upbringing. Or at least her parents really messed up in her upbringing. That is what I would have thought a year or so ago.
See, I believed that if you would teach your kids about Jesus, maybe even home school them, serve the church with them together and teach them to abstain from the world that they would grow up to be great Christians when they were older.
I know better now.
The thing that has struck me over the past year is the fact that each of my children need to have their own encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. The other thing that I now realize is that I can’t make this encounter happen. I can’t spoon feed the truth to my children and have it change their hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can do this.
I used to think that it was up to me whether they turned out Christian or Pagan. Now I realize it is up to them. Just by getting them to ‘believe’ the right things or mouth the right words or say the right prayers at a young age does not guarantee that they would ‘follow’ the right path. It is more than that.
Jesus did not stroll past Matthew and say - “Believe in me Matthew,” or, “Say this about me, Matthew.” He said, “Follow me, Matthew.” Believing did not make Matthew a disciple. Following did.
Whether our children are raised in a non-Christian environment or a Christian one is not the deciding factor. What our children DO with the information is. They have to look at Jesus and decide whether or not to follow him. And here’s the kicker! Katy Perry needs to decide this but so also does the good little girl who is still un-pierced, wearing modest clothing, un-drugged and is still singing in the church choir or praise team. Because the good little girl is not off scott free just by following all the expectations that her Christian upbringing is providing for her. She too needs to make a choice. She too needs her own run-in with Jesus. Because without an actual salvation experience, she will just become a Pharisee and never a disciple. We might like this better than the Katy Perry’s out there but frankly I think they just might do greater damage.
As I look at the vast differences in my own 7 kids, as I look at their differing personalities, as I discern their separate strengths and weaknesses, and as I see some of the paths that they have decided to take I realize one thing. I need to pray that somewhere on their own paths - whether the paths that look ‘Christian’ or decidedly ‘un-Christian’ - Jesus will some day step into the way and say, “Follow Me.” I pray when that day comes they will decide to step off their path and follow him into the wilderness of the life He wants them to have.
My job in all of this???? To live life with the Father, the life of discipleship, that will make them want what I have. I’m out to make them jealous of my relationship with Him and show them that it is possible for them too. If I do that…I have accomplished the discipleship of my children that I long to do.
And who knows…I might have a tattooed, pierced, little girl who absolutely is in love with her Heavenly Father. Now that would be really cool.