How do I teach my kids the difference between following the rules of faith and having a passion for serving God?

There’s a lot of tension in our lives as parents between having kids obey God, and then really doing it from deep down in their heart. 

I get this question a lot: “How do I get my kids to really have a passionate love for God and obey Him? Do I just teach them the rules?” 

It’s not something you teach, it’s something you demonstrate. They need to see in your life a passionate overflowing love of Jesus Christ that shows itself in very specific ways. 

One is you do obey God. Your heart breaks when you disobey Him. You repent quickly. And then you’re very others-oriented, you focus outwards. 

When kids are brought up in an environment that is authentic they actually see what grace looks like with sweat all over it. They actually see God’s love played out day to day. They see parents that operate with the fruit of the Spirit—the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, self-control. Then they’ll know it’s true. 

As they live in that environment and let God work in their heart, He will grow them into that. Meanwhile, in the process they’ll learn the truth about God. 

But don’t assume that just because you’ve taught them the rules and the word, that now they’ve got it. Because you see, it’s here (pointing to his head). And until it’s down here (pointing to his heart), it’s not going to make a difference. 

So just show them what it looks like to be passionate about God and watch what happens. He’ll do an extraordinary thing through your example.