The gospel matters for your eleven-year-old

Posted on September 25, 2015 · Posted in Gospel, Parenting

Your eleven-year-old hears things. Your daughter sees the constant allure of commercials.  She hears the taunts and the temptations of the schoolyard. She feels an inner dread growing out of her many fears. She knows the darkness personally from the fears and brokenness caused by her own sin. She also knows of the darkness from the ugliness of the world around her.  Whatever the source, she has seen and experienced the attacks of the kingdom of darkness. She was born a slave to this darkness. The good news is that Jesus is able to rescue her from darkness. Your daughter needs the comfort of knowing the grace of the gospel matters for her!

The world offers alternatives to the gospel. The world offers its own solutions for your eleven-year-old.  Many of the answers the world offers may be good things in themselves: education, enjoyment of the outdoors, athletic accomplishments, fashion, works of service in the community, artistic skill.   The reality is that none of the world’s answers will ultimately help.

The problems that an eleven-year-old faces are not ones that she will outgrow. She may grow physically and grow in her social skills, but the dark issues of the heart will never leave her unless she comes to believe and live the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel matters!

Most importantly the gospel must matter, really matter, to you.  As an adult, you struggle with the same core, heart issues that your child does. Christ died so that you could live in the beauty of light rather than under the tyranny of darkness.

To help your child know the freedom the gospel offers, you must know your child. You must understand her fears and struggles. You must understand how she views what is happening in her world. When you speak about your love of God and his ways, it must be connected with the world your child inhabits. In short you must gain creditability on the streets of her life.

You must intimately know your Savior and your child. This means a sacrificial commitment to both. To know them both, you must love them both. There are no shortcuts. To be a good shepherd you must be in loving submission to your Shepherd. Your child’s outward behavior is only the first layer of concern. Reaching the heart is what really matters. And reaching the heart is where the gospel matters most.

Shepherding a Child's Heart DVD 2014

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.