By Joey and Carla Link
April 20, 2022
Have you ever heard the old phrase that “Some Christians are so earthly minded they are no heavenly good?” This means these Christians live their lives as they see fit, not caring how the Bible says we should live. In the same way, it can be said in the reverse, “Some Christians are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good”, meaning they isolate themselves from associating with non-believers so they won’t get dirtied by them. For the sake of balancing the scales, there must be a middle ground where all Christians should be living. There is a middle ground in which Christians are to live their lives by the principles in God’s Word so they shine the light of Jesus to the world around them.
This middle ground is how we taught our children to live, by setting the example ourselves to show them what it looked like to live by the principles in God’s Word. If God told us to be kind to each other (Ephesians 4:32), we would ask if they saw any exceptions in that verse, such as you don’t have to be kind to someone who wasn’t kind to you. If there wasn’t, then no “exception” they or we came up with was acceptable to God.
Interestingly enough, living in this middle ground of being heavenly minded and living to shine God’s light to the world, can be a tenuous place to be. Many kids being raised in Christian homes live their lives their own way when they are not around their parents. Being a youth pastor for 16 years, I (Joey) certainly saw this play out. I worked diligently to teach the kids to live the way God and their parents said they should while the teens were busy living the way they thought they should. Many of these kids had little respect or liked kids who tried to obey their parents, show respect and honor to authority, the elderly and others, and so forth.
Kids who choose to live this way do shine Jesus’ light to the world around them because it is our experience that peers who were non-believers wanted to spend time with them. It was up to us to make sure our kids’ moral compasses were heaven bound to hang out with these kids so they didn’t pick up their way of living, and we did this by being active participants in their lives and the lives of these kids.
Our kids had non-believing peers as friends they made in the high school band. I (Joey) would video their football halftime shows, and they invited their friends to our home for pizza and to watch the video after the game. This is how we got to know them as well. We chaperoned band events and the band always met in front of our house for the homecoming parade so we let the kids come into the house to change into their band uniforms.
One day, my son and I were out on a father-son activity. While we were gone the doorbell rang and when Carla answered she was surprised to see two of the girls she recognized from band dressed as though they were going to a nightclub. She invited them in and talked with them.
When we got home, our daughters excitedly told their brother about the visit and how the girls were dressed. Our son told us he needed to go find them before they got into trouble. We knew his moral compass was where it should be, so we didn’t discourage him, but prayed a lot for him and the girls as he left. When he came back he said he found them with some older guys, told the guys the girls were in high school, took them to their homes, made them change clothes and told their parents what had happened.
A few days later, I did a double-take as our son was sitting on our porch swing reading a Christian book on dating that we had taken him through with one of these girls. He wasn’t interested in dating her, which she knew, he was concerned about her spiritual soul and this was the door God had opened for him to talk to her. Another time, I (Carla) asked these girls why they spent time with our son. They both immediately said he was the only gentleman they had ever met. We called this “talking the Gospel”.
One of our goals for each of our kids was that before they left our home, they would have the privilege of leading someone to Christ and each of them did. We prepared them for this by working them through the “4 Spiritual Laws” by Bill Bright. It is a small pamphlet they could tuck in their backpacks and have on them at all times.
When our girls were in high school, I talked to each of them at different times (as they were 2 ½ years apart in age) to invite friends over and I would work through the book “A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George with them. They each had non-believing friends come as well as believing friends. When the friends of both our girls wanted to do another book, I told my daughters it was their turn to lead the study and I would be in the next room to assist them if needed. I did this because it was another goal of ours that they would be comfortable leading Bible studies as adults.
The question is, are you preparing your kids to share their faith in Jesus to the world around them? If you don’t teach them how to do this, who will? Don’t count on the church to do this. We are told by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 to go into the world and make disciples. Do your kids know what disciples are?
Recently I (Carla) was talking to a young mom who didn’t know who King David was and had never heard the story of David and Goliath. Every day our world moves further and further away from knowing anything about God’s Word and the everyday stories in the Bible.
It wasn’t that long ago I (Joey) was sitting amongst a bunch of high school ballplayers with another man and the teen asked us, “Where do you think black skin peopled come from? After some discussion that didn’t answer the question, I told them it came from a story I read in the Bible in Geneses 6 about the Tower of Babble. I briefly described the story and they decided it made sense. This opened up a lot more discussion about the Bible and what it said about life. After the teens left, the man I was with told me he had read the Bible through as a young adult looking for answers and after this discussion he thought it was time he read it again. He has since started coming to church with me.
We encourage you to keep reading the Bible to your kids and go through books on how to live God’s way with them as they grow and mature. Prepare them to live out the faith they have in Jesus with a world that so desperately needs a fresh look at who He is. Make it a family goal to “talk the Gospel”.
In the words of Jesus –
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”