Giving Your Kids Jesus Part II: You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

“We are not perfect but being perfected.”

“Life’s not all about you, and what you want, when you want it.”

“More is caught than taught.”

“You can’t give what you don’t have.”

“Throw your snack wrapper away!”

These are just a few quotes Casey and I often find ourselves saying…either to each other, as we are sharing with others, or to our children!

The quote for toady is –

“You can’t give what you don’t have!”

If we hope to see our children walking in a vibrant, consistent, personal relationship with Jesus, we need to be growing in our own relationship with Him.

We get to be the example! (yay, right?!)

The truth is, if we don’t have an active, growing, maturing relationship with Christ, it’s going to be hard to help our children have one.

Our children need to see us value the Word of God and use the Word in our lives. They need to see us in worship. They need to see and hear us in prayer. And not just at church- (though, that’s good) this should be happening in our homes.

Let’s not simply describe the living water to our children while we stand in front of them holding an empty cup feeling parched ourselves. I pray that my cup would be full of the living water so that it can spill over into theirs!

I want to take a long drink and give my children a drink! I want to let them taste and see how good it is, and I want to SHOW them how to get it for themselves.

“People don’t light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let YOUR light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that YOU do and praise your Father in heaven.”             Matthew 5:15-16


“Let your light shine in front of people.” Friends, our children are people!

Let US be the light in our homes. Let OUR light shine in front of our children so that they will see the good that WE do. The result? They will praise the Father in heaven!

It has to start with us.

This is where it can get tricky. We think parenting is about our children, but all of a sudden, like a smack in the face, it gets personal.

It is personal.

Christ will use our children, and the journey of raising them, to draw us closer to Him and to make us more like Him. Parenting is just as much about what God wants to do in us as it is about what He wants to do in our children.

The first priority is to be with Him yourself. We must cultivate our own personal relationship with Christ.

I have sat across from people who, as soon as you bring up spending time with Jesus, shut down…they feel guilty. They start beating themselves up because they didn’t read their Bibles this week, this month, or maybe they can’t even remember the last time they opened it. Anybody been there?

This isn’t about that. This is about finding life, freedom, and grace in Jesus!

This, actually, isn’t even about checking “quiet time” off your to-do list for the day. This is about cultivating a very real and very personal relationship with your creator! It is about abundant life in Christ.

We get to find our life in Him everyday; we get to receive His new mercies every morning.

Will that mean spending time in His word? Yes! Will that mean working on some self-discipline? Probably.

The only way to build a relationship with someone is to spend time with them.

But, I’m here to gently and lovingly say, “Take the pressure off.”

Your “be with Jesus” could look many different ways. In fact, it’s not only okay for it to look different ways, depending on the season of life you’re in, it will be necessary for it to evolve and change accordingly.

There is freedom for your time with Him to look anyway it needs to…from the time of day, to the length of time, to what you do during that time. There is no “cookie-cutter” answer or “right” way.

The “right” way is the way that connects your heart to His. The “right” way is the way the creates growth, change, and maturity in you. 

Maybe it is sitting in the quiet early morning hours with your Bible and journal. Maybe it’s going for a walk in the middle of the afternoon while listening to worship music. Maybe it’s late at night when the rest of the house is asleep. Maybe it’s mowing the yard while you listen to a sermon podcast.

Being with Him is about being in His presence. It’s about being aware that He is near and present. It’s about being still and listening. This can happen anywhere at anytime.

Find out what it looks like for you to meet with Him in this season, and do that! 

Now, while I have said that this isn’t about checking “quiet time” off your to-do list, I am well aware that there are self-discipline strategies we can put into practice to help us get, and stay, on track.

For some people, that means making a list and checking it twice! I am actually a big fan of list making, and I love checking things off my lists. (Yes, I am one of those who writes things down that I have already done, just so I can check it off!)

I’m simply suggesting that if all we’re getting out of our time with Jesus is the ability to put a check by a task on our to-do list, we’re missing the fullness of life in Him!

We cannot have abundant life without Christ. We could never, on our own, make enough right choices. We can’t, in our own strength, become all that He created us to be.

If you feel like you’ve tried it all…if you feel like you’ve tried to be dedicated and read your Bible but you never “felt” anything… Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Don’t let discouragement set in.

I believe that He will be faithful. He wants to meet with you.

We cannot give the best of who we are to our family, to our ministry, or to our jobs if we haven’t made the choice to be with Jesus.

Your precious children need a mama who knows Jesus. They need a father who knows The Father.

You will parent with greater grace, patience, wisdom, and discernment if you will parent out of the life you find from being with Jesus. You will serve, bless, and love more deeply if you have been filled with the life that only Jesus can give.

Friend, there is nothing you can do that will change your life, your heart, your marriage, or your family more than being with Jesus.

If we’re going to start looking like Him, we need to know what He looks like. We can rest assured that if we posture ourselves at His feet, the revelation and transformation that comes from His Word will have a lasting impact on our lives.

We will always leave changed. We will always leave looking a little more like Him.

If I want my children to look like Him, it starts with me.

3 Comments on “Giving Your Kids Jesus Part II: You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

  1. Great Word, Kara. Thanks. We are using this and replacing “children” with “grandchildren” as we minister to them (with their parent’s blessing, of course). We are finding that as we minister to our grandchildren, something good happens with our children.

    • Yes, it is such a blessing when grandparents are investing into the lives and hearts of their grandchildren!

  2. Pingback: Giving Your Kids Jesus Part IV: Be Intentional | caseyandkara

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