Is Your Faith Contagious? 3 Things Teenagers Need To See In Their Parents

On a mission, I grabbed the Clorox wipes and hurried to the kitchen. All I could see was a teeming cesspool of germs. My daughter had just gotten over the flu and strep. So, I wiped down the refrigerator handles, the microwave, the faucets, door handles, and the knobs on the stove.

It has been a rough winter in our household. We have all been sick a lot. Thank goodness for the MinuteClinic! In-out-on antibiotics-and back to bed! And just my style . . . . no doctors!

Just like those pesky germs, our character, who we are, is likely to be contagious. Contagious to those around us, and contagious to our kids.

Think about it, have you ever caught yourself mimicking things your parents said or did during your childhood? We all have.

Our character is contagious. And if we are living a life in obedience to Christ, our faith will be contagious as well.

We, as Christian parents, are the first step in the equation of our kids’ faith. Whether our kids develop a personal, and passionate faith, or a casual, watered down faith, depends a great deal on the faith and character of Mom and Dad.

We are told that if we live by the Spirit we will bear fruit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22–23

If we long to reflect the image of Jesus in front of our kids, all of these characteristics should be our goal. However, there are three overarching themes in the character of Christ, under which everything else falls.

There are three characteristics of Christ that teenagers need to see in their parents to make following Him irresistible.

They must see . . .

1) Love

Kids must see their parents being people that love much. Love God, love their kids, and love others.

If someone asked you if you loved God, you would probably say, yes. We all would. But what does it really mean to love God? Love is not a feeling or a fact. As DC Talk sang back in the ‘90s, “Luv is a Verb.”

As disciples of Christ, we must actively, willfully, deliberately, intentionally, and fully love God and His Son, Jesus Christ above all else.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30-31

Michael Smalley posed this question during the sermon he gave at our church this Sunday. “What was Jesus’ love language?”

We all know the love languages from Gary Chapman’s 1995 book, The Five Love Languages.

  1. receiving gifts
  2. quality time
  3. words of affirmation
  4. acts of service
  5. physical touch

“What was Jesus’ love language?” I repeated in my head. I figured it was a trick question. All of them?

Michael went on to say that Jesus’ love language was obedience. Of course!

“If you love me, obey my commandments . . . Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.”  John 14:15,21

Our kids will see that we love Jesus if we are obeying his commands. It’s that simple.

Our kids will also see if we are a people who “love much” based on how we love them. We must be continually pouring love into them.

And, this one will seal the deal on what our kids think about us. Our kids must see us love others. Are we loving our neighbors? Are we loving difficult people? Are we loving our enemies?

2) Humility

The strongest defining characteristic of Jesus after love, was humility. No one has ever been higher or more worthy of praise that walked this earth than Jesus Christ. And no one has ever been more humble.

I have often thought that if I found out someday that Christianity wasn’t true, following Jesus would still have been the right way to live. Because of the call to humility.

When we put ourselves below others, they are lifted up. If we all lived like Jesus, we would be loving others and lifting each other up. Talk about an ideal society!

If you want your kids to have faith in Christ, there is nothing that can make Him more attractive than a display of humility in you.

3) Surrender

Many Christian kids growing up in the church never experience parents who surrender their lives to Christ. No wonder they are walking away.

If we don’t follow Christ with reckless abandon, then we might as well forget about passing on our faith at all. Why would we want to anyway? If we are not seeking to surrender our lives to Christ, then, He must not be that important to us. At least not important enough to do what He says.

If we want to show our kids a loving, good God, then we must surrender to Him first.

Love first, humility second, and surrender third. These are the ingredients that make our faith contagious.

It might be time to take inventory. As Christian parents, we must look in the mirror from time to time. Am I a loving person? Do I put other’s first? And, have I given everything I have and everything I am to God?

If you are brave enough, ask your kids what they see in you. You might be surprised by what they say.

Can I love the Lord and love Halloween?

There is a misconception that being a Christian is boring and puts an end to fun, adventure, laughter, and joy. It’s sad, really. If only we realized that God’s dream for us is so much bigger and more spectacular than any of our wildest dreams, what an amazing life we could have! God has more laughter, more silliness, more adventure & thrills, and more uninhibited joy for us than we could ever imagine!

Have you ever watched The Wonder Years? It was a TV show starting in 1988 about growing up in the 60’s. I watched the show when it first came out and I have been watching it again on Netflix. Childhood and adolescence is such a common experience no matter when your childhood was. It struck me as I watched the show how some things never change.

There always seem to be common threads like . . .

  • the bigger kids always picked on the littler kids
  • there has always been the popular crowd
  • cheerleaders have always dated football players
  • summer romances were always short and sweet
  • best friends were the best
  • kids could hardly wait until summer vacation
  • gym class was dreadful and humiliating

I wonder if you would agree that when you’re growing up things seem so complicated. However, looking back, we realize that they were actually so very simple.

One of the things in my life that brings me back to my childhood is Halloween. This time of year warms my heart. I love fall, and I love Halloween. I always have.

I love ghosts hanging from trees, and big pumpkin trash bags filled with leaves. I love cool, crisp nights around a bonfire. I love a full moon and windy days where it Cloth_Ghost_hangingseems like it’s raining leaves. The feelings, flavors and smells of Halloween are just delicious! Candy corn, caramel apples, and donuts with apple cider . . . . what could be better?!

Halloween was really special for me in my childhood.

My brother used to go all out decorating our house for Halloween. That was his holiday to shine. We had homemade tomb stones in the front yard, ghosts that were rigged up to fly down in your face, a creepy man-thing on a rocking chair, and scary music with flashing lights. That probably seems like no big deal now, but It was quite a spectacle back in the early 80’s. The neighborhood looked forward every year to seeing what he would do.

I have such fond memories of those times! It was exciting, thrilling and just plain fun.

I don’t have a problem with celebrating Halloween as a Christian. Some people that I know and love do, and I respect them and their convictions. We don’t have to agree on everything. However, we must respect all of our brothers and sisters and not cause them to stumble.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.   1 Corinthians 10:31-33

Halloween is no longer about witchcraft, evil spirits or focusing on ‘the dead’. A few people may focus on these things, but most of us don’t. Witches and witchcraft, as seen at Halloween, don’t exist anymore. I would imagine that witchcraft today looks very different then when Halloween began.

Halloween in 2015 is a time to . . . . .halloween1

  • let your imagination run wild
  • be someone completely different
  • hide behind a mask
  • be silly and have fun
  • be out in the community with neighbors
  • watch scary movies

So much in life is difficult, hard, and heavy. If we really count the cost, it’s not easy to follow Jesus. True disciples of Christ will likely experience difficulty, trials, division, rejection, danger, and isolation. There is definitely a cost to following Christ, and it is high.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:26-27

Therefore, we must find joy in the everyday. We must enjoy the blessings God has for us here on earth. Let’s trade our sorrows for being silly and let’s run around the neighborhood looking ridiculous! It’s ok to decorate your house with silly skeletons, spiderwebs and wicked witches on broomsticks. It’s ok to go to haunted houses and scream at the top of your lungs. It’s ok to stuff your face with candy. Give yourself permission to enjoy Halloween.

Green-faced witches with big hairy warts who wear long pointy hats only exist in our imaginations, on Halloween and in the movies! These things do not represent Satanism; they do not represent witchcraft; and, they do not represent sorcery. It is simply something fun that we do at Halloween and then forget about until the next year.

What I love the most about Halloween is the aspect of community. When else throughout the year does everyone come out of their homes at one time and fill the streets? It is a way to get neighbors talking to neighbors. It is community!

Halloween can be a good way to be in the world but not of it. It can be a great opportunity.

We cannot do the work of the Holy Spirit in the world if we completely disassociate from it. We don’t want to become so different than our neighbors in every way that we have no credibility whatsoever. The world is not going to be drawn to Jesus by seeing a weirdo. They will be drawn to Jesus by seeing Jesus in us. We must show them that we are not that different than they are.

If other people see you joining them, instead of judging them, their hearts are more likely to be open. Laughing together with someone can create a bond, and potentially, open a door.

You may live in a neighborhood that already has great community where neighbors come out and talk to each other dailly; a place where neighbors choose to live lifeNeighborhood-2 together. I do not, however. We pretty much keep to ourselves, unless we happen to catch a neighbor outside and are forced to wave!

It’s bad, I know!

I would like to say that everyone else in my neighborhood is a recluse, but I am the shining light of Jesus to my neighbors. But if I did, my nose would start growing. Or, I might get struck by lightning! In the spirit of not wanting to invite calamity, I’ll confess.

Being ‘neighborly’ is not something that I have ever been very good at. Truth be told, I basically don’t like people a whole lot. I once said to my sister-in-law, “I would be a perfect Christian if it weren’t for people!” We laughed hysterically at the absurdity of what I said. However absurd it may be though, it is very much how I feel. Social things are a struggle for me.

I know, you are thinking, ‘Umm, but you are a Christian, shouldn’t you love your neighbors?!” And, the answer is, Yes! You may then ask, ‘How can you be a Christian without loving your neighbors?’ The answer is, I can’t!!

Loving our neighbors and telling them about the good news of the gospel is central to our Christian faith . . . to my Christian faith. Therefore, I must love people.

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22:39

I am always working on and repenting for my failures in this area, and my gracious God is so patient with me. Still, I need to do better. This is something that I will have to work on my entire life. I am an introvert, so this never comes easily to me.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1

God and I have a good thing going. Our times together are amazing. There is nothing like someone as small and insignificant like me being in the presence of the almighty God. It’s crazy! I can be totally vulnerable and naked with Him and still be totally loved and accepted. Sometimes I wish that I could stay there, just He and I, forever. But I can’t. At least,not yet.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.  1 Peter 2:11-12 (The Message)

We have to get off of our knees at some point and tend to the people around us. We must be a good wife, or husband and a good mother or father. We must love our neighbors and care for the messy people in our lives. We have to be His hands and feet to a lost world. We are called to feed the poor and stand up for the oppressed. And, when we get slapped, we must turn the other cheek. And get slapped, we will!


I am also a fan of The Walking Dead. You could say that my taste in movies and television is a bit dark. I love alien movies, end-of-the-world scenarios, and disaster movies. And, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It is just fun, and silly, and relaxing.

Nor do I have a problem with the Harry Potter series. Everybody loves a good story. And that’s what they are, just stories.

Human beings are creatures made for stories. God has blessed us with such beautifully sophisticated minds, that it would be a crime not to use our imaginations to the fullest. It is amazing what some people can think up!

What do parents do when they put their young children to bed? What do kids beg for? They want you to read them a story. Reading is so good for their developing brains. But, stories are also good for their soul. They tickle, and tease, and spark our curiosity.

It is the responsibility of each of us as individuals and as parents to gage the affects of Halloween, and the books and movies that we are exposed to. As long we and our kids are grounded in Christ, and realize that this is just make believe, a story, than it is harmless.

Just as Satan can use movies and books for his purposes, so can he also use church, scripture, priests, and ministries. He’ll pervert anything he can get his hands on to deceive and destroy. That doesn’t make what he uses inherently evil.

IMG_2594-1Scripture rebukes false Gods such as Baal or Asherah Poles, witchcraft and casting spells, practicing divination or sorcery, and doing evil. Scripture also rebuked nations that did detestable things like sacrificing children to false gods.

I will destroy the cities of your land and tear down all your strongholds. I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells.  Micah 5:11-12

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.  Deuteronomy 18:10-13

He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.   2 Chronicles 33:6

I don’t do any of these things at Halloween, and I hope you don’t either.

It is unwise to mess around with potentially evil or satanistic practices no matter how innocent it may seem. We must teach our kids to stay away from ouija boards, seances, mediums or anything that deals with ‘spirits’.

If the Holy Spirit is in you and your kids, you will know what is harmless and what is not.

So, if you are doing the bad things mentioned in scripture that anger the Lord, if you are doing detestable things, then stop it! If you aren’t, then go ahead and enjoy yourself on Halloween!


Below are some more scriptures on witchcraft, etc.

Galatians 5:19
3 John 1:11
1 Corinthians 10:21
Revelations 9:20-21
Nahum 3:4-5 Leviticus 19:26
Ephesians 5:11

Disclaimer → I am no scriptural expert. I will be the first to wholeheartedly admit that. And, I have been known to be wrong a time or two ;). I do, however, study scripture. And, this is how I see it, at least until someone proves me wrong!