Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:38-39). Obedience without relationship is legalism. Relationship without obedience is hypocrisy. The two things that will cause your kids to run from God are legalism and hypocrisy.

It's important that we obey God; however, our obedience must spring from a passionate love relationship with Jesus Christ. In other words, we obey God because we want to, not because we have to.

In the same way, God expects our kids to be obedient and well-behaved, but He wants them to obey because they are in love with Him.

Jump In the River
If we want our children to be passionate for God then we must be on fire for God. If we want our youth to be flowing in the revival, then it's important that Mom and Dad flow in the revival and that you attend a church that is flowing in revival.

I believe that the church and home are the most powerful influences in the lives of our children. If their parents and their church are on fire for God, then they will be, too.

We all learn by following the lead of others and by following the examples of our leaders. I remember the first time I attended a Pentecostal church. I didn't know how to worship God, even after I got saved.

I loved God but didn't know how to worship Him. I learned to worship God by watching other people worship God. I remember the first Sunday I lifted my hands—but not too high (about belly-button level). The next week I lifted my hands up to my chest. Finally I was lifting them as high as I could above my head.

Children and youth learn the same way—by following the examples of others, especially their parents, their church, and their peers. If you look up the word "example" in the dictionary, it means "something worthy of imitation." That's how children learn—by imitation.

In 1979, I was helping a pastor pioneer a church in Port Huron, Michigan. One Sunday morning, we had a Holy Ghost service. On this particular Sunday, one little girl named Jennifer (she was two and a half years old) went home and gathered all of her dolls from around the house.

She stood all the dolls up along the wall in her bedroom and layed hands on and prayed for each doll. Next, Jennifer knocked her dolls over on the floor. Then she went by and put little handkerchiefs over their dresses.

What was Jennifer doing? She was imitating. Is this a good thing? Yes, because children learn by imitating. Your children are imitating your good traits and your bad traits.

When my son, Mark, was learning to talk we began to teach him to say "please" instead of just demanding things. When he would ask for the potatoes at dinnertime, we would respond by saying, "How do you ask? Mark would say, "Please."

We were hoping he would catch the revelation of saying "please" without us reminding him, but it didn't seem to happen.

One day, I had a ball in my hand. Mark said, "Dad-Ball," which meant he wanted the ball.

I said, "How do you ask?"

He responded by saying, "Please?" I handed Mark the ball; he looked at me and said, "Thank you." I was in shock. We hadn't taught him to say "thank you" yet. We were still working on "please."

I thought to myself, "Where did he learn to say thank you?" Thank it hit me...he was imitating me. If I asked him to do something and he obeyed, I would say, "Thank you." But I rarely would say, "please" when asking him to do things.

Here's my point: children will naturally do what you do with very little resistance because God programmed children to learn by imitation.

It is impossible to lead your children into revival if you are not in revival yourself. You can do everything else correctly concerning discipline and child training, but the only way your child will be passionately in love with Jesus Christ is if you are on fire for God yourself.

I've heard it said to men that the best thing you can do for your children is to love your wife. I almost agree with that statement; however, I believe that the best things you can do for your children is to be passionately in love with Jesus Christ and express that love in a way that is visible to your kids.

This is why I believe that it is so important that families worship together at church and at home.

Source: Children and the Holy Spirit by Mark Harper
Excerpt permission granted by Mark Harper Ministries