Q: We couldn’t help but overhear the young man in the restaurant booth next to us talking about his family. He said they were all very religious when he was young, but now none of them has any faith. How could this happen? – Mrs. N.B.N.
A: People turn away from their childhood faith for various reasons, I’ve found. Often, for example, they simply get too busy or preoccupied with other things. Or they get in with a group of people who never think about God, and they give in to the pressure of the crowd. Still others conclude that faith simply has no place in an intelligent adult’s life.
But whatever their excuse, people actually turn away from their childhood faith for two basic reasons. First, their faith was too shallow, and it lacked any real commitment. Children may not understand everything — but they can understand that God loves them, and Jesus Christ came into the world to offer them the gift of eternal life. Moreover, they can understand that they need to commit their lives to Jesus by inviting him to come into their lives. Faith and commitment go hand in hand.
But people also reject their childhood faith because they never understood that faith needs to grow. Like the seed in one of Jesus’ parables, a plant with no roots eventually withers and dies — and the same is true of faith. Jesus said, “They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away” (Luke 8:13).
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You may never see this young man again — but pray for him, that he will give his life to Jesus. Pray too for the children in your church, that they'll make a clear commitment to Jesus and then grow stronger through the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with older believers.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.