Rooted In Wonder:
Nurturing Your Family's Faith Through God's Creation
Master Naturalist, Bible teacher, author, wife, and mama of four! Join our adventures of discovering God while adventuring in creation.
With increasing urgency, it’s no longer sufficient to teach our kids some out-of-order Bible stories on a felt board (are those still a thing?) and send them out into the world. Of course, this approach was never fully effective. God means for us and our kids to mature in faith, as Colossians 1:28 says, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ….”
And in Ephesians 4:15 we read, “…we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”
“By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”
God has better things in store for our kids than society’s unsatisfying and empty offerings.
Supplement does not give the idea that faith is not sufficient—it is. Ephesians 2:8-9 assures us we are saved by grace through faith—not through effort and works. We’re not adding to something insufficient to make it enough. Instead, in the Greek used, we see the idea of nourishing, supplying, and contributing. Our kids can have a robust, resilient, and flourishing faith.
Picture supplementing faith like plant food. My husband planted six new fruit trees in our yard a month ago. The forecast called for a week of rainy days. Before the clouds let loose, he poured plant food around the base of each tree. Rain and plant food resulted in healthy growth. This is what Spiritual maturity can look like. 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” God is actively growing our children’s faith. We can cooperate with his work by encouraging our kids to grow in all these qualities that will support and strengthen their beliefs and worldview.
After Peter charges his readers to supplement their faith, he gives this reason in verse 8, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Isn’t this a beautiful picture? If these qualities are increasing and our faith matures, we will be effective and fruitful for God’s kingdom. What a stunning vision for parenthood! We can raise kids who will go out into this world and be effective and fruitful as they share the gospel with those around them. But how exactly do we supplement their faith?
Let’s focus on the second quality Peter mentions, “supplement your faith with…knowledge.” The Greek word used for knowledge is “γνῶσις” (gno’-sis). It relates to general intelligence and understanding with moral wisdom, which leads to right living.
It reminds me of the instruction we find in Matthew 22:37, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
For a long time, I didn’t consider the importance of loving God with all my mind. Of course, it means taking every thought captive to his obedience (2 Corinthians 10:5) and thinking on everything lovely, true, and worthy (Philippians 4:8). But I believe it also means preparing our minds for action, as 1 Peter 1:13 instructs. Faith supplemented by knowledge helps our kids follow 1 Peter 3:15, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
We can love God with all our minds by investing time into understanding the reliability of Scriptures (we love Cold Case Christianity for Kids and resources from Answers In Genesis), and the evidence we have for God in nature and science.
When our kids engage with God’s created world, they encounter natural laws they cannot change and absolute truths they cannot refute. They discover that science does not (as society will tell them) go against God and the Bible. Instead, the God of the Bible created everything and holds all things together (Colossians 1:16-17). Modern science is converging with the Christian faith (it actually began there, too, with scientists and natural theologians using science to learn more about God). The more science discovers about quantum mechanics and invisible realities, the more science makes sense in light of the Bible. As I heard former ABC Science Editor and physicist Dr. Guillen put it, it’s as if science is finally catching up to Christianity. But that’s all for another discussion on another day 😉
One afternoon my boys came home from playing at the creek with neighborhood buddies, and my oldest remarked that his friend said, “he does not believe in God because he believes in science.” Over snacks, we chatted about how disconnected and contradictory this idea was. We’d recently read Case For a Creator for Kids by Lee Strobel and explored some of the evidence in nature and science that point to a Creator God. We’ve learned that science reflects God from prominent figures in science and history, like astronomer Johannes Kepler, agricultural scientist George Washington Carver, and literacy heroes like C.S. Lewis. The more we explore God’s wild and wonderful world, the more we glimpse his fingerprints. This is precisely what we see foreshadowed in Romans 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Our kids are left without excuse — and with the knowledge to supplement their faith — as they explore and learn about God’s designs throughout nature.
In my book, Rooted In Wonder, I share:
“Tying biblical truth to historical and scientific evidence helps our children to ‘grow up in every way’ into Christ. In 1 Corinthians 3:2, the apostle Paul is speaking to immature believers. He tells them, ‘I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it.’ Milk is necessary for a time. If you have raised an infant, you know how true this is. But they don’t stay on milk. In time, with careful training, they move on to solid food. It is the same with our faith . . . or is it? That is up to us. Let us not release our kids into the world with bellies full of milk. Experiences in nature mature our children’s faith as they discover evidences for their Creator.”
You don’t need to have a degree in theology, history, or the sciences to nurture a mature and intellectual faith in your child. All it requires is a willingness to step with your child into God’s Word and into his created world. Of course, resources help!
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!