Parents often ask me if I’ll baptize their kids or dedicate their babies. The answer is always yes, absolutely. Whatever parents want to do to invest in the spiritual lives of their children, I’m happy to facilitate that in whatever way I can. But I think it’s important to clear up a few misconceptions.

None of these things will “save” your child, so if your first concern is making sure your baby doesn’t go to hell, then we’re already off on the wrong foot. Though eternal destiny is an important issue, it’s not the most important issue right now for you or your child.

Let me explain. Usually parents’ aspirations for their children involve them growing up to be good people. When I ask parents why they want their kids to be baptized, they say “because I want them to be good” or “because I want them to be saved and go to heaven when they die.”

But baptism and dedication are not about fire insurance or reserving a spot in heavenly glory. They’re about allegiance to Jesus.

Why do you want your child to belong to Christ if you do not? Anything you do with your kids is a continuation of what God is doing in you.

So, what is God doing in you?

If you want your life to be shaped by self-sacrifice, by loving and serving others, by virtue and nobility, then the pathway isn’t just baptism or child dedication. Those are important steps, but they are not the most important steps. The most important step in getting your child to give his life to Christ and to be a good human—not just a good citizen or an obedient classmate—is to allow Jesus Christ to reform and reshape you so you’re more like him.

You must allow Jesus to change you so that you will sacrifice, love, and serve and cooperate with God in his plan to make this world a more perfect habitat for all creatures. That’s what God wants to do in you and with you and through you. And that’s the only way, spiritually, emotionally, or physically, you’re going to be any better than you are now. You need the supernatural assistance of God to reform you into a totally different kind of human being.

Then you will be able to pass that on to your kids.