Last weekend a dear friend and I were discussing how to teach and train our children to have a genuine love for the Lord. Many children in today’s world turn into adults that have a form of godliness but no relationship or depth of knowledge of our great God. Since this conversation my mind has been reeling with this topic. How can I as a mother hand my faith off to my daughter? How can I train her to love the Lord with all of her heart, mind, soul, and strength? How do I practically live in obedience to Christ to make disciples of all men – including my children?
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with you concepts, ideas, and encouraging ways to train your precious ones that I am both learning and living out. I pray that they will be encouraging and challenging to both of us!
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Children are imitators. We know this. From the moment they are born (well, almost!) they follow us with their eyes, then their bodies, around the house listening and watching. They learn to smile, speak, drive, tell jokes, and a plethora of other skills from watching us. Why would we expect our attitude toward the Lord to be any different?
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1). If your child patterned their life after your current relationship with God, would it be thriving? Notice that Paul doesn’t instruct the Corinthians to “do as I say, not as I do.” Rather, he can confidently say follow me and Christ at the same time! Sure, all of can, and do, need to grow closer to the Lord. I know that I sin everyday and have many areas of my life that I desire Abigail to exceed me in. But this should not cause us to feel defeated. As one pastor I know put it, “It’s not about perfection, it’s about direction.” Is the pattern of your life following God? Are you daily growing closer to Him?
Many Christians are familiar with the verses in Deut. 6 that speak of training children: These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. I’ve heard this passage referenced countless times in sermons and in books. Do you know what the verse just prior to this says though?
Deut. 6:5: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Jesus, while on earth, told his followers that THIS was the greatest of all commandments. In order to adequately teach our children or anyone else about the Lord, we need to make sure that we are placing Him first in our lives.
I can’t remember how many times I “caught” my mom praying when I woke up in the mornings, how many times I saw my dad reading his Bible, how often my parents would take notes during church. I knew God was real to them. Their lives showed me that by the way they interacted with the Lord. They believed in Him and held His Word high.
To begin teaching our children, we must begin with ourselves and our relationship with God. Start NOW to build that pattern. You won’t regret it!