Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Teach Them Diligently

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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." Deuteronomy 6:6-7  ESV

"Moses underscores the constancy with which the next generation is to be taught. The commandments Moses passes on are to remain on the “hearts” of the people (6:6; we would probably say minds). Out of this abundance, the next words follow: “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (6:7). Even what they wore and how they decorated their houses should serve as reminders of the law of God (6:8-9). We might well ask ourselves how constantly we teach our children the content of Scripture. In ancient Israel children usually learned their vocational skills from their parents, spending countless hours with them, which provided many opportunities to pass on the blessings of the covenant. Our more fragmented culture means we must make opportunities. 

Above all, the older generation was to model utter loyalty to God (6:1319). This consistent modeling was to include an utter repudiation of idolatry, obedience to the demands of the covenant, revering the name of the Lord God, doing “what is right and good in the LORD’s sight” (6:18). How faithfully have we, by our own living, commended serious God-centeredness to our children.”  --For the Love of God Devotional

I was reading my devotion yesterday morning when this scripture passage and the devotion explanation just really stood out to me.  I think sometimes we get caught up in this busy life doing day to day things and forget our real purpose.  We are to serve God with our whole heart.  His Word should be on our heart (our minds) constantly.  How does that happen?  By reading the Word daily.  Through prayer and study.  Through fellowship with other Christians.  Through teaching our children the Truth. 

It’s so easy to get bogged down with just trying to get our children fed, dressed and simply make it through the day.  Sometimes we completely forget that God has called us to be their teacher.  We are called to disciple our children.  We are to teach our children scripture constantly: “when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.” If you are a Christian and a parent, then you have a very great calling.  You are to make opportunities to pass on the blessing of scripture and teach them the truth. 
“They go to church and their Sunday School teacher will teach it to them, right?  I don’t need to worry about it throughout the week.  That’s just too much to think about.”  Unfortunately, that’s the attitude of a lot of people who call themselves Christians.  And, it’s an easy trap to fall into.  We all do at some point, I’m afraid.  We have a long, busy, tiring, stressful day and the last thing we really want to do is read them a Bible story before bed.  We’ve all been there.  But, you know what?  God will bless your effort and you will be so thankful that you took that extra ten minutes to share God’s Word with your babies. 

But what’s even more convicting?  We—the older generation—are to “model utter loyalty to God.”  We can’t just talk about it—we have to live it!  Our children, like it or not, look to us as role models.  They copy us!  Just a couple of weeks ago when I got finished with my run, I came in to find my 5 year old daughter with leggings, a t-shirt and headband on her head.  She told me she had just come back from a run.  I laughed and thought how cute it was.  And, in this case, it was perfectly fine that she was imitating me trying to be health conscious.  But, what if our child started copying every single thing we do?  Are we living a holy life, pleasing to God?  Are we putting everything we have into serving Him?   Or, are we letting the pressures and temptations of the world creep in and get in the way? 

We are to teach our children, not only through instruction, but also through our actions.  Don’t rely on the preacher or Sunday School teacher to teach your children what they need to know about the Bible.  If we want them to grow up to be grounded, committed Christians this needs to be a consistent thing.  Not Sunday to Sunday.  We need to be in the Word daily so that we will be equipped to teach them and model to them the Christian life.  We have to be intentional and make opportunities.  Look for ways to teach scripture even in the day-to-day circumstances.  Whether it be through a discipline problem, tragedy, sickness, worry or fear, or even happy situations, there is always an opportunity to let God’s glory shine through.  Let those circumstances turn into teachable moments with your children. 

Let me just note here, that I do not believe that “being good” gets us to heaven.  We are saved by grace—faith alone.  Nothing that we can do will ever be good enough to get to heaven.  But, once we are saved, then we should put everything we have into striving to live holy, acceptable lives for the King of Kings. 
Let’s make an effort to be more intentional. Be intentional about your own Christian walk so that you will be more productive with your calling to teach and train your childrenHow faithfully have you, as a parent, portrayed serious God-centeredness to your children?

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