We all know raising children is hard! It is a difficult, time-consuming, often thankless job. Yet, the Bible teaches that children are a heritage from the Lord. They are indeed a reward
from him. Our life is a race and we must realize the investment that must be made if we are going to pass to our children the baton of faith in Jesus Christ. Remember the words of Deuteronomy 6:5-7.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
might. 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.
We are commanded to teach our children how to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul and might. The words of the Lord are to be on our hearts. We are to diligently teach them to
our children. Think about the word “diligently.” What do we do “diligently” in our lives? What motivates us to work hard? As parents, with the father leading, we are to teach our children the commands of God when we sit, walk, lie down and rise up. The Lord, through Moses, tells us we must take time to diligently teach our children.
Billy Graham says:
“The family should be a closely knit group. The home should be a self-contained
shelter of security; a kind of school where life’s basic lessons are taught;
and a kind of church where God is honored; a place where wholesome recreation
and simple pleasures are enjoyed.”
The Scripture tells us we must be talking about the Lord consistently and constantly to our children. We do this when we are sitting together and talking about the Lord and his commands. Watching TV or a movie together doesn’t qualify. That’s not teaching time. That’s
entertainment time. There must be times where the Scriptures are read and discussed in our homes and we can slow down and focus. For so many, if we do any sort of family devotions, we do so with great haste. This process of teaching is more than just sitting through a devotion or Bible lesson time. The Scripture teaches we are to talk about the commands of the Lord all the time.
We do so when we are making dinner together…
…and thanking the Lord for the food. When we are folding clothes, we should be praising the Lord for clothing and for shelter. We do this at bedtime when we talk and share with the children. Many say that the 15-20 minutes before your children go to sleep is when they are most open and willing to talk. Don’t rush by those bedtime conversations. Much listening, learning and teaching can take place right before all is quiet in the house. Even at breakfast, when we rise up, we should be teaching. We should be teaching all the time.
Many families struggle with finding time to study the Bible together. I often tell people they must schedule time with the Lord. We write on our calendars what is important such as doctor appointments, dentist appointments, our kids’ games, recitals, etc. If necessary,
do the same with devotion times. Schedule it!
You may begin with only one or two nights per week. Just start. Make it happen.
We all know it takes a great deal of this precious commodity called time to train and teach our children. It certainly takes more than a few minutes here and a couple of minutes there each
day. We must give our children large doses of biblical teaching and give it very often. If we don’t teach them in this manner, watch what happens when young adults go off to college their freshman year and return home at Thanksgiving.
You will hear them espouse, “I don’t believe that way anymore, Dad.” Often, when a young adult gets to college their faith is challenged. In fact, everything they believe about Christianity is challenged, including the authority of the Bible as God’s Word. Often their faith crumbles and they begin to view Christianity as only one of many choices on the buffet line of religions the world and Satan offers. Therefore, it is true, in just weeks the children
we raised and knew so well come home to us and seem like strangers.
I hear many stories like this. People tell me they can’t understand how their child could have changed so much in just 2 ½ months in college. They say, “We taught them for 18 years about the Lord and in just a few weeks all of that has unraveled.” At this point parents must spend a lot of time on their knees asking God to intervene in their young adult’s life. It is sobering to think about, but maybe their independence and higher education just helped along the process that had been occurring, almost imperceptibly under our noses, for several years. What we see didn’t just happen. It had already occurred years ago and was simply buried. Perhaps college or independence just brought to the surface the fact that he or she wasn’t truly a believer.
What many parents miss is that their children may have already checked out spiritually.
They may continue to sit in our pews or padded chairs each week, but somewhere along the way they decided to just go through the motions. It reminds me of the words of Jesus when he said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” ( Mark 7:6). So they come to church with us and they are good kids, participating in church functions and activities; however if someone were to probe deeper, they would find little spiritual depth beyond a salvation experience and baptism.
What I’m sharing with you should cause us to go beyond the surface of a young person’s spirituality. We should go deeper and see what is at the root of a young person’s Christian life and experience. We must measure if there has been a genuine conversion and if so, whether or not enough time is being invested in that young person’s life to actually grow them in Christ. What does this require? A huge investment of time. Will me make that investment?