As a father of three children under four and the Pastor of Family Ministries at Fellowship Church, I sometimes become worried that I am not doing enough to reverse the trend of high school graduates leaving the church. This growing statistic weighs heavy on my heart because I have the primary responsibility to disciple my three children and the responsibility to equip parents of Fellowship Church to do the same for their children. I am sure many of you have these same concerns. Be encouraged that it is a good thing to care deeply about the soul of your child and to feel the weight of responsibility of their spiritual growth.
In the coming weeks, Fellowship Church will publish a series of four articles that will encourage you to have a biblical theology of raising your children. This post is the first installment of our series.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV) states:
“4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
As parents, we all tend to think about our children first when contemplating their spiritual health. In Deuteronomy 6 we see that God cares deeply about the home and the spiritual growth of children. Yet, God, through Moses, began with the parents. He commanded the Israelites listen closely as He explained that Yahweh, the covenant keeping God, is “one” (v.4). Meaning, He is the one true God. Israel had been enslaved to the Egyptians for generations and the people of God had to be reminded that Yahweh was the only God. He is the God that proved He was more powerful than all of the Egyptian’s false “gods.”
Notice that God commanded all of Israel to listen closely and to love the Lord. One can surmise the adults were in view here because in verse seven He commanded them to teach their children. So, we can see that God is concerned that parents love Him. How can we expect our children to love God if we don’t?
Moreover, the love we have must be a consuming love. A love that begins in our inner man with our “heart and soul” and is shown in fervor with “might” (v.5). Brothers and sister, do not be deceived. If we do not love our God, we cannot expect our children to love Him. God can and has saved many children whose parents do not love Him, but if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, how can you not love Him in this way? He has lived the perfect life you could never live and died the death you deserved because of your sin. His love for us on the cross is why we love Him with all our heart, soul, and might.
So, the question then is how does a person who loves God with all of their “heart, soul, and might” live?
The answer to this question is that we must keep His commandments on our heart. Simple, right? In Psalm 119, David stated that he loved God’s law and meditated on it day and night. Why do we love God’s Word and meditate on it? Simply put - it teaches us about God’s character and reminds us what we will be like in the age to come.
There are three ways one is to keep the Word of God and specifically the Law of God on his heart:
1. One must teach the Word diligently to their children. The word diligentlyimplies intentionality and frequency. One cannot be passive in raising their children and expect them to love God. If you want your children to know and love God, you must teach them about Him.
2. You must talk about the Law and the Word. In Deuteronomy 6, Moses explained that one must talk about it when one is “sitting at their house, when you walk, when you lay down, and when you rise” (v7). There is never a time where you are to not talk about the things of God. Therefore, our lives should be saturated with telling our children about God.
3. Make reminders of God’s Word in your home. The “binding to the hand, the frontlets between the eyes, and the writing on the entrance of the house” (v.8-9) all communicate that the Law was meant to be something that children would see daily. Find creative ways to remind children about God and His Word.
I hope you noticed that I extended the teaching about God’s Law to the Bible as a whole. This is because God’s Word is now complete and all Scripture is profitable to teach. But, it is good, and many times wise, to begin with God’s Law because it allows us to teach our children how we fall short of that Law and why we need Jesus! Therefore, I encourage you to focus on how you live for God and how you dive deeply into His Word daily so that you can teach your children to do the same.
If you have any questions or comments about this article please email Pastor Armando Jr at firstname.lastname@example.org.