Monday, October 06, 2014

The God Way for Parents

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 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. Deuteronomy 6:5-7

When our kids were growing up, we wanted to be godly parents and raise them to love the Lord and to live their lives to glorify Him. But how do you do that? 

We took them to church ... A LOT. We read the Bible to them and with them at home. We prayed with them every night, prayed with them before they left the house to go to school. They saw us serve others. But having family devotions was challenging. Talking about the Christian life often lost their attention. We were so busy trying to keep up with their school work, health, etc. How do you stay focused? We felt we were doing what we could, but was it enough?

God’s intention is for parents to teach their children about the Lord. We are to transmit our faith to them as we walk and talk in our daily life.

As parents, we feel very inadequate in knowing how to transmit their faith. For many of us, our parents didn’t do it for us. We don’t know where to start to do it for our children.

In the last 50 years in the U.S., the local church has become very adept in teaching children of every age. As the church becomes more proficient, parents become less confident and involved.

The church has the child for one or two hours per week; the parent has the child for many more hours each week. One hour is not enough! The church does teach the children, but it’s the parents’ responsibility to be the primary teacher and trainer. 

How many hours a week does your child spend learning a sport or a musical instrument or playing video games or watching TV?

How many hours a week does your child spend growing in a personal walk with the Lord? 

There is nothing wrong with those activities if they are not done in place of spiritual training. And the gospel of God’s grace can permeate all that we do if we are intentional about it.

We believe that the history of the world is but the history of His influence and that the center of the whole universe is the cross of Calvary.  Alexander MacLaren

The ultimate purpose of parenting is not to hang on, but to let go; not protection but empowerment. We certainly hope parents don’t interpret that approach as advocating a sloppy, carefree approach to parenting where you put your kids in unnecessary danger. But many Christian parents fail to grasp that God entrusted their children to them to train them up for His purposes, not theirs. J.D. Greear

Where to start ….

Many parents make futile attempts at family devotions, giving up after time demands and whining children interrupt. Family devotions can certainly be part of teaching and training children, but there are many more options. 

Foster deep relationships within the family and church so that: 
1) the gospel can be spoken into their lives in strategic ways and 
2) they can see the gospel lived out in day to day life. 

Good gospel teaching is explaining to kids what they see lived out on a daily basis. It is not preaching it, but walking and talking a gospel of grace. 

Parents begin by looking at the relationship that they want their children to have with the Lord, and ask themselves, “Am I demonstrating that relationship with my life? Am I devoted to the Lord in all that I say and do? Do I value my time and my conversations with my children? 

Is it more important to you that your children are liked by others or loved by God? 

Is acceptance by others a priority over acceptance by God?

Tech Free
For many parents, it will mean that you put down the devices and go “tech free” when you are with your kids. Dinner time (yes, you sit down to dinner as a family) becomes a tech free zone. Driving in the car around town becomes a tech free zone, interacting with your children without distractions. 

Walking and Talking
You talk about the news of the day in relation to God’s big picture. What does domestic violence have to do with God’s heart for the family and marriage? Why is there never-ending fighting in the Middle East? What do we do about the poor in our city, state, nation, and world?

We wish we had know more when we were young. We were still growing in our faith. We knew we were doing more than our parents did for us. The good news is that our children are now adults; our children and grandchildren do love the Lord. We feel blessed.

Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road......

Read related article: The Center