Daily habits and routines exist even in the most chaotic of lives and circumstances. All of us form patterns of what is normal or abnormal. From a morning cup of coffee, scrolling through Facebook during a lunch break, eating dinner at the dining table or in front of the TV, we all have habits and routines. Some of these are good and some are not; some are neither good or bad they simple are a reality for us. As parents it is important for us to assess how we orient our lives in light of discipling our children.
As we conclude this blog series we will look at the practical application of teaching our kids the commands of God as outlined in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. In the first blog we addressed the necessary pre-qualification for Biblical parenting of loving God. In the last blog we highlighted how parents are primarily responsible for discipling their kids and doing so diligently. But what does that look like? Let’s look back at the text,
“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.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)
Starting in verse 7 we see the call to diligently teach our children and then it moves into some really practical application of how to do this. We are to, “talk of them (God’s commands) when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” When should we teach our kids the commands and teachings of God? Only on Sunday morning? Only at youth group? No! We are to be continually teaching our kids the things of God at every opportunity. We teach them as we are eating breakfast, doing homework, completing chores, at practice, etc. Does this mean that we are holding 20 Bible studies a day? No, however, we are helping our children view the world and their lives through a Biblical worldview. What does that look like? Here are a few examples: As we see a panhandler we can talk about God’s view of work or talk about compassion. As we discipline our kids we talk about how God calls them to obey their parents and as Christians we live under the authority of God. As we eat breakfast we can talk about how God provides us with every good thing. As we help them with math homework we talk about how the laws of mathematics work because God decreed them and established them. We are continually imparting to our kids the understanding that they are God’s creation living in God’s world.
You might be thinking this is a little overwhelming. Maybe right now talking about God only happens before you eat and when you drive home from church. How are we supposed to be this attentive to teaching our kids in the day to day of life? Let’s look again at verse 8-9, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” To understand the application of diligently teaching and discipling our children we must return to the necessary pre-qualification of loving God. In order to teach our kids continually we must be keeping Gods truth in front of ourselves as parents.
I know many are overwhelmed by this call. It easy to think that we are not smart enough, or properly equipped for this task. I want encourage you that your children do not need pastors or theologians nearly as much as they need you. You will make mistakes. Sometimes you may have to go back to your kids and correct something you taught them as you learn and grow. But as you follow God and share this with your children they will grow with you. It will not happen overnight. Sometimes it may be frustrating, but it if we are diligent in teaching and discipling we will see them grow in godliness. Let us not ignore Proverbs 22:6 to, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” I often encounter Christians that do not truly believe this verse. They are quick to point out that this is not the case for many parents or kids they know. Rather than focus on the exception, let us focus on the normative application of these texts. Let us not ignore God’s direction but trust in the promises of His Word. Let us be faithful to love God with our heart, soul and might. Let us be faithful, diligently teaching our kids the ways of the Lord. Let us be faithful to do these things in the day to day rhythms of life. We all have habits and routines; let us use these things intentionally to teach our children the glorious truths of God.