If you follow me, you know, we've been preaching a series at First Christian about Family Discipleship, based on Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God's plan for raising faith-filled kids in a culture that does not know or love God.
NOTE: If you do not have kids, or if they are grown--if you belong to a church family, you are PART of the FAMILY OF GOD and you have a role to play in loving the next generation into faith. AND--I PROMISE as you read this THE HOLY SPIRIT will point out plenty of application for your life.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God gives us THREE DIRECTIVES that show us how to disciple the next generation (our children) in the faith.
DIRECTIVE ONE: Make the personal decision to LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART!
Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (NIV) "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts."
You can't pass to others what you don't personally possess! This is NOT about being religious, or attending religious services. This is about loving and being devoted to God.
DIRECTIVE TWO: Intentionally pass your faith on to your children
Deuteronomy 6:7 (NIV) "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."
I.e. You don't have to ADD ANYTHING NEW to your schedule. Simple include God in the schedule you're already living. Include Him in the conversations and rituals you're already having with your kids, as you wake, drive, eat, chill, get ready for bed. Prayerfully invite God to be part of all of that--so that you acknowledge Him n prayer... allow His Holy Spirit to remind you of verses from His Word as you encounter moments of stress, joy, blessing, fear, etc. through the day--and as you go to bed--say your prayers--thank God for His blessings... if you child is little tell them a story that includes Bible truths... just make God part of your life.
DIRECTIVE THREE: Live your life for God--and you WILL be a witness for Him.
Deuteronomy 6:8-9 (NIV) "Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
Allow God's Word to guide all of your thoughts (bind it on your forehead) and to direct all that you do (bind it on your hands). Posting God's Word on your doorframe says to all who enter--"This is a home of faith--we love and followChrist!" And posting God's Word on your "gate" is a reminder for you as you leave home each day that you are entering the world as an Ambassador for Christ!
As families LIVE and raise their kids like this --- FAITH IS PASSED ON!
TODAY I want to challenge you to lovingly lead your kids toward NEXT (age-appropriate) STEPS.
As children become teens, then young adults--part of growing in Christ--includes growing in service and responsibility. As kids grow up, they naturally want more "freedom"... this is where they have to learn that freedom ALWAYS comes hand-in-hand with RESPONSIBILITY. If you want a phone, you pay for it and you use it honorably and responsibly. If you want a privilege, you do your chores, homework, etc. When you graduate from High School you either pursue work, training for a trade college, or something productive. I.e. you prayerfully form a plan and work it--you don't lay on the couch and play video games all day and expect a free ride.
PARENTS, it's our responsibility to help our kids navigate these steps from childhood, to teen, to adulthood, successfully---with Jesus at the CENTER of every step.
I'm going to close this out with an illustration about a mamma-eagle and her babies and "How she HELPS them grow up." As you read it, think about how God does this with us, and how we as parents are called to do this for our kids.
When a mother eagle builds her nest she starts with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and a number of other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the project. But then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs.
By the time the growing birds reach flying age, the comfort of the nest and the luxury of free meals makes them quite reluctant to leave.
That's when the mother eagle begins stirring up the nest. With her strong talons she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and thorns to the surface. As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes more uncomfortable for the young eagles.
Eventually, this and other urgings prompt the growing eagles to leave their once-comfortable abode and move on to more mature behavior.
80s Christian Metal Blessings,