By Randy Alcorn, posted March 21, 2018 at: http://www.epm.org
If I could give parents one piece of advice, it would be this: When it comes to your children’s lives, no one can take your place. So, don’t wait for someone else to talk to your kids about Jesus. Do it yourself. Read Scripture with them. Memorize it together. Pray with them. Go help the needy together. Give together and serve together. Show them what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
I love what the parent writing in Proverbs 23:26 says to his child: “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Children don’t just get their spiritual guidance from Scripture; they get it as their eyes observe the ways of their parents. When your children trust you enough to give you their hearts, they will follow your example.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And these words, which I command you today shall be in 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.”
To “teach” is a formal term. It implies a certain time set aside for instruction. This is to be done diligently. It might involve reading to our children, memorizing with them, and discussing relevant issues. Family devotional times can be a great way of providing spiritual reference points which will lead to conversations throughout the week.
The passage also speaks of the informal. We are to “talk” to our children when we sit at home, as we walk, when we go to bed. In our family, many of the greatest learning opportunities arose as we worked together, went out to eat or had fun together, or traveled on vacation.
Above all, the heart of discipleship must always be to take our children back to the cross, to the Gospel of Christ. This should be the center of everything in family life. Our children must see their deep need not merely to be outwardly obedient, but to be delivered from the power of sin, to be transformed on the inside, to become new creations in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (II Corinthians 5:17).
And then, Let Kids Be Kids, as this video suggests:
Deuteronomy 4:9 — Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Matthew 5:16 — (Jesus said), “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I Timothy 4:12b — Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
A PRAYER FOR THE FAMILY by Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) ( God’s Minute, 1916, alt.):
Our Father, we thank you for binding this family together by the sacred tie of common blood. We remember with how much sacrificial love its life has been created and sustained. We thank you for a mother’s travail and tenderness, for a father’s faithful toil. Knit us together by our common joys and sorrows, so that even if we are far removed from one another, nothing may estrange our hearts. When the youngest of us is old and gray-headed, may the memories of our home still be sweet and dear. May the children’s children of this family still have the vigor and virtues of our best forefathers, and may the faith, too, of our fathers and mothers burn brightly in their hearts. Deal graciously with our loved ones. Give us our daily bread and strength for our daily tasks. To you we commit the life and destiny of each; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.