Everybody loves a hero, don't they? Heroes are sure-footed in scary, slippery territory. They rescue the downtrodden and stand strong for principles they believe in. And Bible heroes are some of the best! Daniel, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah. But great heroes aren't born, they're made.
As much as we'd like for our children to "do as we say and not as we do," it just doesn't work that way. We agree that strong spiritual training and going to church are good things to do. But we're tired, stressed out, worn down, and wrung through. So we sleep in or catch up on work. We make excuses for not getting together to fellowship with God's people, the Church.
And yes, our kids notice. A critical piece of the Deuteronomy 6 puzzle involves modeling the behaviors we want our children to imitate. They need to see us in God's Word, in His house and about His business.
Many of our favorite Bible heroes had mothers and fathers who apparently followed the principles from Deuteronomy 6:
- Samuel's precious mother begged God for a child, crying out in her distress until the temple priest thought she was drunk! When God honored her prayer, she dedicated her son to the Lord's service.
- In the midst of a conquering enemy's decree to kill all Jewish baby boys, Moses' mother, Jochabed, coated a tiny basket with pitch and set her son afloat in the Nile River. God rewarded her by letting an Egyptian princess pay her for nursing her own son! Later, of course, Moses led God's people out of bondage.
- Mary and Joseph took 12-year-old Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover, and even though Jesus ended up being the one teaching in the synagogue, this honoring of God's ordained feasts was clearly habitual for their family.
So do not skip out on spiritual discipline in your own family. Set your alarm on Sunday morning. Select some upbeat Christian music to prepare your hearts for worship. Don't just attend church; get involved. Choose appropriate ways that you can serve. Throughout the week, let your children see you with your Bible.
Help others as a family. Adopt a senior citizen at a local nursing home. Visit them once a month to play board games, talk to them about their childhood or bring them their favorite cookies. Choose an elderly couple's home in your neighborhood and ask if you can help with yard work or run errands for them. Adopt a soldier or political leader to pray for. Host visiting missionaries in your home.
Pray for your children's specific current needs and for their futures: that they will accept Christ as their Savior; that God will present them with a mate who has a godly legacy — one who is, as I tell my girls, "crazy about them and crazy about Jesus."
Guide them in praying for others and for themselves. Pray that God would present them with a need that they can help with, that He would make clear how their gifts and abilities could best serve Him.
Training a child in God's way is no small task. It is an awesome, humbling responsibility. But God promises that His Word does not return to us void. It won't to our children either. So take advantage of the opportunities everyday to impress God's truth on some very teachable hearts — yours included.
Read part one in this series.
Copyright © 2010 by Cindy Sigler Dagnan. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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