Our boys aren't little kids anymore.
The way they think, talk, act...it's changing. Sometimes, I feel like I'm speaking with adults.
I can't just talk with them about the 7 days of creation (although that is foundational), or the fact that God created them and loves them (also critical), or simply have a short devotional and prayer time together. As they age, I need to provide them with adequate, meaningful teaching so they can grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 2 Peter 3:18).
Here's how I'm changing my approach and going from doing devotionals to discipleship...
Parents, we need to know how to make a case for the truths and teachings of Christianity and how to apply them to every day life. Call it apologetics, call it theology, call it what you will - we need to do it.
This doesn't always entail a sit-down session but it should. Often, it will be in passing, when we wake, when we travel, before we go to bed, etc. It will/should also take place when tragic world events happen, when a loved one passes away, when a friend betrays us, when you lose a job, and so on. Before they're adults, use those circumstances to draw near to God and the counsel of His Word, together with your child(ren).
Here's a short list of three important topics to discuss...
1. We can gain courage by doing what is right
1 Chronicles 22:13 - Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed
When we do what is right, we do not have a guilty or condemning conscience that tells us we deserve punishment. We cannot be courageous when we are doing what is wrong. The important question is, what is right? Whatever the Lord commands! Follow His Word. We will prosper if we are careful to do what the Lord says.
2. Courage comes from waiting on God
Psalm 27:14 - Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!
To wait on the Lord does not mean to sit and do nothing, but instead to put your faith in God who is able to bring about victory. To wait on God is to rest in God. To wait on God is to pray. To seek His face. To think upon His goodness and to recognize that He is Sovereign.
3. Courage comes from hoping in the Lord
Psalm 31:24 - Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.
This is very similar to waiting on the Lord. Where are you looking for the answer to your problem? Hoping in the Lord means looking to the Lord. You will not gain courage by dwelling on the problem. It is certainly important to confront problems and we shouldn't pretend as if they don't exist. But we will only gain courage by looking to the One that can help us!
4. Courage comes from having people around us that encourage us
Isaiah 41:6 - Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, “ Be of good courage!”
The word encourage means to fill someone with courage. What type of people do you have around you? Are they speaking life into you or death? Negative and people will drain you of your courage, but those who are seeking the Lord and faith-filled will encourage you, because they are able to make good deposits into your life. Check your circle. I'm not saying to completely avoid 'negative' people, after all, we need to help them, but it's important that we too surround ourselves with helpful people, as the text says.
Acts 28:15 - And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.”
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deut.6:4-8)
'Passing on the faith' has to do with teaching Gods commandments to the next generation. That's the WHAT. Thankfully, God also gave us the HOW.
We need to be careful not to treat it as a checklist of information we need to 'serve' to our children. In todays culture, we're used to giving/receiving information, services or products, in the form of transactions. We drive up to Starbucks, place an order, pay for that order, and receive that order. Done. Move on. We log on to Google, type in a request, receive the information, and move on. DANGER in this method: We'll segregate our time into buckets of activities that are 'Christian/holy/faith-based, etc.' and buckets that are 'secular/non-faith-based.' To the Christian, everything we do must be done with a clear conscious and with full dependence on God.
Teaching our children and the next generation about God and His marvelous works must be a lifestyle. Speak His Word, sing it, live it, listen to it, act it out (for the younger children), ask questions about it, study it, write it, record it, share it etc., as you go about your daily life. When you wake, when you sleep. When you travel, when you're at home. That's what God tells us in Deuteronomy 6. And, not that you need a reminder but...God knows best! BENEFIT of this method: We will develop a holy habit of putting God at the center of everything - faith, family, career, and so on.
Note: This lifestyle method is not about making Him the Lord of your life. That's an overused and misused Christianese phrase. He already IS the LORD! Whether you 'make Him Lord' or not, does not diminish His power or authority. It will, however, diminish yours.
Keep the Fire Burning,
Biblical, on-the-go, tips for meeting with God. Written from our experiences as parents. This is our digital space for jotting down learning moments from our devotional time throughout the week.