I must confess…as a dad, I worry about how my children will turn out. I am not talking about their behavior or how smart they are or how athletic they are. Those things are good, but as a parent, I am more concerned about who they become and what their hearts belongs too.
I imagine you have the same worries about your children, who they become and what has their heart.
Where does our children’s heart belong?
In Matthew 22:37, Jesus is cornered by some religious leaders and they ask Him, what is the greatest commandment? Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
What matters most is loving God. Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Where do our children learn about God’s love?
Who has the greatest potential to influence a child?
At a conference I attended family ministry expert, Reggie Joiner, shared the research that children spend roughly 40 hours each year in church environments. If they attend camps, retreats, and other experiences, they may spend 50-70 hours in faith-forming activities led by ministry leaders per year. Compare that to the over 3000 hours children spend with parents….
…A child has 3,000 hours to spend with parents.
Now as you think about your family and church,…
….Who has the potential to have a greater influence in a child’s life…
…A ministry leader or the family?
Read Deut 6:4-7…
“4Hear, 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. 7 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” (Deut. 6:4-7, NIV).
- 4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
This verse is stating clearly, so there is no mistake, that God alone is worthy of our worship. He is to be the only God of Israel.
There is exclusiveness about Yahweh; He demands total love (loyalty, commitment, and dedication) from His people.
- 5 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
This verse, sets forth that the Lord as the only God the Israelites could love. “Love Him with all….” It leaves no place for devotion to another god. It lifts allegiance to God above all human loyalties.
v.6 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.”
When you are serious about something you give it priority in your life.
What does it mean to be upon your hearts? Another translation uses the term, “get it inside of you.”
What happens when you have something inside of you?
When you get something inside of you, it transforms you. It changes you from the inside out, by starting with your thoughts. Your thoughts affect how you feel and how you feel comes out through your actions.
Thoughts lead to feelings, and feelings lead to actions.
When studying God’s word, we get our thoughts and our attitude around the commands to love God, and as we love God our lives will be changed.
For us to teach or pass our faith onto the next generation we must first have it in us. It must love God. We must have faith in Christ.
Look at verse7…
Here we find the strategy to help families pass faith on to the next generation…
- 7 “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.”
The word, “impress,” here means, to affect deeply in your mind or feelings, to urge, as something to be remembered or done, to apply with pressure, so as to leave a mark.
Parents are to impress the “Word” on their children’s mind and make it the subject of natural everyday conversation within family life. Talking about your faith in the Lord is something that must be shared in the home.
Instruction begins in the home. The Hebrew word for parent is “horim.” The Hebrew word for teacher is “morim.” Both words mean to teach and to instruct.
According to author Perry Stone, in his book, “Breaking The Jewish Code,” In the Jewish culture, fathers begin teaching their son spiritual matters at age 3. Instruction begins in the preschool years: at ages 1-5 personality develops, in the teen yrs the value system develops, and in the 20’s a person’s work ethic develops.
Remember The Lord’s instruction in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a children in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
When do parents teach or impress matters of faith into their children.
In the second part of verse 7, God gives us a strategy through Moses. He tells us how we can leverage shared moments in our family life in order to pass faith onto to our children.
- 7b “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Here are four times in your family’s life that can be used to share about faith in Christ:
- Meal Time- when you sit at home
- Drive Time-when you walk along the road
- Bed Time-when you lie down
- Morning Time-when you get up
How are you going to model, what Christ commanded in your family…to Love God with your life?
Imagine what would happen in your home, church, and community.