There can be no greater wish for every Christian parent than that their child would have a close walk with God. We have experienced the sweetness of a relationship with Him and so we rightly pray and desire for our children to bask in His love, too! As such, we encourage our children to prayer, and we are especially compelled by Scripture to study the Bible with our beloved little ones. The truth is that there is no blessing or equipment which our children need more than God’s Word.
God Himself knew how precious His Word would be. So, in His grace, we have been given the Holy Spirit who helps us to understand it. God’s Word is so important, He has commanded parents to pass its wisdom on to each generation.
“”You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”Deuteronomy 11:18-19, ESV
The future of God‘s Kingdom lies in the hearts of children, and the single greatest influence in a child’s life is often his parents. So it is not just our children who need to be saturated in the Word. If we are to influence our littles for the Kingdom, we must have the Scriptures engraved on our heart and mind. Indeed, if we hope to teach the sweetest things of the wisdom of God, we will first have to taste it ourselves.
Our Daily Bread
“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”Psalms 119:103, NASB
Truly, the Bible is a satisfying meal to the hungry soul. Every Christian heart craves it and reading it is a glorious indulgence. And as we delight in the Scriptures, we will undoubtedly be guided by its precepts.
Parents desperately need this guidance, and the daily spiritual sustenance that the Word provides. Those who read the Word of God regularly and enjoy its truth are those who are well-fed and well-equipped for the conflicts and struggles of life. It strengthens us, leads us, feeds our faith and renews our mind.
“But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”Matthew 4:4, ESV
God’s people – those who love Him and hear Him – delight in the law of the LORD, and meditate on His Word day and night (Psalms 1:2). We diligently yearn to fulfill God’s commands of us, and seek Him with our whole heart (Psalm 119:2).
What does this mean for parents?
The world around us chants the age-old mantras… that children “belong” to their parents, that children are to be seen and not heard, and that children can be trained through violence and emotional abuse. For centuries, throughout pagan culture, children were viewed as stupid and little better than slaves. Worst of all, infants were most valuable to pagan societies when they were brutally sacrificed on the altars of false gods.
Without the Word of God, these frightening realities might be our only example of parenthood. But God foresaw so much, and provided us with a better example. He provided us a template of perfect parenthood in Himself and taught us this example through the testimony of Scripture. He showed us the power of sacrifice, the sweetness of fatherly affection, the warmth of perfect security and the supremacy of love.
So why is it so important that Christian parents regularly indulge in the Word of God? Because it is there that we find our primary example and the most powerful guidance for Christian living and gentle parenting that has ever been compiled in history. Gentle parents know how vehemently our beliefs are regarded by much of the church. We must know the Word of God and know God‘s will for us as parents in order to be confident in our decisions, to know that we have chosen rightly and respected God and our children.
We wish to teach our children the Bible; and this is a lovely and godly desire. Yet the desire to live daily in conformity to the Bible is far superior. We must imitate Christ Himself and make decisions based on the ethics of God. Can we do so if we neglect the reading of Scripture? I probably could teach my son that he shouldn’t kill his neighbor without consulting a Bible, sure. I’m not so sure I could teach my son to have faith, gentleness and fearlessness on my own, though.
He provided us a template of perfect parenthood in Himself and taught us this example through the testimony of Scripture. He showed us the power of sacrifice, the sweetness of fatherly affection, the warmth of perfect security and the supremacy of love.
And so I turn to God’s Word regularly and I imprint its precepts on my brain. This happens as a result of daily exercise. It takes repetition and practice to learn a skill, and daily practice to build a habit. Some have suggested it could take as many as 400 repetitions of a task to create a habit (even more than that if you are unlearning a bad habit). That’s what the Word of God does. It renews our mind, slowly rewiring our brain in the image of Christ. What better way to teach our children about Christ than to be like Him?
I close this article with a final thought. The old proverb goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. I have also heard it said, ‘you wouldn’t eat seven apples on Sunday’. In other words, spiritual health is only maintained and vitalized through daily self-discipline. We cannot eat seven apples on Sunday and expect the same health benefit as an apple every day. We cannot receive Scriptural guidance on Sunday, and neglect to taste the Word the rest of the week; it simply won’t offer us the same benefit.
That’s what the Word of God does; it renews our mind, slowly rewiring our brain in the image of Christ.
For our children’s sake, we must be daily disciples, basking in the glory of God’s embrace every day. Committing to it can be exhausting and overwhelming, but the benefit is astronomical in comparison to the sacrifice of our time. We cannot make our children believe the Word, but we can certainly make them believe that God is our highest pleasure.