The Bible tells us that we need to constantly teach our children the Word of God, and thus by extension, we are teaching theology, about God and His character.
““Hear, O Israel: The Lordour God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4–9, ESV)
However, something we also do as parents is to teach our children how to live. Basic skills. When I child is born, we do everything for them, from feeding to changing diapers to getting them dressed. And, as they get older, they learn to do things on their own. A lot of that learning is done through mimicking what they see their parents and other adults in their lives do. They also learn a lot from being prompted what to do, from being taught. Not just observing on their own, but it being a teaching moment, taking them to teach them something. For example, we have a 15 year old staying with us, a freshman in high school (from another country), and this child has not learned a lot of basic things, like doing the dishes. She was never shown, nor did she really ever observe them being done. I don’t know why, but, that’s the way it is. While she is in our home, she is learning a lot (I hope and pray), things that will help her be more successful in life.
In the same way, we need to not only teach our children the Bible and about God (Theology), but we need to also teach them how to apply it to their lives. In his letter to Titus, Paul writes the following:
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” (Titus 2:1–8, ESV)
And, just like teaching someone to do the dishes or their laundry, the best way to do this is to model it for them. We need to model our lives as Christ-Centered on His Good News, the Gospel. Living a life focused on Christ in all aspects, showing that He is Lord of your life, your marriage, your everything will have such a major impact on your children.
Another area in which we need to teach is not just to our children, but also to new Christians. New Christians are quite possibly the most easily influence group of Christians that exist. We need to teach, we need to model, and we need to teach them to be wise, discerning, and shrewd. Why do I use those three things? Because there are so many things people teach that are in the Bible that are NOT in the Bible. For instance, no where in the Bible does it say God will never give you more than you can handle. No matter what someone might say, it’s not there. It does say, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV). There is a big difference, and someone who doesn’t know to search and check what people say against the Word of God (Acts 17:11) won’t necessarily know or figure out what is false and what is true. They will fall prey to wolves in sheep’s clothing, and we don’t want and cannot let that happen to new Christians, just as we wouldn’t let that happen to our own children or family. New Christians are our family, our brothers and sister in Christ.
And in all of this, there is one thing that I have moved away from in this wonderful age of technology: my iPad. My iPad is a wonderful thing and I still use it for Bible study quite often, however, when it comes to my personal devotions, nothing beats a physical print Bible. Why? Because when my children see me reading my iPad, they have no idea what I may be doing. When they see me holding the Word of God, they see me reading the Word of God. And all too often my oldest asks if I can read her a Bible story.
Now, this post really didn’t have much structure to it, it was really just a flow of my thoughts that I have been having today. And it’s been a long day. I haven’t slept for more than 45 minutes in a sitting since the day before yesterday. However, no matter what, I do it all, even lose sleep, for the Glory of God.
-Soli Deo Gloria