Parenting is challenging. As a parent I learned how to take an overflowing toilet apart because my son flushed one of his toys! I also learned what 35 yards of dental floss looks like spread throughout my house by my daughter. These and plenty of other stories are a part of my parenting experience. A question I have wrestled with is what is the purpose of parenting from God’s perspective? Is it to keep my sanity? Is it to keep my kids fed, educated and safe? Or is there more?
As I understand the Bible, there is more. Deuteronomy 6 gives me a blueprint of my purpose as a godly parent.
My purpose as a parent is to gradually transfer my child’s dependence from me to God. Our children especially when they were little depended on us for everything. And over time, we will help transfer their dependence to where they will no longer depend on us, but instead, they depend on the only One who will ever be completely faithful and true to them in every single way. We teach them to depend on God.
How do we do that? Deuteronomy 6 gives 2 Vital Principles.
1. Love God Completely
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
This is the phrase that a devout Jew would say three times a day, morning, noon and evening. Notice, the scripture does not say with some, or with a little bit, or with a percentage, but we are told to love God with all of our heart. Many people today love God with a little bit of their hearts. One of the most dangerous things that we can do spiritually as parents is expose our children to just a little bit of God. Let me explain to you why.
If you ever get a flu shot, did they actually put into our body? To keep us from getting the flu, we get a little bit of the flu. Just a little bit, which makes us immune to the whole thing, and I would argue that as parents, so many parents unknowingly give their children just a little bit of the things of God, making them immune to all of His goodness and glory and power and majesty. They find themselves knowing just a little bit about God, but not knowing God personally and intimately in a life-changing way.
For our family Sunday is priority to express our love (or worship) to God as a family. We also love God weekly by serving others, Kaleb (13) helps with the preschool class, Noel (11) helps in the Toddlers, Niki is part of the worship group, part of our DNA as a family is to love God by serving others. The Bible is God’s love letter. I try to read some daily and encourage the family in reading and memorizing God’s word. I love the new phone apps such as www.Joansoft.com and www.Youversion.com that deliver daily verses or reading plans to my phone. The second vital way to transfer dependence to God is to …
2. Lead My Family Intentionally
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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.
The key to teaching my children to love God is stated simply and clearly in these verses. If I want my children to follow God, I have to make God a part of our everyday experiences. I try to help them see God in all aspects of life.
For us we try to eat dinner together as a family at least five nights a week. We pray at each meal and talk about life and what happened during their day. As stories are told and as life experiences are shared, it’s easier to include aspects of truth from God’s word such as how to treat others as God would want us to, being thankful, respectful and responsible. We will also review certain bible verses that are helpful later. Such as in times of discipline and correction (which are more often than I care for) Niki and I try to include God’s perspective, “Do everything without arguing and complaining” Philippians 2:14 or “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you” Luke 6:31, “Children obey your parents…that it may go well for you.” Ephesians 6:1-2. We don’t want to beat them over the head with the Bible but we do want them to understand what God says and how we choose to follow Him in every area of life.
As a parent, I don’t want my kids to have a little bit of God. I want them to see all of His power and greatness. That’s my purpose as a parent.
For more about the series, Leave a Legacy go to www.ridgefellowship.com