"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the door of your house and on your gates."
So many times through the scriptures God instructs us to explain things to our children. For example with the Passover,
"And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt." Exodus 13:8.
But beyond explaining them, we need to live these things out before our children so they know how to apply what you teach them.
"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16
"Be doers of the word, and not just hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22
So our goal as parents is to raise our children unto maturity. (Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 5:12-14, Ephesians 4:11-14, 2 Peter 3:16-18, Collisions 1:9-10). We do this by:
(1) Praying for them (2) Teaching them the Word of God(3) Daily, in each situation, teaching them about God's love, His grace, and how to apply God's Word(4) Living out the Word of God before them as examples
My husband and I have always strived to do these things with our children. We pray that they will grow into mature adults so in love with Jesus, able to discern good from evil, not ashamed of the gospel, and able to stand up in the face of persecution.
We pray with our children, we read through the Bible every day, every night, and several times throughout the day. We memorize scripture and talk about how to apply it. We walk our children through many situations bringing them back to the Word of God and illustrating how to apply scripture in each one. We also live the Word out in front of our children so they can see that we do the same thing in our own lives as adults.
Every Friday we go grocery shopping. We load up the car and pray the same prayer every week,
"Lord please guide us today. Protect us. Help us spend our money in the way that You want us to. Help us share Your love with people we run into today. Please allow us to see how you want to use us. Help the kids be obedient and good examples so we are able to share the gospel."
I then often remind them of a scripture that we've been meditating on or working on such as,
"Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right." Proverbs 20:11
"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better then himself." Philippians 2:3.
I work with the children on holding the cart, not grabbing things off the shelves, putting their hand on my leg if they need something instead of interrupting a conversation I am in, not fighting with their siblings or doing things that irritate them, helping me unload the cart, pack bags, get siblings buckled in ect. All these things allow me to share the gospel with those around me!
"Wow! It's so refreshing to see such obedient kids!" "Praise the Lord! We just read the Bible and do what it says!"
Or when they're acting up and I'm correcting them (because my kids won't always be great examples. *surprise, surprise* I'm often surprised when we have a decent day and I only need to hand out a handful of discipline when we get home! We're not perfect, just forgiven; we're an awesome example of that!)...
"Thankyou for correcting your kids. You just don't see that anymore.""Praise the Lord! We just read the Bible and do what it says!"
We get lots of stares (some good, some bad - we are a strange looking family with so many small kids and 5 months pregnant with another).
I'm very vocal out in public just as I am in the home, quoting scripture, praying and asking the Lord to remind me what I needed to buy, praising the Lord when my total comes to just what I needed it to, encouraging other mom's with many small children to press on, reminding my kids to respect elders or to help pick up whatever package fell off the shelf.
Today was a very encouraging day!
There's a sample man at CostCo we've been sharing Christ with for a few years. He had a bandage on his arm so the kids asked what was wrong. He shared he had skin cancer and they had to remove it. He shared the doctors were sure they were going to need to go back and remove more. The kids and I prayed for him asking the Lord to heal Him if that's His will, but mostly that God would show Him how much He loves Him and cares about him.
We went back today and saw this man.
"You!" He said pointing at me with such amazing excitiment and youthfulness in his face (he's got to be 60-70 years old). "I've got something... we've got something for you to do! I've been telling everyone! You healed me!"
"No _____, I didn't heal you, God healed you!"
"I've been telling everyone!" As he held up his hand! "Now I need you to pray for my wife. She has stomach cancer. They've given her 6 weeks to live."
"Of course we will ______! How are you doing with that? We care so much about you! I need to know if you know where you're going when you die and if your wife does to? If you're certain you know Jesus, then you'll see her again!"
He proceeded to tell us how him and "the man upstairs" talked a lot during his time in Vietnam.
I've been asking the Lord all day how we are to minister to this man and why He healed him and what He wants to do next.
I'm so excited to sit down with the kids and read through the book of Acts and explain to them that we did just what the disciples did and God answered our prayer that morning as we loaded up the car, and that prayer we prayed over that man at CostCo! Now we need to pray fervently for his salvation and his wife's salvation!
How can we tell our children that we believe in Jesus, we believe in the Bible, yet we shun away from actually living it out in our own lives before them?!?
Why do we separate how we are in private with who we are in public?!?
How can we pray for our country and ask God to bring a revival when we're not even sharing Christ's love with the people we run into day to day?!?
Oh weary parent!
Read the Word to your kids.
Step out and pray for that cashier that is having a bad day.
Teach your children they participate in ministry by being obedient and respectful to you.
Read over the scriptures above and implement them in your home!
Let's actually be DOERS of the WORD and not hearers only.
Let's talk about these things when we rise, when we lie down, when we walk by the way.
Let's raise our children into maturity by showing them how to overcome flesh, how to evangelize, how to treat one another.