Keep on Swimming. . .

everyday life inside the fishbowl

Monday Meditations: Doing the “Say” We Tell Kids to Do

on October 8, 2013

{I know it’s Tuesday. . . I just didn’t have time to post this yesterday! 🙂 }

ImageWe’ve all heard the phrase we should never use, “Do as I say, not as I do.” My husband reminded us of this in his Sunday afternoon sermon when he pointed us to Deuteronomy 6. This passage is a familiar one. We even printed it out and framed it for our living room as a constant reminder.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our 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 gate. (Deut 6:4-9).

God commanded Israel that they love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls, and might. Jesus later repeated this command, stating that this was the most important of all the commands (Matt 22:37).

Loving God supremely is so important that God said that we should teach it diligently to our children. We should talk about God and how much we should love him when we sit in the house, when we walk outside, when we go to bed, when we wake up. God should be the priority in all of our conversations with our children. God should be the topic of every conversation, in the sense that everything we say should reflect how important God is and how much we should love him.

My mom has always been very good at this. I remember seeing her on the couch day after day, reading her Bible and praying. She would tell us about what she was reading, interrupting whatever we were doing. I even remember her walking into our rooms, while she was in the middle of reading to tell us something she read. She also pointed to God in the everyday moments of life. I see it more clearly now that I watch her do it with her grandchildren–my children and my sisters’ children. She points out the beautiful flowers and trees and tells our kids how God created them and how good God is. She tells them how wonderful it is that we have our senses to be able to fully enjoy the many good things God has given us. My mom has been such a godly example to me in this area. I find myself intentionally doing this with Calvin and Mackenna now.

So we see that God commands us to teach our children words. . . the truth that they should love God. But before God tells us to teach them the words, he tells us one more thing. He says, “You shall love the Lord.” He says, “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” Then, he tells us to “teach them diligently to our children.”

If all we do as parents is teach our children to “Do what I say: Love God,” but we aren’t truly loving God in our own hearts, then we are really saying, “Do as I say, but not as I do.” We have said to love God, but we haven’t shown them what that looks like.

Kids are so smart, let alone others in our churches who are watching us. What about when we say, “You should be doing this, because the Bible says so,” yet our kids don’t see us reading God’s Word? Clearly, God’s Word isn’t important to us, so why should they obey it?

What about when we tell our kids that worshiping God and hearing his Word is important, yet we make excuses week after week as to why we don’t come to church? Clearly worshiping God isn’t important, so why should they listen when they do come?

What about when we discipline our kids for not sharing their toys, yet we don’t give faithfully to the church and to others? Clearly giving back to God is not a priority for us, so why should they share?

We can’t tell our kids to love God unless we love God with all our hearts, souls, and might. If we are believers, God has already placed his love upon us. In response, it is only natural that we love him back, but this love must be nurtured by daily feeding of the soul upon God’s Word. When we dwell on who God is, we love him more. That love will overflow until we naturally think and talk about God all the time! To our children. When we sit. When we walk. When we lie. When we rise.

May God help us love him more, so that we can truly teach our children and others to love him as well!

{On Mondays, I share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s 🙂 ) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

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