Friday, June 5, 2009

Spiritual Training - How I Teach My Children The Word Of God

The following is written by a mother of three who desires to see her sons grow in the nurture and admonition of Jesus Christ. Thank you Heather for sharing your heart.

I really just want to share the convictions of my heart and a couple of things I do at home with my children.

Firstly, we have established in our house that the Word of God is vitally important. It is the thing, when read, meditated on and memorized that keeps us from sin. (Psalm 119:11) We treat it with respect and also reverence and awe because it is the living Word of God … it speaks to us, reproves us, corrects us, instructs us in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

When we’re in church … as much as possible … we strongly encourage our children to have their Bibles open and following the scripture that the preacher is referring to. We’ve done this pretty much from the time they have started learning to read. When they ask about the meaning of scriptures or certain words in the verses they’re reading, we explain it to them. This helps them listen to the preacher, and have an understanding of the Word of God.

I love to sing and I especially love to sing many of the new choruses at church and, while they may not be scripture verbatim, they are the Word of God in principle. I used to wake them up with “Arise, shine, for the light is come.” It gives them a scripture and a song to start the day with. I’ll be doing my housework and to pass the time quickly, I’ll sing something like “One way, Jesus” … something upbeat and I’ll go bopping around the house doing that. It may not be word for word scripture but when you have words like “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me,” or “One way, Jesus … You are the way, the truth and the life, we live by faith and not by sight for You” we have the opportunity for the Word of God to make its way into the hearts of our children. It’s even better when it’s scripture set to song.

While we were away on a recent family holiday, we took turns to take devotions. I read out of Habakkuk 3:17-19 … of course that chorus stuck in my head for the rest of the week and is still going around my head.

Rob and I have been singing to our children ever since our children were newborns. “Jesus loves you and I love you and that’s the way it should be.”

Sometimes my children will take some words out of the scriptures and set their own tune and rhythm to the words! They have heaps of fun!!

I like to talk about the Word of God in a conversational way and encourage my children with it. I can think of no better way to encourage my children then with the Word of God, so when they come home from school and they’ve had trouble with some other children and they would like to do such and such to those other children, I encourage them with the scripture “pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Often difficult situations arise in their lives, but these situations are opportunities to apply the Word of God to their circumstances. It helps them to understand the Bible as the living Word of God. We pray about their situations and we pray the Word of God over their lives/situations.

Bedtime stories are a great way to get the Word of God into the hearts of our children. When my eldest was little, his favourite story was “David and Goliath.” There are sooo many story books out there, not just at the Christian book store, but even in the secular book shops. I can’t help but think that the world must place some sort of significance on the Word of God.

I know that many fathers have read their unborn babies scriptures … that is a really beautiful thing to do. It is possible, even easy, to teach even the littlest one about the Word of God. “Jesus loves you,” “Jesus made you special,” “Jesus has something very special for you to do.” You won’t find those phrases word for word in the Bible, but the concepts are there … Psalm 139:14, Jeremiah 29:11‑14 … and our children will grow up embracing the truth of the Word of God.

We have bought our children devotion books and we encourage them to read them. Sometimes we read them to the boys and then we have discussions around the scriptures that have just been read.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.

I am convinced that I have to be living the Word of God myself. I don’t think that I can teach my children the Word of God unless I am trying with all my heart to live it. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 says that “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”

I am not perfect and sometimes I have to repent, but I am not afraid of my children seeing me repent. The Bible tells us that we need to repent and my children need a practical example of how repentance works. Not that I deliberately sin so that my children can have an example of repentance, but when I do the wrong thing, my children need to see my deal with it as the Bible tells me to do.

If I teach them the Word of God and I don’t live it, they will eventually think Christians are hypocrites. While I may not be the only Bible my children read, I am with my children more then almost anyone else and my example is important.

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