What are you discipling to your kids?
God Commands Parents to Pass on Their Faith
When God gave the Israelites his law through Moses, He gave them the command to pass it on to their children.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:6-9
The Consequences of Disobeying
In Judges, we read that the Israelites failed to follow these commands and the next generation grew up and turned away from the Lord.
After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. – Judges 2:10-12
In one generation, the Israelites fell away from God. They turned to worshiping false gods and living sinfully after their own desires.
Fast forward to today, statistics show that two-thirds of the next generation is leaving the Christian Church by the time they are adults. As Christian parents, God has given us the job to disciple our children according to the Bible. When we hear these stats and look around and see the state of the culture, it is time to humbly examine our lives.
Examining Our Lives
In the Deuteronomy passage, we see that God commands the Israelites to pass down His laws by talking about them, living them out, and making them always present in their life. We have been called to do the same thing for our children – to share God’s Word with them, to live it out daily, and to make it the centerpiece of our lives.
So, how are we doing?
Have we given our kids free range to the influence of this world through hours a day in front of screens?
Have we bought the lie that happiness and satisfaction are found in the things the world offers rather than God? Have we modeled this lifestyle to our kids?
Have we passed off the responsibility to train them up in their faith to pastors, teachers, childcare workers, or grandparents?
Do our children see our love for God’s Word? Do we open it up daily? Do we talk about it often? Do we read the Bible with them?
Do they see us in prayer often? Do we pray with them?
Do they see us trying to live out God’s Word faithfully? Do they see us fighting against sin? Do they see us unaffected by money, status, or possessions? Do our kids see us living for others?
As parents, the most powerful way we disciple our kids is not by the words we speak, but by the actions we live. Our lives reveal the truth of what our hearts treasure. Sadly, we must confess that we too often love the world and its fleshly pursuits. Our hearts drive us to invest our time, energy, and money, following the world, while we struggle to show our children our relationship with God because it is barely there.
Seeing our sins, God calls us to repent.
Repentance Brings Hope
The great news is God is loving and compassionate, ready to forgive us and lift us up if we repent.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. – James 4:10
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
God doesn't need perfect parents. He seeks people who are willing to humble themselves, repent of their sins, and have hearts that are willing to follow Him. When we do this, God is more than capable of winning the battle for the next generation in our homes.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14