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. — Deuteronomy 6:6–7.
What does it mean to be a man of faith? In Jeremiah 17:7-8, we are reminded that “one who trusts in the Lord…is like a tree planted by the water…It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.” A man of faith always thrives because he is connected directly to the Source of Life. This is one of 12 devotions looking at the defining characteristics of godly men by looking at the Bible’s leaders and heroes.
When it comes to raising children, the Bible is very clear about the responsibility and role of the parent — Jewish and Christian alike. Our primary duty is to “impress” upon our children God’s commandments and teachings. Other translations render this command as “teach diligently” or “repeat to your children,” or even “repeat again and again.” The commandment goes on to explain that we are to do this diligent teaching when we get up, when we lie down, when we are walking on the road, when we are sitting down.
The message is clear: Teaching our children about God’s laws and commandments is a full-time endeavor. The Bible encourages our total commitment to God and to obeying His commands. The entire family is to be immersed in the spiritual life.
So how do we do this? The most effective ways are by serving as role models of holiness for our children and creating a home atmosphere that is conducive for spirituality and God-centeredness. As parents, we can be proactive in surrounding our children with the proper environment and eliminating ungodly influences wherever possible. We have a biblical privilege to expend time and energy to ensure that our children’s friends, teachers, and even their activities, reinforce rather than conflict with the values that we are trying to instill.
In addition, teaching our children about God should be life-oriented, along with basic knowledge about our faith. Formal religious education, even family devotional time, has its place, but often our children learn best when we use the context of everyday life to teach them about God.
Want your children to know what it means to be honest in dealing with other people? Let them see you return a lost wallet, or tell a cashier about handing you too much change. Want them to learn about compassion for others? Let them see you take groceries to an elderly neighbor. Have them come with you to volunteer at a soup kitchen.
As you make God a part of your everyday experience, your children will be “impressed” with how to follow and love God.
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