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29 March 2008

Writing on the Doorposts

And now for something of a "parenting" post from a guy whose kids are still in the house and are still rather young. "He'll get what's coming to him," you may say. So be it. This post is also about learning if we believe what we say we believe.

"So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine [the words of God]. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.

"Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him." - Moses, speaking for God in Deuteronomy 11:18-22 (NLT)

As a child and a teenager, I don't know if I ever really took my dad at his word when he told me that my rotten attitude about many things was actually a spiritual issue at heart. I didn't know just how much impact it had when he wrote out and placed Scriptures around the house (which resulted in memorization whether I wanted it to or not). Had he not continually taught my family the Word (which he had the free will not to do), my life would be different now. Different in what way, I cannot imagine, but at the very least, I feel very safe in guessing that I would not be on a pastoral staff anywhere. (On a side note, this is one fine example of how our free-will choices have far-reaching consequences.)

I don't use my life as an example of how to raise your kids. Instead, I point to the Scripture above. Notice that adherence to that Scripture does not allow us to relegate the teaching of the Word of God to a devotional time with our children in the evenings (times which I'll bet are far less frequent than we'd care to admit).

While, "Because I said so," may sometimes seem like a valid answer to our kids, wouldn't it be prudent to explain to kids that in the Word of God, disobedience to parents is a character trait of those who are sinful, wicked, and foolish? It is grouped with a number of other sins in attitudes and actions which might seem to us to be far more vile. (Romans 1:18, 28-32, 2 Timothy 3:1-5)

In a nutshell, we don't ever have down-time from our Christianity. It is an integral part of who we are. I have come to believe that a great way of measuring the genuineness of our commitment to following Christ is to take an honest look at how (or even if) we pass that commitment along to our children.

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