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Mario Ducic                                                                        

November 2010

Teach them 
To Your Children
 



 

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

 

The topic I wish to share with you is probably a less-popular, but very important, one about raising children by a biblical model. 

 

As a young believer I was affected by divorces among my professors and Bible teachers, and today it is very difficult for me to hear stories about divorce among believers, especially when I see Christian families falling apart and their children walking away from the Lord or taking on a religious form as a means of hiding the deep hurt incurred by their parents or church members.  This is why it is not strange to see a lost generation of children who do not want to have anything to do with God or the church among Christians, pastors or ministry workers. Some perhaps go to church on Sundays, but their lifestyle and cold heart reveals that they do not belong to the Lord.

 

Not long ago, while talking with a friend, I recalled a story that shocked all of us students at a Bible institute in Dallas, TX.  One of our professors left her children and husband because of a call to full-time ministry.  Apparently her family was standing in her way.  When those around her tried to point out that she was violating certain biblical principles, this was her answer, "I would have come to counseling if you had not presumed to open the Bible to me."  

 

There is an obvious problem that seems to be ignored, and that is Christian parents have neglected certain principles of God's Word that are directly tied to raising children.  Rather than training them according to Biblical principles and raising up a faithful generation that loves the Lord their God will all their heart, it is often hoped that children's church, youth camp, or Vacation Bible School will make up for years of passivity and ignoring God's instructions and written Word.

 

Rather than the church returning to biblical mandates of raising children, she ignores certain principles and therefore loses the next generation of believers; children become rebellious, they turn against the Lord, or simply become religious without the true life of Christ.  While one could write a book on this topic, I will try to emphasize basic biblical principles that are connected to raising children.  I believe that they will help us raise a faithful, strong, and godly generation that loves God with its whole heart, soul and mind.

 

 

 1.    IF WE WISH TO HAVE A FAITH, STRONG, AND GODLY GENERATION OF CHILDREN OUR PRIORITY MUST BE TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO LOVE GOD WITH THEIR WHOLE HEART!

 

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

 

These words that were given to Israel are everlasting and for all generations.  The Lord Jesus Christ repeated them when He answered the Pharisee who tried to tempt Him by asking, "'Which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said to him, "'"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment.'" (Matthew 22:36-38)

 

There is not a more important commandment for the Christian life than to love the Lord with our whole heart, soul and mind.  Unfortunately, we are witness to the fact that we, as believers, do not love the Lord with our whole heart, although we attend church on Sundays, and many believer's children do not follow the Lord, nor do they love Him with their whole heart.

 

According to social standards, a child does not need to have perfect behavior, because in the world there are many children who "behave nicely", while children in the church know what to say and how to act while their hearts are far from the Lord. 

 

Many times in the Bible God told His people that their works appeared good on the outside, but on the inside they are corrupt because they did not love Him with their whole heart.  Both children and adults are like those in Isaiah who honored God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. "Therefore the Lord said: 'Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.'" (Isaiah 29:13)

 

Therefore, we should not raise our children to simply behave properly in church, we must teach them to love God with their whole being.  Unfortunately, today for many parents, it is more important what others say about their children, and not so much what God sees, which is why they place more importance on outward appearance rather than what is valuable to God.

 

Do our children truly love God with their whole heart or do they simply worry about how they behave at church and in the company of others?

 

Do we pour out our heart to the Lord or simply come to God's house to fulfill a formality, while living the rest of the week only for ourselves?

If we do not love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and all that we have, then our children will not love Him with their whole heart either.  The Bible is filled with examples and unfortunate endings, which it why it must be a priority to teach our children to love God with their whole heart, soul and mind

  

 

2.    HOW DO WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO LOVE GOD WITH THEIR WHOLE HEART, SOUL AND MIND?

 

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

 

The problem with Christianity today is that believers enjoy information, but do not love transformation; they love revelation and knowledge, but Christianity is not just sharing historic information, rather it is sharing the life we have with Jesus.  If we want our children to love God, we must first experience Him and love Him. 

 

If the gospel is simply a good idea, good company, a hobby on the side, and not fellowship with Jesus we will have a disaster a home.  This is what creates religion.  Religion is tied to certain beliefs, certain behavior, holidays, and certain people, but not to Jesus and His true life.

 

The Psalmist Asaph clearly told us to teach our children, "Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done." (Psalm 78:3-4)

 

It is not about an interesting ideology, but about an experiencing "that which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us", this is what we need to pass on to our children; the glory of God and the power of a testimony, not money, buildings, and books.  Although our concern is about providing material goods, our primary concern should be that they have faith in God.  If we do not sow in them a faith in God, and yet provide everything else, it will be as a noose around their neck that will lead them to hell, rather than heaven.

 

This is why we must sow in their hearts an experience with God, a daily experience, because a relationship with God is a daily thing.  I am not talking about various manifestations, special programs, or even Sunday service.  Many miss the essence of faith because Christ is not an essential part of their life, He does not occupy every area.

 

Let us look at what God wants us to do.  When He told us to "Teach them to your children" in Deuteronomy 6:7a, in the original language it means "teach carefully" (Hebrew: shaman - show, sharpen, compel, carefully teach, to be injured).  Therefore, our daily instruction is not simply informative rather experiential, not a couple of times a week, rather careful instruction as a lifestyle.  How do we know that it is a lifestyle?  Because God did not tell them to do this in children's church, youth group, or once a year at Vacation Bible School, rather everyday.   "And [you] shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." (Deuteronomy 6:7b)

 

"In your house" (Hebrew: bayith meaning house, home) indicates that everything starts at home, not at church.  The social structure in the Old Testament was patriarchal.  The word "patriarch" means rule by the father.  In that time the father had a high position in the home, and his word was law.  Today it is mainly the mother, unfortunately, because men are passive.  One of the Hebrew words from which we get the word "husband" means lord and owner.  Remember how Sarah called her husband "lord" (Genesis 18:12)

 

In that time, because of this position that was partially shared with the wife, the relationship toward men was held with respect.  Actually, the fifth commandment, "Honor your father and mother" carries the idea of the importance of the parents.  The word "honor" is often used in human relation toward God.  In other words, the Word tells us that parents need to receive similar respect given to God. Apart from honor and position as the head of the family, the father had a certain respect that in the Word we divide into three categories, spiritual, social, and economical.  Above all the father was responsible to care for the spiritual condition of his household.  Today the father cares only for the economic needs, but spiritual and social needs are left to the mother or the church, which has crippled our children.

 

If the father is not spiritually on fire, if he does not love the Lord with all His heart, and If he does not display an example of devotion for God's house and kingdom why do we think that the children will be better?  Therefore, it all begins at home with the father.  The father should not just teach, he ought to live an example twenty-four hours a day because, as I have said, training is not just sharing certain stories and Christian information: "When you lie down and when you rise up", the Word says non-stop.  Children need to learn to live with Christ from morning to night and we must teach them with our words and deeds. If we do not read the Word and pray, do not attend church and participate in evangelism, our children will not do the same.

 

Teaching by example is the best school; everything else will fall by the wayside.  If we do not do this we will lose an entire generation and create a generation of rebellious, defiant, and inconsistent children who are unfaithful to God just as Asaph said in the 78th Psalm.  "Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; And may not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation (Hebrew: sarar meaning a moral downslide, revolt: where do so many divorces, so much immorality and rebellion come from among Christian children?  Because their parents missed the biblical mandate of raising children), A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God (Hebrew: aman meaning to be firm; their spirit was not faithful and constant)". (Psalm 78: 3-8)

 

 

 3.    RESULTS DO NOT ARRIVE OVERNIGHT.  WE MUST BE PATIENT AND FAITHFUL.

 

 

I remember while in a church in Florida, before I began preaching, a few mothers came forward to testify about a seminar they had attended on spiritual battle for children, they were dressed in camouflage and had painted their faces.  They called their children forward and prayed over them in tongues for a full minute.  Naturally, following that they gave God praise that their children were protected through prayer.

 

Although spiritual warfare has a place in our churches, we cannot use it to replace our responsibility and discipline.  Results of child rearing according to biblical standards do not come overnight, nor can we expect instantaneous results after a week or two.  Do not be discouraged if you do not see immediate results, sometimes you will not see them for several years.  It is up to us to be faithful; the rest is up to the Lord.

 

Remember when God led his people through the wilderness; He needed forty years to change their character.  If we look at our Christian life, we most certainty can say that the Lord needed time to do His work in us, which is why we ought never to compare our children with other children, rather faithfully and carefully live with Jesus year after year and everyday teach our children about the Lord through our words and example.  Faithfulness will always bring results.  Every child is special.  We recognize their gifts and they way they grow, as well as the call God has for their life.  The worst thing we can do is to copy someone else and wish that our child be like the others in the church.

 

Men, it is time to take over the spiritual rudder of our families.  There is no place for passivity and laziness in God's kingdom.  Mothers, it is time to secure your godly place and leave the control to your husbands.  Children, it is time to learn obedience and respect if you want to grow as children who love the Lord with all your heart.  "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:1-4)

 

The word gives a promise that if we faithfully train our children, they will not turn from the path of righteousness.  We cannot afford to lose sight of this; rather we must take on our responsibility and teach them through our words and example how to love God with all their hearts.  In this way they will never turn from Him.  "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."  (Proverbs 22:6) 

 
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