6 Ways to Disciple Your Kids

Families are the perfect environment for discipleship. However, like the people of Israel, we'll come face to face with many distractions and dangers along the way that can cause us to overlook our most important job as parents. In Deuteronomy 6, God gives the Hebrews some really great instructions on how to disciple their children. Here are 6 things I think we can learn from those words as we take seriously the privilege of raising our children to know God. 

1 // Pass on our identity as delivered people

God didn’t want the people of Israel to stop passing down the story of how He delivered them from Egypt. In the same way, I think he wants us to build into our children the story of our deliverance. We do our kids a great injustice when we bury our pasts. We have been shaped by where we've come from and our children need to hear those stories of failure and redemption so they are shaped by them too. 

2 // Teach them to chase the right thing

God wanted the Israelites to be aware that they would naturally teach their kids to chase after something. He wanted to make sure they were teaching their children to pursue the right things. This is taught in two ways: what we choose to emphasize in the way we live, and what we encourage/allow them to emphasize in the way they live. This usually comes down to how we invest our resources. What do we do with our time? Money? Energy? Passion? Skillset?

3 // Guard against the dangers of affluence

God was leading the people of Israel into a land where they would have more than enough. But He knew that could eventually lead them to forget that He provided all of it. Affluence is a hazardous housemate – as it can suppress our belief that God is the source of our provision. He reminds them that they'll be living in houses they didn't built and drinking water from wells they didn't dig. He stresses to them the importance of never forgetting how they got to where they are: God's provision.

We've recently implemented "Thursday thanksgiving". It's a simple practice of taking some time together as a family each Thursday to voice a prayer of thanksgiving to God for everything He has provided. 

4 // Spend time together

God designed families to be together. He wanted them to see opportunities for teaching in things as simple as resting or walking down the street. He wanted His commandments to be in front of their eyes always. Since hearts and lives are shaped over the course of time, I think we should make it a priority to be present with our kids for as much time as possible. The old saying goes, "time is money". It's true. Here's an older saying: "time is discipleship". 

5 // Make multi-generational faithfulness goals

God wanted the Israelites to be concerned with whether their great grandchildren would be faithful. While all of us would probably say we want that, it's a very counter cultural idea. I think we should be thinking about what we can do now to establish or continue to pass on a family line of faithfulness to God and set some goals around it. Goals are important because they require action. Vague ideas of a preferred future probably won't translate into any meaningful action today. So, what can we do today that will increase the likelihood that our grandchildren and great grandchildren will embrace God's story and pass it on to their children too?

6 // Set aside time for sabbath 

God created and then rested. Then He gave humans a rhythm that we could live in that is similar. This weekly period of "ceasing from work" is for us. It keeps us healthy. It reminds us that the world still spins on its axis when we do nothing. It draws us into communion with God. So, cook a nice dinner together, light some candles, read some scripture, and speak blessings over each other once a week.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. 

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