Five Questions for Parents

Parenting kids who love Jesus begins with parents loving and prioritizing the right things.  Your kids will love what you love, so your idea of God will be theirs and your idols will be theirs. Raised these questions in the sermon on Sunday, thought they were worth publishing. They come from Deuteronomy 6.

1. Do your kids know that you love Jesus?

You talk about what you love. Your words are filled with expressions of the things that bring you joy.  Guys talk about their sports teams, video games, golf scores.  Ladies will talk about their kids to everyone who will listen.  This is because we talk naturally about the things we love.  On the other hand, you can’t fake love, at least not for very long.  Do you really love Jesus?  Have you experienced grace deeply, and tasted that the Lord is good?  You will only lead children to love Jesus if you love Him and have a desire to pass that on. Listen to what God says here.

    [4] “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [5] You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. [6] And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. [7] You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. [8] You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. [9] You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)

2. Do your kids know that you love your spouse?

It’s amazing how much parent’s affection toward each other provides a sense of stability and security for your kids.  Guys, kiss your wife in front of your kids.  I know, they will gross out, whine a little, and tell you to cut it out.  But down deep this will show them their home is a safe place.

3. Do your kids know that you love them?

Of course, this begins with spending time with them, investing in their lives, and being there for them.  But for a Christian parent the big idea is that we represent the love of our Heavenly Father to our children.  Demonstrating love to kids comes as we find the balance between rules and relationship.  All rules, no relationship will drive kids to rebellion or create little religious rule-keeping freaks who are proud.   All relationship and no rules will develop children who never realize that they are sinners who need to be rescued from their rebellious idolatry.  They will find it hard to look to Jesus in repentance because all their parents did was tell them how wonderful they were with no discipline.

4. Do your kids know that you love the Gospel?

The Gospel is the wonderful story that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  We desperately need Jesus, and so do your kids.  They do not need to learn behavior modification, they need to experience Jesus through repentance and faith.  So the question is if they see in you a model of someone who loves the Gospel and runs to Jesus with their failure and struggle  So some thoughts:

  • Do you try to portray to your kids an image that you have it all together and don’t really need rescue?
  • Have you taught them to “put on a happy face” and act like you have it all together in public, or have you created an atmosphere where honest struggle is honored?
  • Do you ever repent before them, confessing your sin and asking their forgiveness?
  • In your discipline, is the goal to reform their behavior or lead them to repentance?

A practical encouragement in your discipline.  When it happens (if it is not happening there is really no way your are teaching the Gospel), make sure the goal is for your kids to confess their sins to God, ask His forgiveness, and celebrate the grace that he gives.

5. Do your kids know that you hate your idols?

  [14] You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—[15] for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. [16] “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. [17] You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. [18] And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers [19] by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has promised.
(Deuteronomy 6:14-19 ESV)

Idols are anything in our lives that we love more than we love Jesus.  All of us have potential idols, things that creep in and take the place of God in life and finds its way into the center of our being.  Most of the time our idols are not bad things, and sometimes they can be very good things.  But when a good thing becomes a god think in life, it is idolatry and it is a bad thing.   Money, power, leisure, job, sports teams, jobs, our kids, our car, our boat, our house, our camper, comfort, a good reputation with the neighbors, and kids sports performances can all become idols.  One of the sad realities of our fallen nature is that we will pass on our idolatry to our children.  Inventory  your life, recognize your idols, and then honestly share that you see the danger with your kids.  And if something in your life tends to take you and your family away from church, away from time with God, away from faith in Him, repent and reorder your life.

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