In my last post, I talked about loving our children by reading the Bible to them. Today, I would like to add another item to the list of ways to love our children: teaching our children what the Bible means.
Reading the Bible to our children is a good and necessary thing. It is a way for us to love them. It is a concrete task which we sit down and do. However, teaching them what it means is a much larger task, one that is not limited to a few minutes or even a few hours of family devotional time. Teaching them what the Bible means is a task, which encompasses our entire lives: our bodies, hearts, souls and minds.
In the book of Deuteronomy, God commanded the people of Israel, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
This is a very comprehensive command. It speaks to the entire lives of the Israelite parents. They were to have God’s commands on their hearts, teach them diligently to their children, talk of them when they sat at home, and when they walked by the way, when they laid down and when they rose up—which is to say: all of the time.
This command was made by a loving Father in order to protect His foolish and easily deceived people. It was a means for both them and their children to know and believe in the one good God, and through faith in Him, to enjoy everything that is good and right both now and forevermore. It was a means for them to stay away from spiritual and physical dangers.
Diligent Teaching: A Result of Love
Deuteronomy 6:5 states, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” God’s command to parents in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 flows naturally from the one preceding it, to love God with all their hearts, souls and might. The person who loves God in this way will have God’s Word in his/her heart. The person who loves God in this way will know the absolute necessity of teaching his/her children about God and His commands. The person who loves God in this way will naturally talk about Him all the time.
This kind of love towards God—the kind that fills our hearts and manifests itself in our actions and our speech, the kind that stimulates us to know Him more through reading and meditating on His Word; the kind that leads us to talk about Him with our children (and others) on all occasions, is a gift and a work of the Holy Spirit. This is the kind of love which only the saved have for God. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). This is the kind of love which begins at the point of salvation and is eternal.
Love: A Fruit of the Spirit
Let us not be deceived into imagining that we can muster up this love by our own strength, we cannot. No one can. It is a fruit of the Spirit. The Lord Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If we are abiding in the vine, we will produce much fruit. Apart from Him we can do nothing!
I used to think that “abiding in the vine” was something I had to do. However, when I read 1 John 4:13, I understand that abiding in Christ, is a synonym for salvation. Here is what it says, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”
John 15:6 also leads me to this understanding. In it our Lord says, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” We know that the saved will never be cast into the fire and burned. We are Christ’s; He purchased us with His blood. He is the vine and we are the branches. If we are His we are abiding in Him, because of Him.
Let Us Love Our Children
Christian sister, because we abide in Him; because He abides in us, may God make true in our lives that which He inspired the Psalmist to write in Psalm 71:14-16:
“But as for me, I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long;For I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone.”
And may our children, with whom God has blessed us, and for whom we are responsible, be the beneficiaries of this God-given love, praise, and telling of God’s righteousness and salvation “all day long.” Let us love them by reading the Bible to them and teaching them what it means.