Even Jesus, the Living Word, needed a sword when engaged in battle.
When facing Satan, head on, in the weakness of his flesh following an extended fast, Jesus resisted the repeated onslaughts of His enemy with the Sword – the Word of God.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.
Our Kids need that Sword
How do purposeful parents “give” their kids the Word of God?
For too many Christian parents, giving kids the Word begins and ends with the purchase of a Bible. A birthday, at Christmas, at Confirmation or other religious rights of passage – many children receive a hard copy of the Bible (or maybe a Kindle download, today) but never crack the cover.
So, yes, many Christian kids have been given a copy of the Bible but they haven’t been given the Word. They’ve never been taught. The Word has never been imparted to them. An interest and hunger has never been instilled in them.
How do we teach our children not only to have a general respect for the Word but teach them to love what it says?
1) Show your children by your example that you love the Word of God.
Do you love the Word enough to seek it out and read it regularly? Do your children see you reading the Word? Is the Word a regular part of your daily life?
So, Dad & Mom, I have a question. If your children followed your example, how often would they read the Bible? If you’re like most, not very often.
The Gallup organization conducted a poll on Bible reading in the U.S. a few years ago. Here’s what they found:
41% say that they rarely or never read the Bible
10% say less than monthly
12% say they read the Bible monthly
21% say they read it weekly
16% of Americans say that they read the Bible every day
So, which is it for you? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? A few times a year? Never?
If we don’t demonstrate our love for the Word in front of our children, is it reasonable to expect that they will love and value it enough to read it? No. Our children need to see us reading the Word regularly.
2) Speak to your children of what God showed you in His Word.
Every day provides many opportunities to refer to God . . . to speak of His ways, His attributes, His blessings in your life. Here’s how the Bible describes the process, “And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and she you walk by the way, and when you lay down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6.
Basically, we’re to speak to our children of God and His precepts throughout the day. We’re to talk of God all the time! Are we looking for opportunities to speak of Him to our kids?
3) Live a life consistent with your example of reading the Word, and with what you tell your children about God.
Children can smell a hypocritical parent from 100 yards. Our lives as parents must match our words if we are to speak with authority into the lives of our children. Our children don’t like or respect hypocrites any more than we do.
4) Show your children that the admonitions of Scripture apply to you.
If the Word is to have authority in our children’s lives, they must see that it is authoritative in ours. When we sin as parents, our children must see us confess and seek forgiveness.
5) Carve out a time once a day to teach your children directly from the Word.
Don’t tell yourself your kids are learning all they need to learn at youth group and Sunday School. The Bible expressly states that fathers are to take up the responsibility of teaching their children about Him. This can be intimidating if you’ve never done it but it doesn’t have to be. Start by asking God to give you the words to say. Read a few verses of Scripture, then talk about them – what God is teaching through His Word. You can do it Dad (and you can too, Single Mom!) because “Where the Lord Guides, He Provides.” Take the step and, as Nike tells everyone, “Just Do It.”
Our family gathers every morning. We sit around for about 15 – 30 minutes talking and drinking coffee, then we turn our attention to the word. We just finished 1st and 2nd Samuel and are now in Judges. Sometimes it’s really interesting for everyone. Sometimes there’s a great message and application to our lives. Sometimes we just read and don’t glean too much. It’s pretty straightforward. I’m not one of those dads who feels compelled to pretend the boring parts of the Bible aren’t boring to kids.
And, it doesn’t have to be lengthy. Much depends on where your kids are at and what they have the capacity to absorb. I never saw a farmer stuff a bale of nutritious alfalfa down the throat of a newborn lamb. As parents, we should give our kids the Word, precept on precept, not engage in an attempt to make spiritual foie gras.
Giving our children the Word of God is a years-long process. We’d better get started!
Like no other generation before them in the history of the West, our children are going into a world where the Truths of Scripture are held up to ridicule and worse. God’s moral imperatives are accounted as “hate speech” in this dark generation.
We must prepare our children for battle . . . for the Spiritual battle that they will not be able to escape.
Start today in giving them the Sword of Truth – the Word of God – the very weapon of choice of our Lord, Himself. And, in the midst of our equipping them, let’s be quick to remind them (and ourselves!) that Jesus Christ has already won the battle over sin and death and prior to His return, His children are called to stand firm.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having do all, to stand (firm). Ephesians 6:13
God bless you, Dad & Mom, as you seek to “give” your children the weapon – the Sword of Truth – they need for the battles they will face.
SPECIAL NOTE: Kelsey Turner is the Artist who created the image, above. You can view her other work on Facebook at Dancing Rain Designs
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).