What does God want us to do to nurture our children’s faith? Deut. 6:4-9 gives some practical hooks upon which to hang our ideas. Here we find God’s plan for the family – however we want to define ‘family’ – and it has three main points.
First, better than any other environment, the home provides presence, the context for the message of God’s amazing love for us. Our job is to find ways to balance “creative chaos” with orderliness. We search for meaningful ways to help us establish a sense of God’s presence.
Second, it is within the family, both intimate and extended, that we impact children by our presentation of God’s love – how we teach them. We who mentor them seek to have spiritually healthy lives, full of integrity. The things we say must make sense from what we do.
Third, we give priority to the proclamation of who God is – his character, his commands, what he commissions us to do. This comes with thoughtful, intentional, insightful choices of the teachings our children really need to learn and apply.
Context, conveyance, content, these three remain powerful tools in our Father’s workshop for creating a healthy next generation. A generation that worships God, our heavenly Father, serves Jesus and obeys his Spirit in order to pass his legacy of value, identity, and purpose on to their children after them. May it be so.
Let me end with this story:
One very cold evening in Minnesota, I donned a beautiful, white dress and made the greatest declaration of love of my life. Publicly, I pledged my loyalty to another and declared the value of Frank’s love for me. I joined him in acknowledging God’s love for us both.
God declared us one flesh, an identity not in existence before the ceremony…an entity never to be repeated. Unique. Separately, we had already put on our heavenly Father’s ‘leather-coat’ provision to cover our sin nature and shame. We grew in our intimacy with each other and with Jesus, the Lamb who was slain that our sins might be forgiven.
For fifty years, commissioned and infused by the Holy Spirit, we labored on four continents, seeking to fulfill God’s purpose for us. The journey was not without human frailties and foibles. Admittedly we were weak, but he remained strong. Only God knows the full and final story. When the dross is burned away, may it shine forth as pure gold to the glory of God and advancement of his kingdom on earth.
O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee.
I give Thee back the life I owe that in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
O light that follows all my way, I yield my flickering torch to Thee.
My heart restores its borrowed ray that in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seeks me through the pain, I cannot close my heart to thee.
I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that raises up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee.
I lay in dust life’s glory dear, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.
George Mattheson (published 1882) Psalm13
Taken from Hymns for the Family of God