We Cannot Teach Our Children Something We Have Not Learned Ourselves

It was a joy to preach last night to the wonderful family at Wellford Baptist Church.  They put on the Deuteronomy 6 Conference focusing on the family.  It was a great time in worship and a great time afterwards just sharing with all the great people there.

We talked about the need for family discipleship.

The problem for many churches is that we have parents telling children to love God even though they are not following that mandate themselves.

Deut. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.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.

Parents command their children to go to church and do what the preachers say, but to apply those messages would be countercultural within their own home.  Parents point their children to pastors who say, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8), when they have not dined on that course themselves.  Our lives show that we are on a different diet.

We cannot teach our children something we have not learned ourselves.

Moses commanded parents to love God extremely and then to teach their children to do the same.  We cannot force feed a meal for which we have no appetite.  The only way to teach the message is by tasting ourselves.

Your children are watching you.

They know whether your greatest love is television, recreation, work, leisure, or the Kingdom of God.  Whether you are riding on the lawnmower, changing channels in the living room, conversing with your spouse, investing your resources, or worshiping in your church, your children see your example.  That lesson will be seared in their minds more than anything else you ever say.

I love being a minister.   While I rejoice in my calling and vocation, the hardest element about ministry is when you feel like you are fighting an uphill battle.

No matter how stellar our programs or sermons, those momentary calls for a life devoted to loving God are dwarfed when a different message is preached all week in the home.

If parents are showing through their lives to love God with part of the heart, a percentage of their soul, and some of their might, it is nearly impossible for another message to break through.

More than solely the transfer of biblical information, provide for your children an example of someone whose love for God permeates every part of his or her life.  If you want to change your children in order for them to love God, they need to see it first fleshed out through your example.

No matter how stellar a church may be, it’s hard to make progress when another emphasis is preached at home all week.