I bite my fingernails. I know, it is a terrible habit, especially during a pandemic. I noticed that my wife Lori and my son Brennan do the same thing. In fact, the other day, they were sitting together, both biting their nails. I felt badly when I saw that because I’m almost sure they picked up that poor habit from me!
The truth is that we pass on habits to our families, bad and good, unhealthy and healthy! I hope that I am passing along some good, healthy habits, how ‘bout you? I think creating healthy, God-honoring habits was on Moses’ mind when he shared some important instructions in Deuteronomy 6. (Read Deut. 6:4-9). This text helps me answer: How do I create healthy, God-honoring habits in my life and in my home?
1) Value relationships over rules. (Deut. 6:5). Nothing matters more than teaching my children to love God with all their hearts… The heart is where our deepest desires dwell! God wants our hearts. He wants us to love like He loves us… God’s love is an affection - born out of His character, and it is an action - shown to us again and again! (Read 1 John 4:7-10). We show our love for Him by loving Him and others! Rule following is a natural by-product of a heart fully yielded to loving God. Are you teaching your family to love God and to love others?
2) Survey your heart before you share your faith. (Deut. 6:6). If I am going to pass on Godly wisdom and Biblical truth in my home, I’ve got to make sure my heart is in the right place! 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:15. To “revere” Christ is to worship Him in the “sanctuary of my heart.” The problem is that there are plenty of distractions that can wedge us away from Christ. Is there anything in your life that is coming between you and Christ? Anything you “love” more than Him?
3) Seize teachable moments throughout the course of every day. (Deut. 6:7). Raising kids is tiring! But yet, the Bible tells us to “impress” God’s commands, truth and wisdom on our children. To “impress” is to “teach tirelessly.” How do I do that? By seizing teachable moments that happen naturally daily!
When you sit at home = Meal Time - Sit down and share a daily meal with your family! It goes you a chance to catch up and to keep your voice relevant and influential in their lives. Will you make a family meal daily a priority?
When you walk along the road = Drive Time - I’m told we spend 18 days or 432 hours a year in our cars. That is a lot of time! How do you spend that time in your car with your kids? Would you be intentional and take advantage of teachable moments to share Godly wisdom and Biblical truth?
When you lie down = Bed Time - This may be the best time to teach your children! Use this time to recap the day, read Bible stories, and pray together. Bedtime was one of the most impressionable times Lori and I shared with our children.
When you get up = Get-Ready Time - Most of us are rushing through our harried morning routine to get to school or work. What if you started your day with 10-15 minutes of Bible reading, reflection and prayer? Wouldn’t that put you in the right frame of mind to make an impression and leave a mark for Christ as you start your day?
4) Rely on repetition to cement Godly wisdom and Biblical truth. (Deut. 6:8-9)
If we are going to remember something, repetition matters! Remember when you were learning your multiplication tables… you probably used flash cards or wrote them out again and again! Repetition helps us remember. As parents, we can’t assume our kids get it the first time or second or third… Continue to teach, to repeat vital life lessons, to convey Godly wisdom, to share Biblical truth!