Your Most Important Contribution
When a young mom in my life group shared her realization, I was stirred and inspired; I think you will be too. We had been discussing a question I asked in a recent sermon… Who is the one person in your life with whom you could share the gospel and begin to disciple? At first her thought was, “I don’t get out much… I’m a stay-at-home mom… I just don’t get a chance to engage with many people.” Then she realized, “Wait! I don’t just have one… I have two… and they live in my very own home… they are my children!”
Later that same day, when she saw a post from a friend, she had no doubt God had made it clear who her “one” would be. The post, quoting Pastor Andy Stanley said: “Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”
If you’re reading this, chances are good that you hope to do great things for Christ’s sake. You want to make an impression and leave a mark for Jesus Christ. One of the best ways to do that is to be in the business of making disciples. And the best place to start making disciples is in our very own homes, with our own children.
As a parent, your most important responsibility is not to teach your child to hit a baseball or softball, or to teach them to kick a soccer ball or to teach them to shoot a basketball. As a parent, your most important role is leading your children to know and love Jesus. Even if you don’t have children in your home, you can still be an influencer in the lives of the children and adults God puts in your path.
So how can we be effective teachers and disciple-makers of our own children and the children we influence? The Bible offers us some clear instruction in Deuteronomy 6:4-7. In this passage, we will discover four vital lessons to teach when we are discipling our children and others.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7
How to Effectively Disciple Your Children
1. Teach your children to listen to and to obey God’s Word. (Deuteronomy 6:4a)
The first word in this passage is the Hebrew word “shema” which we translate to “hear” or “listen”; but it actually also means to “obey.” So the expectation is that to hear is also to obey. In other words, if it is said, then it will be done! So everything that follows is not only very important, but God expects us to obey what He says. We must teach our children to listen and to obey God’s Word; and to “shema” us too! (Deut. 5:16)
2. Teach your children to worship God only. (Deuteronomy 6:4b)
The picture is clear, God (Yahweh) is to be the sole object of Israel’s worship, allegiance, and affection. The same is true for us. He expects us to worship Him only.
This is not a lesson our children will learn from culture or the world. In fact, if we aren’t real intentional about teaching our children to worship God only, they will easily find something else to worship in this world…. possessions, people, glamour, wealth, success, pleasure…. so it is our responsibility to teach them that there is only One who deserves our worship. Are you setting this example with your life?
3. Teach your children to wholeheartedly love the Lord. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
For the Hebrew people, there was to be nothing more important than their love for the Lord! God commands this unreserved, deep devotion from us too. (Ref. Luke 14:26; Matthew 22:37). God doesn’t leave any room for interpretation with this command does He? Loving Him with some of your heart won’t do. Loving Him with part of your soul won’t cut it. Loving Him with a little of your strength is just not enough for God. He wants us to love Him with all our being… and to love Him more than we love anything or anyone else. Do you love Him like that? Are you teaching your children to love Him like that?
4. Teach your children to embrace God’s commands with all their heart. (Deuteronomy 6:6)
Do you know what your heart represents in the Hebrew language? The heart is the place where your deepest desires dwell. The point that God is making here is that we aren’t to simply follow His commands or laws legalistically, but to follow them lovingly and obediently because that is our heart’s desire. Nothing matters more.
Then we are to impress them on our children; that is to be intentional and diligent to teach our children this level of love and obedience for God. How do we do that? (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Make faith conversations a natural rhythm in your home.
Take advantage of teachable moments daily.
Use bedtime as an opportunity for faith conversations and prayer.
Start the day with faith conversations too!
For much more, including a special blessing from God’s Word, click here to listen to: Follow Me: Becoming a Disciple of Jesus - Part 5.