Setting the Stage to Disciple Our Children
The most important disciples in my life live under my roof. Their names are Shelley, Emily, James, and Andy. They are my family.
Any parent will tell you that raising kids is hard. It is filled with joy, laughter, tears, worry, and every other possible emotion. Just recently I was deeply frustrated and proud of one of my kids all in the same day. The truth is that none of us really know what we are doing but we are doing our best to love them and raise them into decent people. But, raising decent people is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal should be to raise our children to be disciples of Jesus.
The importance of discipling our children goes back to the days of Moses. Here is what he wrote in Deuteronomy 6:4-8.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 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.”
He also tells us in Deut. 6:18-21 to be ready when our kids start asking us questions about the things of God.
“In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.”
How can we set the stage for raising disciples of Jesus at home?
We set the stage for discipleship at home by pursuing a life that we want our children to imitate. I was recently on the phone with a fellow dad and he said, “I am realizing that my boys are going to do what they see me doing, not what I tell them to do.” So true. Over and over, the Apostle Paul writes something like, “So I urge you to imitate me” (1 Cor. 4:16). I need to be the daily example of following Jesus that my children can imitate. That can be an overwhelming thought but also one that pushes me to pursue Christ. This does not mean that I am not allowed to mess up. It also does not mean that my children are guaranteed to become disciples of Jesus. It does mean that my pursuit of Christ in every area of life should be available for them to see.
Though the list could go on and on, here are some things I want my children to see in my life as I follow Christ:
- I want my kids to see and hear that I love and try to live by God’s Word.
- I want my kids to hear the name of Jesus honored regularly in our home.
- I want my kids to see us love others in a sacrificial way.
- I want my kids to see and hear my wife and I have spiritual discussions.
- I want my kids to see and hear me admit that I am wrong.
- I want my kids to see and hear me offer forgiveness.
- I want my kids to see and hear me pray.
- I want my kids to see me take steps of faith.
- I want my kids to see and hear me walk through hard things.
I want my kids to know without a doubt that I really do love Jesus.
Along the way, remember these three things for you.
- Because of Christ in you, you have what it takes even when you think you don’t.
- Be gracious to yourself. Allow yourself to learn and not be perfect.
- If this is a new concept, just begin. God will honor your faithfulness.