Parenting with Deuteronomy

bible

The Bible instructs us to train up our children in the “way they should go.”  (Proverbs 22:6) The way they should go is clearly found in God’s Word.  No other institute, person, or government holds the power to be “the way” (John 14:6).  If we want to be successful in our parenting, we should make the Word our final authority!

God has given us key verses to help us with the parenting task.  One of them is clear in how we should train with God’s Word – His commands.  Let’s look at Deuteronomy 6:1-9:

“Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

God commands – not suggests – that we obey His Word. As children of God, we are to observe them for the purpose of seeing God’s Kingdom advanced through our lives.  He desires “godly offspring” through our marriages and families (Malachi 2:15). He also wants to see His blessings and promises fulfilled in our lives.  He wants to prosper us in every area, including in our parenting.

The foundational verse for the following points is Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  Most of the time, our minds go straight toward the commands – what we should do.  However, God is always looking at our hearts, where our motivation lies.  When we are motivated by love for God, we will automatically want to follow His instructions on parenting and anything else.  We will want to apply His Word with everything we have – heart, soul, and strength.  That is what makes God’s way work!

Teach by Example

As parents, our first goal should be to teach our child(ren) by example.  It’s hypocritical to teach our child(ren) to do something when we’re not doing it ourselves.  They won’t feel inclined to follow us if we are contradicting our words by our actions.  It’s confusing at the least, and can result in them choosing their own path, rather than choosing “the way he should go.”

Love by example. To accurately show “the way,” we as parents should love God first before teaching our child(ren) to love Him.  This not only sets an example to follow, but also equips us to genuinely love our children.  We cannot truly love without knowing Love. Love must first be in our hearts before being available to pass on.  Once the love is there, then there will be grace to diligently, consistently, and wisely give it to our children.

Learn by example.  If our children are going to find value in putting God’s Word in their hearts, then we should first value it ourselves.   This requires hiding, studying, and talking about God’s Word until it is the core of who we are and what we do.  Like love, this will enable us to draw from a wealth of wisdom to pass on to our children.

Live by example.  As with love and the Word, we should follow God’s commands through holy living.  We can’t expect our child(ren) to avoid evil and do good if we aren’t living out God’s Word ourselves.  Our children need to see the love of God and the Word of God on display.  They cannot see our hearts, but they can see our actions.

Introduce Them to a Relationship with Jesus

We should be the first to lead our child(ren) to Jesus.  Someone else may lead them in a sinner’s prayer; but we should be the primary tutor in who God is, how much He loves us, and how they can love Him.  Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, our children can now have a love relationship with Him, rather than striving to follow the Laws of the Old Covenant. If our child(ren) can understand that their behavior is a result of a love relationship with a Person, then they are far more likely to choose to serve Him.

Teach Them to Keep God’s Commands Their Hearts

There is a huge difference between having God’s Word in our hearts and having it in our heads.  Our child(ren) can hear and memorize Scripture until they can quote the whole Bible, yet not have it in their hearts.  An accumulation of Scripture in the head is not what changes their lives; it’s acting on it based on a conviction (firm held belief or opinion) that comes from their hearts.  We will know when the Word has gone from their heads to their hearts when they begin to change without being forced.  Their daily actions become more and more like Jesus, and they consciously consult the Scripture to make decisions.  They listen to their conscience (the voice of their Spirit) and let it lead them.  They go from “have-to” actions, to “want-to” actions because of the relationship they have with Jesus.

The Word doesn’t get into a child’s heart overnight, however.  Though the heart is the final goal, it must first begin in their minds where they can process what they’re learning.  God has given us specific ways on how to help the Word make that head-heart move.

Teach God’s Word Diligently. According to the Webster’s dictionary, “diligently” means “characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort.”  It’s not lazy or occasional.  It’s not based on feelings or convenience.  It’s focused on a purpose – the purpose of getting vital information into our child’s mind and heart.  This may include daily devotions and church attendance.  It may also include Spirit-led discussion while working on a project, or consulting God’s Word when faced with decisions.

Talk about the Word consistently.  God’s Word should be the most important topic ever discussed, and it should be done consistently.  Consistently means “marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity: free from variation or contradiction.” Talking about God’s Word is not just about the use of time.  It’s also about being constant in how it’s applied and interpreted. It doesn’t change with different situations just because it’s convenient, but remains as true as its Author.  It should be talked about every day, in every situation – sitting in the house, walking by the way, and as we’re going to bed at night and getting up in the morning. The conversations should be filled with joy because it’s a pleasure and honor to speak of it!

Bind Them and Write Them. The Jews took God’s commands literally when he told them to “bind them as a sign,” make them as “frontlets between your eyes,” and to “write them on the doorposts of your house.”  The point of the command is to keep God’s Word before our eyes constantly so we do not forget.  In our modern culture, that isn’t hard to do.  Christian book stores sell plagues with our favorite Scripture verses.  Dozens of Bible translations and commentaries are available for purchase.  The internet and radio is full of Bible teaching and music so we can listen to it without missing a word as we come and go from the house.  We can even buy jewelry in scripted with Scripture!  Whatever method, we can easily find ways to remind ourselves of God’s Word.

Enjoy the Result

In every area of life, we can prosper when we put God first – including in our parenting!  God always follows up a command with a promise of a blessing! Deuteronomy 6:3 says, “Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’”

We can experience the prosperity and power of God’s Word in our families as we make it a priority.  Yes, it takes diligence, consistency, and work.  That work, however, is well worth it when we see the reward of godly seed!

Additional Scriptures

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.  Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:1-2)

Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; for I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.  When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live.  Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.  Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you.  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. and in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her.  She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.”  Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.  For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.
(Proverbs 4)

 

Photo courtesy of google images.

Strong Faith


Weak faith considers what can be seen, staggers in unbelief, neglects praise, and is only partially persuaded. Strong faith, however, ignores what can be seen, walks confidently, gives God all the glory, and is fully persuaded! It never doubts God’s promises or His ability to perform them! Let’s be strong!
“And being not weak in faith, he (Abraham) considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, He was able also to perform.” Hebrews 4:19-21

(Photo courtesy of Google images.)

How to Give the Devil a Black Eye

boxing-glove

When something negative happens to us, we have two choices.  We can be angry at God for seemingly not coming through for us; or angry at the devil for afflicting us with the issue in the first place.  The devil should be our choice because we know God is our deliverer regardless of our experience.  We also know from God’s Word that the devil is the author of sickness, poverty, sin, and death.  He is the ultimate enemy.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”. (Acts 10:38)

 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:24-26)

We also have two other choices.  We can steam and spit, cry and mourn, wishing the devil had picked on someone else.  Or we can do something that would really count – we can give him a “black eye”!  This is an analogy because the devil is not a physical being, but a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12).  He must be fought and defeated with spiritual weapons and actions that advance the Kingdom of God.

Ultimately, Jesus defeated the devil on the cross; but there are things we can do to put him in his place while we live on the earth.  These actions make the devil nervous, irritated, and ultimately a loser! We can make the devil wish he had never messed with us!

Whether you and I have had tragedy happen to us or not, we can daily wound the devil and his kingdom! The following are some ways we can “give the devil a black eye”!  In a nutshell, it results in being a good disciple of Jesus, pushing the devil’s authority out of our lives.

  1. Live for Jesus – in every area.

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

The ultimate way to get the better of the devil is to commit our lives to Jesus – spirit, soul, and body. This means the devil has no authority over us because we now are part of God’s family!  When we are saved, we become a threat to the kingdom of darkness, rather than a pawn the devil can control.  Nothing is more aggravating to him!

  1. Advance the Kingdom of God.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18

Advancing the Kingdom of God means dismantling the devil’s kingdom piece by piece.  The more we reach out and proclaim the Gospel, the less impact the devil has on the world.  We can promote the Gospel by giving and serving in missions, praying for people, and witnessing to the lost.  Ministering to our church body also imparts strength to God’s Kingdom.  The stronger the Church, the weaker the devil!

  1. Walk in love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Jesus is love; the devil is not.  The devil winces every time we show love, especially when the person is undeserving and we don’t feel like showing it.  Since Jesus has called us to be like Him, our choice to reflect His love is an expression of our submission to His Lordship. Yet another wound to the devil’s plans!

  1. Live by faith.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. I Corinthians 5:7

Everything about salvation is based on faith.  We live according to what the Word of God says, not by what we feel or see.  When we choose not to be moved by our senses or what others say, we are putting a stop to the devil’s ability to move in our lives.  He wants us to doubt God’s Word; but a heart of faith, trusting in God alone, stops his ability to steal from us and ours!

  1. Use our authority.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

The devil delights in pestering anyone who doesn’t know their authority over him.  However, he doesn’t stand a chance against someone who knows how to implement the Name of Jesus and the Sword of the Spirit (Mark 16:15-18; Ephesians 6:10-18)!  He has no choice but to flee!

  1. Praise and worship.

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)

Depression, anxiety, and fear are all are a part of the “spirit of heaviness,” sent by the devil to distract and oppress us. They render us weak, unable to fulfill our calling.  God’s remedy, however, is “the garment of praise.”   The devil can’t live in an atmosphere of worship because God “inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalm 22:3).  It greatly aggravates Him when God is glorified, especially when He’s glorified from our lips!

  1. Never give up!

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8

We are called to persevere, fighting to the very end as we pursue hearing Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 23:25) While God delights in never giving up, the devil delights in quitting.  It means he has won when we throw in the towel.  It’s frustrating to him, however, when he comes face to face with someone who will not stop!  It’s a sure sign of his demise!

The greatest glory in harming the devil’s kingdom is the ultimate result of glorifying Jesus that much more!  It always comes back to Jesus – He is the victor and we live our victory through Him!

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our  faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (I John 5:4)