As Kathy Koch explains in Chapter 7 of Screen and Teens, several factors related to technology and our culture as a whole contribute to the lies our kids might believe about authority. She also provides excellent, practical tips about how we can help our kids navigate that rocky road to arrive at the truth of the matter.
Of course, the foundational truth we long for each of our kids to embrace is the reality that God is worthy of being each person’s ultimate authority because He alone is wholly trustworthy. But as parents, we play an important, God-given authority role in our kids’ lives as well – a job we must take seriously because (for better or worse) our kids’ ideas about God will spring (at least in part) from what they see in us.
We can’t be perfect models because we can’t be perfect. So when we mess up, we must humbly acknowledge our error and sin, asking our kids’ forgiveness. In fact, our willingness to do that will speak volumes in and of itself – about our understanding of our place in relation to God and about the work of His Spirit in our hearts.
But we can’t let our inevitable failures cause us to abdicate our responsibility. We can’t leave it to the church, counting on Sunday school and youth group; indeed, God has given the role of disciple-maker directly to parents (Deuteronomy 6. 6-7), not to our surrogates. In fact, multiple studies by Barna Research and others indicate that as many as 85% of kids from Christian homes walk away from God when parents rely on “the church” to be their kids’ primary spiritual influence. No, in God’s strength, we as parents must consciously choose to obey Him by taking on the mantle He’s given us.
Of course, that doesn’t mean spouting random verses all day long, and it’s not about becoming pharisaical about rules. Rather, we might best direct our kids’ minds and hearts toward the Lord by modeling for them the value of His Word in our own lives. The essence of Deuteronomy 6 is a call to incorporate the spiritual into our everyday, earthly activities – to learn to see God in everything so we can point Him out to our kids in natural ways. And part of how we can do that is by making room for His Word all throughout the day.
So arrange to do your personal devotions just before your kids wake up, enabling them to see your first priority first thing. Then work on a family memory verse or read a simple devotional together over breakfast. If your kids are home during the day, ask God for insight about how to naturally share His principles via everyday activities. Use your authority as the family schedule-builder to create time for each child’s personal devotions. And send your kids off to bed with encouraging Scripture on their minds.
We must be intentional about living Deuteronomy 6 – but in a way that is authentically real and natural. If that’s a struggle for you, begin praying for grace to make it happen. And then step out and try. If we want our kids to walk toward God, they must first see us walking there and beckoning them to join us.
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