Parents live under continual pressure. We may feel like the weight of the world rests on our shoulders because every decision we make regarding our children has the potential for long-term implications.
When it comes to our faith, we undoubtedly want our children to become faithful followers of Christ. But, are we doing what’s necessary on our end to see that come to pass? It’s not complicated, despite how we tend to over-complicate everything. Recently, I was going through some old user manuals in my file cabinet. I came across a rather thick booklet of instructions for a baby backpack. I couldn’t understand why the manual was necessary. You take the baby, you put him in the backpack, and you put on the backpack. Easy as 1-2-3.
Countless books, blog posts and articles are available on the topic of godly parenting. Page after page, line after line of sound biblical counsel. I’ve read a number of these resources, so I understand their value. But, are we, as parents, making it more complicated than it has to be?
Micah 6:8 explains godly living in simple terms: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV). In the same fashion, godly parenting is simplified for us in Deuteronomy 6. As my pastor recently preached, it is quite simple: love God, and let your actions follow. If we do that, honoring God with how we raise our children will come naturally.
In Matthew 22:36-39, Jesus told the expert in the law that “the greatest commandment” was given in Deuteronomy 6:5 — “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” But, next, in Deuteronomy 6:7-8, the writer (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) gives us instructions for teaching this great commandment to our children. We should talk constantly of God, His love for us and our response to that love: when we rise, before we sleep, when we are in our homes, and when we are outside our homes. This teaching is not reserved for Sundays only.
But, it’s not all talk. As parents, we must live in a way that encourages our children to ask questions about why we do what we do.
Deuteronomy 6:20 says that in time our children will come to us and ask, “What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you? . . .” In other words, if we are living faithfully, keeping this great commandment of loving God with all our heart, our kids will ask questions. If they don’t, perhaps we are not doing our part to make God real to them.
What is the secret to godly parenting? It’s no secret – it starts with godly living.