Most of us want our children to grow up with a love for God’s Word. The challenge is to nurture that desire without it becoming more of a ‘have to’ than a ‘want to’. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that we can all feel lethargic about reading our Bibles at times. Right?
THE PERFORMANCE TRAP
Often, we develop our own, personal style of quiet time (yes, even with eight kids!) which soon becomes our standard of acceptable spiritual discipline. It might be fifteen minutes of Bible reading in the morning. Before long, though, we end up feeling guilty and ‘unworthy’ when we read for less than fifteen minutes. Alternatively, when we exceed that timeframe, we feel a little bit more ‘worthy’ in God’s eyes! This is a sign that we have allowed ourselves to slip into a performance trap. No longer are we basing our standing before God solely on the finished work of Christ. Instead, we are basing our standing (at least to some extent) on how well we maintain our own standard of daily Bible reading.
Why is this important? Well, if we want to help our children develop a love for God’s Word that can stand the test of time, then we need to deal with the potential pitfalls of forming such a habit.
In Galatians 3:3, Paul shares his strong concerns with believers who had started out basing their standing before God upon His work, but then ended up basing it upon their works.
“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”
It’s important to remember that reading God’s Word daily is not something we do to stay saved. Rather, it is something we do to stay safe!
After all, why do we want our children to develop a love for God’s Word? Is it so that they look like good Christians? Is it so that others will be impressed at how spiritual our children are? Or is it because we know that God blesses those who read, study, and submit to His Word?
IMPORTANT FOUNDATIONS It’s crucial that we begin with the right foundations. Here are some of the most important Biblical principles that we need to teach our children:
Here are some practical pointers to help our children develop the excellent habit of reading God’s Word.
If your children see you reading God’s Word often and looking to It for answers and direction, they will follow your example. The more that you read the Word to your children (during times of family worship, for example), the more they will develop a hunger for and healthy familiarity with it. If the whole family reads the Scriptures daily, your children won’t find it unusual to follow that pattern themselves.
Encouraging our children to develop a habit of reading God’s Word will not hinder them from enjoying and valuing it. Helping them develop the discipline at a young age will make the habit so much easier as they grow older. As we communicate regularly about the God that we read of (worshiping Him in our families and making Him central in our lives), our children’s love for the Word of God and understanding of the God of the Word will grow. Let your example be that of someone who sincerely loves God and His Word. Your children will be far more likely to follow in your footsteps.