Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.
When a child arrives to a home, be it a father mother home or a single parent home, their very presence and unending demands do tend to overwhelm the adults. Child is 100% dependent for them to live and grow. Child needs to be fed. To be changed. To be bathed. To be clothed. To be put to bed. To be turned while asleep. Then they ‘grow legs’ and parents become literal gate keepers. Putting hurdles, locks and obstacles everywhere to keep the child safe.
While all these physical nurturing is happening it is very easy to get overwhelmed and not nurture their mental, spiritual, emotional and social well being. Because if we are to be honest, taking care of the physical needs of a child is full time job. Sometimes we even hire extra hands to help us do it right. Ensure the child eats and drinks right, is changed at the right time, sleeps at the right time, is clean and safe.
Unfortunately while we as parents are swamped in ensuring the child/ren under our care grow and live, blinded mostly by the screaming physical needs, the spiritual, emotional, mental and social needs of the child/ren can and do fall through the cracks. Sadly, the consequences of this slip is not noticed until it is too late or when we are now correcting unwanted behaviours and tendencies.
Why does He give us children?
In Malachi 2:15 I found an answer that has kept me focused, steady and encouraged.
God gave me children so that I can raise up for Him a godly offspring.
And in His grace and mercy, He also gave me the how plus the what to do this job well.
The desire of God is that we who are believers, who have believed in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead and confess the same with our mouths, is that when He blesses us with the gift of a child or children, we raise them to be godly.
How you may ask?
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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Moses here is speaking to the children of Israel on how they are to be in the promised land. He was not going to set foot in the promised land, courtesy of the same people, faithfully teaches and reminds them what the Lord was expecting of them and from them as they took possession of the land.
Key amongst them is TEACHING their children about the Lord their God and His commands. Several times they are reminded that a new generation is now alive that was not there to have witnessed the great deliverance from Egypt, leave alone the 400 years of slavery, as well as the miracles of the parting of the Red Sea and the initial provisions of Manna and Water. These generation was the one that was going to enter into the Promised land and take possession of it. These generation was also going to birth the next generation and continuing. The Identity of God and the Knowldge of His commands needed to be faithfully passed on from generation to generation.
And here inspired by the Spirit Moses gives them a downright practical way to go about doing exactly that.
- These commands are to be ON YOUR HEARTS
- You are to TEACH these commands on your children
- TALK about them when you Sit, Walk, Lie down, Get up
- TIE them as SYMBOLS on your hands and foreheads
- WRITE them on the doorframes of your houses and gates
Surely, there was no crack for the spiritual growth of the children. The beauty of beginning with spiritual growth is that God’s commands are holistic and integrated. They encompass every area of a child’s life: Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Physical and Social well-being.
These commands are to be ON YOUR HEARTS
What is on your heart dear parent?
Is it the Word of God or the standards of men?
It is written from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. It is also written that you need to Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life.
So what is in your heart? That is what will overflow into your child/ren and determine whether or not you are raising a godly offspring.
I encourage you, I implore you, Let the Word of God be on your heart. Commit yourself to the Study, to the Obedience and to the Teaching of God’s Word.
You are to TEACH these commands on your children
Next step is to TEACH them on your children. When you have the commands of God, His Word in your heart then teach the same on your children. It is a step by step plan this one.
One translation, translates the word Teach as Impress. When I read impress, what jumps at me is the process through which using a hot iron an animal gets imprinted with an image. Its a Hoooooot and I bet very painful process. And the process produces a permanent work. We are to IMPRESS upon our children the commands of the Lord. We are to consistently and consciously teach our children God’s Word in its totality. Not some memory verses that serve our interest and desire to be obeyed unquoestionably but the entire Word of God and the Redemption story weaved therein from Genesis to Revelation.
How can we TEACH if we do not know?
How can we know if we do not study and obey?
TALK about them when you Sit, Walk, Lie down, Get up
After we TEACH then we TALK about what we have taught. We are to TALK about God’s Word and His commands ALL THE TIME! From waking up to sleeping. As we sit, as we walk, as we lie down.
Many parents do not wake up their children up nor put them down to bed on Scripture, on God’s Word. Yet that is the command. If we are to be raising up a godly offspring, the Word of God and His commands MUST saturate the conversations in our households. The Word of God MUST become the standard against which we live every inch of our lives. We wake up to it and we lie down with it.
This calls for a total overhaul of how most believers live their lives and run their households. The programs we follow so religiously that focus on only one aspect of our children’s well being to the utter destruction of the souls. We can no longer conform ourselves to the patterns of this world. We MUST be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Only the Word of God ash the power to renew our minds.
I call you to consciously make a decision this day to TALK about God’s Word with your child/ren as you wake up, as you sit down, as you walk, as you lie down.
TIE them as SYMBOLS on your hands and foreheads
WRITE them on the door frames of your houses and gates
Kenyans have our now world famous bead armband. Many born or naturalized citizens don this jewelry on their arms, proudly so. It marks one out in a crowd as either belonging to this beautiful country or being a lover of this Nation we call Kenya.
At the time Moses was speaking to the children of Israel in the desert, the written Word was not in plenty as it is today. To ensure that it was always with them in a tangible way, they were commanded to write it and TIE it as symbols on the hands and forehead as well as WRITE it on their doorframes and gates. We live in a generation where social media continues to baloon.
What do you WRITE on your wall?
What messages do you send on your Whatsapp?
What symbols do you have on your arms, neck, body and on your house?
Do these convey the Word of God to you and all those who see or read? Do they explicitly mark you out as a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ? Do they light a dark world and are they salt in a dying world?
What is on you? What is on your wall, at home and in your social media accounts?
It is written, we shall know them by their fruits. Are you easily recognisable and associated with Jesus or not?
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
When we know better we do better.
God gave us children as believers to raise up a godly offspring for Him. Throughout Scripture He has guided us on how to raise up a godly offspring. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is one of those practical guidelines on how to go about this.
It is easy to get overwhelmed in parenting by the physical needs of our children. However there is more their wholeness and well being than eating, drinking, bathing and sleeping. They need to become a godly offspring.
May God help you and I to love Him by obeying His command to raise up for Him a godly offspring.