What Did Jesus Do?
Jesus's disciples followed Him and believed Him because of one major reason...He walked with them, building an intimate relationship day by day. They trusted Him because they knew Him. They knew Him because they spent large amounts of time talking to, listening to, and watching Him.Relationship. It was crucial that He established a relationship with people in order to become trustworthy.He repeated often..."If you know Me, you will know My Father." They got to know about the things of God through a close relationship with the One who discipled them.Think about that as we ponder our job to "show the Father" to our children...There are HUGE implications for us as parents in Jesus' example!
The Great Commission Starts in Our Homes
Jesus lived out Deuteronomy 6 with His followers. "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when you sit in thine house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up."The Great Commission is about making disciples, and making disciples requires building relationships.God knew that the teacher must be trustworthy before he could relay life-changing information. How will my children desire to learn the things of God if I don't first build the proper relationship upon which trust can be built? They must look to me as a source of honesty, openness, kindness and wisdom. Why would they want to listen to me if so many other desirable voices are vying for their attention?
Segregation-Christianity's Greatest Enemy?
Imagine Jesus saying..."You are my disciples. But, I'm going to send you off for most of the day to learn the things of life. Your teachers won't necessarily love God, but they have some valuable information to impart. And even if they don't, I think it will be good for you to be around other people who don't have a clue about life yet....so you'll be properly socialized--'cause really, that's the most important thing.And on Sundays, I think it would be best for us to split up. They're showing some great videos in your class at the temple, so while I go learn about the meatier stuff of God's Word, you'll probably have more fun in the class for beginners."Pardon any sarcasm, but that is precisely what most of us do. Then we wonder why statistics are showing that 90% of children belonging to Christian homes leave the faith in high school! That is astounding, and utterly shameful.What is to happen to the Christian influence on our culture if we can't even pass on the very basics of our faith to our children in a way that impacts their lives?
Practically Building Relationships
So the question is, how do we build the kind of discipling relationships with our children that foster a love for Jesus and cause them to long for the things of God?Be with them. Like them. Require honor from them. Invest time and energy into them. Have fun with them and talk to them. Simply put, do what Deuteronomy 6 says..."Talk of them when you rise up, when you lie down, when you walk by the way, and when you sit in your house."Saying to the pressure of our culture..."ENOUGH. I am the one to whom God has given the task of raising up children for the glory of God. I am the most important influence in their lives. Their socialization starts with me. In the home. I am not obligated to give them over to the influences of just anyone. In fact, I am obligated NOT to do that."It is time for Christians to "take back" their children! They do not belong to the state, they do not belong to a peer group, and they don't even belong to the church. They were given to parents. We are responsible for their discipleship. Discipleship is impossible unless we are with them most of the time.So lay aside something and "walk with your children"!