What does it look like for me to disciple my children?
This is a common question that many of us ask ourselves as parents. Maybe you’ve recently come to understand the importance of discipling your children or maybe you’ve known that it’s your primary responsibility for years. The question can often nag at our hearts. Are we doing enough? How can we make sure we’re really discipling our kids? We can find insights about discipling our kids from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old Testament, we receive specific direction from Moses to parents. In the New Testament we learn about discipleship from the example of Christ.
Discipleship in the Old Testament
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses is giving his farewell speech to the people he loved and he specifically speaks to the parents in the group. Of all the important things he wants them to remember, verses 5-7 sum up the how-to of discipling children.
1. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.” Verse 5 starts with your own heart. In order for you to disciple your children, you need to love the Lord yourself.
2. “Speak the Word of God to your children all the time.” Verse 7 tells us to speak to our children about God and His Word–when we’re sitting at home, when we’re traveling, when we lie down for bed, and when we wake up. In a nutshell, speak to your children about Him all the time.
Discipleship in the New Testament
This leads us to the example of Christ in the New Testament. He chose his 12 disciples, those men whom he lived life with and poured into as the first disciples. What can we learn from his example? Much like we learned from Moses, we see Jesus over and over in the Gospels speaking to His disciples and teaching them God’s Word. Here are two specific places we see this taking place.
Mark 4:34, “He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.”
Luke 24:27, “and beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
The process of discipling children really consists of loving God with all your heart and speaking His Word to them. Share with them how God’s word has impacted you, teach them what you’ve learned from your quiet time. Talk to them before bed, when they wake up, while you’re at home, and while you’re traveling. If you’re having trouble starting these conversations, I’ve found a great resource that can help get the creative juices flowing. It’s found at http://d6family.com/splink/. Scroll to the bottom, enter your email address, and each week you’ll receive three great conversation starters to help you in the process of discipling your children. Be encouraged that the God who has called you to do this will help you accomplish it as well.