The fragility of life. In the past couple of weeks I have been in circles of two deaths. One was a suicide of a very mentally sick person and the other a tragic OD on drugs from an addict. Both of these has put me in the mode of really contemplating the fragility of life. We were given each breath we take and how quickly we take them for granted. But more than that, I am convicted about my children. Both of these deaths were men. Having two boys, I am left to wonder, as a mother, how I can play a small role in shaping my boys for their future choices.
We are given very specific instructions on raising our children in multiple places in the bible. One of my favorites is Deut 6:4-9
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 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. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
In verse 7 it says we are to “impress” them on our children. One of the definitions of impress is “Characteristic; mark of distinction; stamp.” I like best the idea of “stamp.” We are to be stamping our children with the commandments of God. When I think of that, I think of a group of people in a line and my children being identified by these stamps of crosses on their foreheads. This reading continues in telling us when to do this. Talk about them, when you sit at home, walk along the road, lie down, and get up. So when, every single moment of our lives. Pretty much every conversation we have should be focussed around pointing our children to Christ.
Are we stamping our children? When they are in a group of other children, do they resemble the other kids or do they resemble Christ. There are many harmless things in the world today but they are still competing to remove our childrens hearts from Christ. We must be ever vigilant in protecting their hearts and keeping them only for Christ.
I can not control the choices my children will make as they get older. But I can influence their environment. I can at birth fill them up with nothing but Christ in that they are stamped with him forever. As adults many of us can think of the pain and heartache we would have been spared if we had chosen God’s way instead of our own. If we want to protect our children from those things we will not do it with psychology and parental lectures. We will do it by filling them with the Word of God from infancy.
Today our churches have a plethora of “fun” and “entertainment” for our kids. But having fun inside a church building is not the purpose of church. We need more churches willing to brainwash our children for Christ. Willing to pour scripture into their souls from a very young age. It is a common misconception that very young toddlers need only babysitting in a nursery. But I can tell you from seeing it first hand that even these children can memorize scripture. If a child can memorize “Jesus loves me,” they can memorize “Children obey your parents in the Lord.”
We need to be bathing our kids in scripture and molding them into service for him. We can not save our children or change their hearts for Christ but we can lead them in his direction. We need to reconsider our correction and discipline and really use every opportunity to show Christ to our kids.
This passage in Deut. is a command to us as parents to bring EVERY part of our lives under the submission of Christ. What are your doorframes painted with? Are your children stamped with Christ or with Hanna Montana or High School Musical. What are you allowing to be idols in your childrens lives. What idols do I allow in my home?
Am I taking every opportunity to point my kids to Christ? Life is very fragile. We are not promised a single day and sadly neither are our children. We can not choose who they will become but we can help mold them. Let’s pray that we can adequately use EVERY moment to fill them with Christ and the Cross.
On a side note, I do recommend a book on this subject. “Teach them Diligently” by Lou Priolo. But no book should ever replace the Word of God. Also, many people are not aware of something called the “Westminster Shorter Catechism.” It is a small book of basic doctrines put in a question and answer format for children. It is a great way to begin very early pouring doctrine into our children and giving them the opportunity to defend their faith. My 30 month old can even memorize the first 3 questions. It is a great resource for parents.