What are your hopes and dreams for your kid’s future? This is a question I often ask moms and dads when I lead parenting classes. Typically, at least one parent in the group will respond by saying they want their children to grow to be godly adults who love the Lord and follow His ways. When I ask them what they can do now to encourage their kids to become godly adults, it’s not uncommon for them to shrug their shoulders and ask, “Take them to church?”
What if I told you that the first responsibility rests with parents? Yes, back in the beautiful book of Deuteronomy, God told the Israelites to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” He went on to tell the Israelites to impress the commandments on their children, talking about them when they sit at home, when they walk along the road, when they lie down and when they get up. That’s pretty much all the time! Certainly, the church is very important, but it’s our job to encourage our kids to know and love God and His word.
So how do we help our kids understand the importance of knowing God’s word and growing deeper in their love for God? Let’s look at three practical ways we can inspire our kids to grow in their knowledge and love of the Bible, and ultimately in their love for God Himself.
Equip. Provide your children with age-appropriate Bibles, and instill a love for His Word at an early age. You can find illustrated Bibles for the very young, all the way up to study Bibles for teens. It’s never too early to begin the habit of reading God’s word together. My daughter and her husband read the Bible to their daughter every night before she goes to bed. They started this practice when their daughter was an infant, and as she grows she loves this special time of listening to God’s word. Plus, the Discover 4 Yourself Bible Studies for kids are wonderful studies to teach children how to study for themselves.
Encourage. Inspire your kids to love the Bible by telling them how God’s word has helped you or strengthened you. Use examples throughout your day to point to God’s attributes or a favorite Bible verse or something you learned as you read the Bible. The word encourage, means “to strengthen one’s heart.” Look for opportunities throughout the week to strengthen your children’s heart by giving them verses from the Bible that can comfort them or build them up. I like to have different Bible verses throughout my house, in frames, on plaques, and even hand-written notes.
Exemplify. Our kids learn best from our own example. When our kids observe us reading the Bible, they see that we sincerely believe it makes a difference in our own lives. If they never see us reading Scripture, then it is easy for them to wonder why they should value making time to get to know it. As our kids recognize our personal love for the written word of God and its daily application to our lives, they are compelled to discover what it has to say to them as well.
Oh the joy of watching our kids grow up with a hunger and desire for God. It begins by imparting to them the importance of getting to know the Bible for themselves. May God use each of us to spark a love and a passion for God’s word in our children, and make a difference for generations to come!