As I was thinking about it yesterday and this morning- what this "challenge" is in Deuteronomy 6 for me as a mom I keep coming back to modeling. I keep seeing this in neon when I read the verses, "YOU shall love the Lord YOUR God with all YOUR heart, with all YOUR soul, and with all YOUR strength. And these words which I command YOU today shall be in YOUR heart..." YOU, ME, is the emphasis in this command of God to teach our kids. The focus isn't really our kids, it's us! Why? Because our kids will imitate us. Our love for the Lord will be their inspiration, or lack of it, drawing them to Christ for themselves.
I like the way Chip Ingram put it in a message series called House or Home- Is There A Parent In The House part 1?
"...the best thing is not a to-do list about all the activities you need to do with your kids. Or about how your going to change your family devotions. If you are not the person you want your kids to become, the greatest gift and the greatest stewardship you could perform right now is to look in the mirror and say, ' If there's anything in my life that I wouldn't want my kids to imitate, OH God! lets go to work on that together RIGHT NOW!
Let me play it differently for you, ok, cause I think as parents we should do this. Imagine if you will, I've got my living room- little family room- here's the couch. Ok. I'm asking my kids to walk into the room, regardless of the age, ok. For me it's four, 1, 2, 3, 4. I get em all lined up. I'm the parent...But I sit in the chair right across from em and I look em all in the eye. And I say...
"Okay gang. Um, I'm your parent. I believe you're a gift from God. And I believe probably the biggest job I have on this planet is this sacred stewardship, so are you ready? However you see me drive, that's how I want you to drive. However you see me use my money, that's how I want you to use your money. I want you to give like I give. I want you to save like I save. And I want you to make wise purchases the way you see me do it. Whenever you see me get cut off in traffic, or something that really offends me, I want you to respond in the same way that I respond with my anger. I want you to spend the same kind of time in the Bible that you see me in my time in the Bible. I want you to have the same passion for Christ and care for our neighbors that you see in me. I want you to never put anything in your mind that you don't see me put in my mind. And the things that I say, I don't want to watch or look at I don't want you to, too. Imitate me and if you do, your life will go well."
And parents I want tell you straight up! If you can't say that, you'd better address it. BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE THAT TALK. THEY WILL IMITATE YOU! And they'll imitate not just your actions, but your attitudes, your faith, what's in your heart, your motives. And that's why the target has to get on the wall, and then you need to understand the teacher, primarily is you!"
Wow! Stab to the heart! I pray you don't take the line of bull the enemy wants to feed you right now and get defensive and shun this admonition from the Lord by saying, "That's rediculous! I'm only human. I can't be perfect. I can't do that!" The whole point of God putting this responsibility on us as parents is to cause us to fall at the feet of Jesus and let His mercy and grace and His love for us transform us. Doing this should cause us to be real before our kids and real before the Lord, not trying to do only what we know we can do, but realizing all that WE can do is nothing apart from Christ and that with Him we can do all things...even model a life of worship and obedience to Christ to our kids that will be key in teaching them the ways of the Lord that we desire for them to walk in.
The Lord doesn't want us to expect anything of our kids that we aren't willing to obey ourselves, and that doesn't mean He wants us to lower His standards and make it anything goes in our houses. He wants us to walk by faith, not by our own strength and He wants us to model that life of faith in Christ, a life that grows in grace and is repentant and seeks mercy and shows mercy to our kids.
So the last challenge is to look in the mirror of God's word, get on our knees and seek for God to expose to us areas He wants us to get rid of that we might be better models of faith for our kids. Seek the Lord on this. Get in a quiet place, even if it means locking yourself in the bathroom, (bring your Bible with you, along with a paper and pen) and read Psalm 139, and Psalm 127, or whatever scripture you may feel led to read. And cry out to the Lord, seek His face. Pray and see if there's anything He'd reveal to you that you need to deal with that you might let some of that salt that you are out into your kids' lives so that they might thirst for YOUR God!
I know for me as I've done this the Lord points out my lack of patience and quickness to become angry and frustrated with my kids' kid-ness. The other day, as I was sooooooo frustrated with the same pattern of getting in the car, playing, not getting their seatbelts on, me saying, "Boys, get your seatbelts on," them not doing it, acting like I said nothing, continuing to play...I was grinding my teeth. Aaaar! I stopped and prayed, "Lord. You live in me. You're patient. There's no reason why I cannot be patient right now! I could be angry and frustrated and bark at them and grind my teeth, or I could be patient and continue training them again the procedure for getting in the car." Just stopping to do that made the world of difference. But what really got me was a couple days later when I heard my older child sounding just like me, frustrated and irritated at his younger brother for being slower and more childish in the thing he wanted to do in his "big" 5 year old way. My kids are imitating me! May the Lord deal with me!
Lord, help us! The enemy seeks to destroy the sacred stewardship you've entrusted to us in our kids and our flesh is dead weight...completely week and unable to assist in anyway...it's just there dragging us down. Help us to walk by faith and, "... let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is is set before us." I pray for myself and any mom who reads this Lord, that you would give us resolve to believe that You have not called us to an impossible task without equipping us with divine strength. You said you've given us everything we need for life and godliness...let us step out to obey you as parents and take up the challenge of being good stewards of the sacred lives you've entrusted to us. Deal with us Lord. Search us and know us. See if there be any wicked way in US and lead us in the way everlasting.