"Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel."
Judges 2:8-10 (New International Version)
I am doing research for a future writing project and came across an open group forum on the internet for alumni of a Christian school. The discussion question had been thrown out asking the following:
Would you send your own children to this Christian school?
Three of the responses mirrored each other. Although several of these children, now adults, had attended from kindergarten through twelfth grade and admitted regularly hearing Christian truths in classes, each one had resolutely turned his/her back on Christianity altogether. They now embrace all faiths. They each pointed out the stifling constriction of the rules and regulations of "religion" and had "freed" themselves from its clutches.
My question to us today is--all of us, whether we have children or not--what do those who we influence see and hear from us? If we are mothers, do we talk about Jesus and His power at all during our children's day? I know that many of us may be talking about homework, sports schedules and events, or even church. But are we making Jesus famous to our children? Do they hear our prayer requests? Have we ever done a study of a Bible passage with them? Are we so busy that we just hope they are getting enough spiritual information at church or school?
If we are not married or do not have children of our own yet, are we preparing ourselves to become teachers of God's Word to others? Or have we convinced ourselves that we will take care of that when we do get married or do have that first baby. I thought that way. When I finally did have children, I was so exhausted, with no real Bible study habits developed, that the spiritual went right out the window in order to get any possible sleep I could. Do we even know what we believe? How would we try to communicate that to someone else? If the answer is no, then we must remedy that.
We are losing the next generation to the god of this age. We absolutely cannot fool ourselves into thinking that our children's time in youth group or sitting with us in the pew every time the church door opens is enough for their spiritual development into followers of Christ. Our kids are faced with pressures that cause the desperate need for answers. Are we, the ones who love them so much and have the most influence on their spiritual development, letting them see a Jesus who is the answer for all their questions? How powerful is He in our home? Does He have supreme authority or do we just give lip service to that and hope our kids don't notice?
Someone once asked me if I could have anything in the whole world, what would it be. I have thought about that question many, many times. Beyond any earthly possession, I want my children to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and strength. I cannot take anything of this earth with me into eternity, but I can take them if my God becomes their God under my influence.
To that end, I must, I must, I must tell my children about Him every chance I possibly can. They must see a transparent life in their mommy. They need to know that life is hard, but Jesus has made them overcomers. They need to know that Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. These are matters of life and death. I cannot let these years pass hoping that my kids will find Him by osmosis. Nor can I delegate that God-commanded responsibility that has been given to me as their parent to a pastor or a youth group.
Every Jewish child is required to know the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
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.
It is a prayer I pray over them often, but need to do more. Girlfriends, we must be intentional. What is written on our hearts, hands, foreheads, and doorframes of our homes? Does Jesus reign over each area or are saying one thing to our children and doing another? The one thing I read repeatedly through these posts of the former students of the Christian school was that they did not want to live in hypocrisy like they had seen the adults in their lives live.
Is our God all powerful, all present, and all knowing to our children? Do we worship our Creator or created things in our homes? Is Jesus real and desirable to them because Jesus is real to us and our own heart's unabashed and evident Desire to our kids?
Jesus, help me to have my priorities in order. I am not here to live in the lap of luxury or have a comfortable life. I am here as Your servant. Am I being that to my children? Please help me to glorify You in front of my kids so that they envy my relationship with You and want the same for themselves. Watch over their hearts and keep them soft and tender toward the things of God. Protect their minds from the lies. Let them see You in me.