It may not sound all that fancy but our family of 7 once took a Mother’s Day drive in our then 9-year-old Dodge minivan on some back roads here in Perry County Arkansas. It was a fun time of singing, enjoying each other’s company, and seeing some of the beautiful scenery that is almost literally in our backyard.
Apparently, my kids aren’t overly confident in my navigational abilities because several times during our little excursion they asked “Dad, are we lost!?” Hey now! C’mon. Give the old man a little credit. This is where I grew up! I can still get us around. Just enjoy the ride and trust me.
And for the record, no, we didn’t get lost one time! Not even close!
The next day I was amused that my 3-year-old’s confidence was still (unfairly!) waning as en route to our newborn’s checkup she asked several times, “Are we going the right way!?” Yes, honey, we are going the right way. Daddy knows what he’s doing.
Ok, I did make ONE wrong turn this time because I didn’t realize that our pediatrician’s office had moved!
I do have a point in all of this. When our children are young they may be perceptive enough to ask if parents are leading them in the right physical direction. Are we lost? Are we going the right way? Are you sure dad? But when it comes to spiritual matters they seem to have a lot of confidence in us! They don’t often ask us if we are doing the right thing or going the right way. They just follow our lead. They assume we know what we are doing. And boy, are they watching us closely.
- Dad says it’s ok to miss church for sports, or hunting, or fishing. I’ll follow him.
- Mom says this tv show is ok for me to consume. I’ll follow her.
- My parents don’t open the Bible except on Sundays. That works for me too.
- The gospel has no real impact on my parent’s marriage, or friendships, or lifestyle in general. It must just be some secondary aspect of life.
Dad, are we really going the right way?
The privilege of parenting is a gracious gift, isn’t it? But along with that comes the high expectation and responsibility the Bible puts on parents. We are to:
- Teach our children diligently (Deut. 6:7)
- Raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4)
- Train them (Prov. 22:6)
- Explain spiritual matters to them (Exodus 12:26)
- Acquaint them with the Scriptures at a young age (2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14-15)
And these are just a few biblical examples! To what destination does this journey that you’re leading your family on lead? Your children are watching you. They are learning from you. What you say and don’t say are showing them a picture of who God is. The priorities you put forth for your family are teaching them where your faith really lies. And the road you travel is the same one they will most likely venture down as well. Is it the right way?
Can your children entrust their souls to your navigational ability?
What place does the Bible have in your home? Is it the well-respected relic that sits on the coffee table but is never used? Or is it the centerpiece of the home that is well read? Is it treasured? Do you treasure it? Your children notice. And more than likely they know the real answer to that question.
The stakes are high. And in a sense, we should feel the weight of the consequences of making a wrong turn every day. But at the same time, don’t be so overwhelmed that you’re frozen in inaction. When God called you to be a parent, He also equipped you with everything you need to get the job done.
No, He really did! He’s given you His Word. He’s given you His local church. This local body should have a pastor who can help you with this. It should have brothers and sisters to encourage you in this and to hold you accountable. Furthermore, God has given you the church universal in which many faithful brother and sisters throughout church history have written helpful resources that we can put to use. And most importantly, He’s given us His own Son to be crucified for our sin, including the sin of neglecting intentionality in raising our children in the Lord. This doesn’t excuse our sin, but it does compel us that we can rest it in Christ! And because of Jesus we can (and must!) repent of sin and strive to now be faithful in this area.
Dads, lead. Moms, if dad is out of the picture or won’t step up in this, you lead. Here’s an example of family worship here. And here’s an excellent sermon from a pastor friend on family worship here. Here’s a post on how to get started. And if you’d like more information or more resources don’t hesitate to contact me! May God be glorified in the way we raise our children. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth (Ps. 127:4)! Use those arrows wisely. They may be weapons that the Lord uses to push back the domain of darkness and bring many sons to glory.
Are you going the right way?