I vividly remember a dark and lonely time right after college, and before I had any clue what God wanted to do with my life, when God’s Word first became what I lived on. I grew up reading Scripture and enjoying it, but I don’t think I truly relied on it before then. That year, and years after, I filled journals with notes on the precious thoughts of my God communicated through His Word. They were light in my darkness as they continue to be now.
Now that I have my own children, I want God’s Word to be the same for them, but how does one do that in the midst of distracted days and, at times, disinterested kids? Here are a few thoughts:
Four Ways to Impress Scripture on Your Children
Let the Word first dwell in YOU richly (see Colossians 3:16). To be authentic disciple-makers, we must first be authentic disciples and lovers of Jesus, right? Are God’s words stored up in your heart and soul? Are they so part of your life that it’s as if they were strapped to your forehead (see Deuteronomy 11:18-20)? Do you read and meditate on the Word, expecting God to speak to you? Do they affect the way that you instinctively react to life?
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, . . . .” (Deuteronomy 11:18-20 ESV)
I’m not talking about a perfect parent, but a parent who is growing, who repents constantly, and who submits herself to God’s Word. Our kids are watching to see if what we say we believe is actually what we believe.
Incorporate Scripture reading and memory into your family routines. Every family has its own culture and daily rhythm–their talking, walking, lying down, and rising (Deut. 11:18-20 again). Routines can be the opportunity for us to regularly get around the Word and pray together. Maybe you use Scripture memory cards during your homeschool day. Maybe you listen to Scripture songs and pray on the way to school each morning. Or maybe you read a short Bible passage together before you go to bed each night. We have memory verse cards tucked under the glass of our dining room table so we can review them periodically as we eat our meals. Every few weeks, we add a new one, but keep circling back to the older ones too.
Talk about Scripture. If we’re ready to listen to the Holy Spirit and have a habit of conversing openly with our kids, God can open the door to fruitful conversation at any moment. We often have these kinds of conversations in the car when I’m least expecting them. Again, if the Word of God makes its home in us, then it will naturally be part of our conversations with our kids!
Moments of discipline and frustration, too, are great opportunities for application of Scripture, not a “whack-a-sin” kind of application, but patient and encouraging application from a fellow-sinner. We continually have some version of this conversations with my girls when they lose self-control with each other: Were you slow to anger just then (Proverbs 19:11)? How did you react sinfully to the situation? Remember what causes fights (see James 4:1-2)? Let’s ask God to forgive our selfishness and make us wise and slow to anger (Jesus, help Mommy too!). Let’s thank Jesus for the cross.
Teach your kids to pray Scripture. Whatever Scriptures you’re learning together, show your kids how to pray them. For example, we’ve been learning the verse, “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). As you pray together, use the truths of Scripture: God, thank you that I get to be your child and that you’re my Father. I know you’re working in me like a potter with clay, making me more like Jesus.
Lastly, I think we parents tend to burden ourselves with a weight that only Jesus can bear, while neglecting the burden Jesus has laid us (Matthew 11:28-30). As 1 Corinthians 3:6 points out, one plants, one waters, but it is “God who gives the growth.” Our job as parents is to be hearers and doers of the Word first ourselves. And then, in the power of the Spirit (and under His great grace), teach our kids to do the same, leaving the end results up to the only One who can produce them.
If you’re looking for materials to help teach your kids Scriptures, I illustrate printable Scripture artwork and memory verse sets and coloring pages to help parents and those in ministry do just that. I have an Etsy shop and also share free coloring pages on my blog.
Mary is a former ESL teacher turned homemaker, homeschooler, and mom to three. Most days you can find her asking for the whereabouts of the two-year-old, trying to make children do their math, and finishing up a cup of cold coffee. In small gaps of time, she’s also a blogger and artist who attempts to capture small nuggets of truth and grace found in God’s Word. She blogs at www.marydeandraws.com.
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