There is no more important job I have than these two: pastor husband and pastor dad. Those are jobs I cannot graduate from, abandon, abdicate, abuse, or exchange. I have them for life. Even more, they are jobs the Lord calls me to put before the other jobs He gives me.
Giving Kids Our Leftovers
Though many of us would agree with the spousal and parental priority, we don’t often act like it; at least, I don’t. For example, it is easy for me to go to work and use all my gifts, resources, time, and energy at work to plan, revise, create, and evaluate my lectures, curriculum, etc., but I don’t find myself naturally giving that kind of diligence toward my parenting strategies. If I’m honest, my parenting sometimes gets the leftovers of my energy, skill, and planning practices. Though fathering my children to be in awe of Jesus is the most important duty I have under husbanding my wife, I often give it less energy and forethought than I do my day job.
To avoid that continuing, with the birth of our firstborn daughter, my wife and I began to discuss our game plan for raising our children to be in awe of Jesus. Together, by God’s grace, we are working to ensure our kids are getting our best so they grow to be in awe of Jesus.
Though fathering my children is the most important duty I have under husbanding my wife, I often give it less energy and forethought than I do my day job.
So, over the course of a few blogs, I’d like to share with you four graces we hope to use to raise our kids unto awe of Christ. We hope to bless them with God’s Word, God’s World, God’s Work, and God’s Worth.
It’s our hope that in hearing, seeing, understanding, and receiving those four gifts, our children will so delight in Jesus that they’ll laugh at the world’s seductions, drink deeply of God’s gifts, and live in the soul-warming beauty of His glory.
So, let’s start with the first blessing we hope to give our kids.
We Will Bless Them With God’s Word
If my children are ever to experience true life, then they need to hear, understand, and believe the Word of Life. Like Peter said, believers are “born again…through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23). So, if I want my babies to become babies in Jesus, then His Word must saturate our home and their hearts (Deut. 6:4-6). Without His Word in their heads, they’ll never have His life in their hearts.
Without Jesus’ Word in their heads, they’ll never have Jesus’ life in their hearts.
But how do we go about getting God’s Word into our kids? There are countless ways and I’d encourage you to share your ideas in the comments below, but to start, here are a couple practices we’re doing.
Though I initially thought my kids wouldn’t be interested or able to hear from or understand the actual Bible, I’ve been pleasantly proved wrong. My three-year old has shown me time and time again that if I am willing to read plain portions of Scripture, she is eager and able to learn and understand.
Children’s Bible Resources
There are massive amounts of excellent children’s Bible resources out there from story book Bibles (like this or this), theological books (like this or this), family devotion guides (like this or this), or theological literature (like these).
No, catechism isn’t a catholic thing or a bad thing. It’s a biblical thing and a genius thing. Read this or this to be persuaded of the wisdom and faithfulness of catechetical instruction. Here is the catechism my girls are in the process of joyfully committing to memory as we use this as our guide. Protip: use ridiculous hand movements to memorize the questions and answers. The goofier, the better.
Hiding God’s Word in our children’s memory will greatly aid them hide it in their hearts. Make sure to check these guys out for fun music and cartoon’s designed to help kids memorize Scripture. They even has a bunch of YouTube videos that have animated cartoons with their songs.
Singing is an incredible means of learning and memorizing God’s Word. I love playing the guitar and teaching my kids rich biblical and theological songs. But, if you don’t have musical ability, just turn the speakers on and enjoy albums like this or this or, for something fun and different, this. Watch your kids accidentally memorize these songs and be forever blessed for it.
It doesn’t take a village to raise a In-Awe-of-Jesus kid, but it does take a church. When it comes to teaching our kids the Word of God, your local church is an indispensable help. At church, your kids will be hearing God’s Word read, taught, sung, and explained from the lips of other brothers and sisters using their gifts. Whether it’s in Sunday school or corporate worship, having your kids regularly taught God’s Word from God’s people will become an essential way for them to learn and receive it.
The simple truth is my children and your children will only live in awe of Jesus if they learn about Him and see Him from His Word.
How Do We Put All These Together?
After reading the above practicalities, you may feel as I have and ask, “How can I possibly put all this together with everything else we have going on?”
Well, to avoid stuffing another blog in here, allow me to point you to the following.
- Go here for motivation.
- Go here for practical tips.
- Go here for a great resource of songs, Scriptures, and catechism pathway.
- Go here for a great book to put it all together.
There’s more to say here and maybe we can unpack these practicalities on the blog later on. But for now, those will get you started just fine.
The simple truth is my children and your children will only live in awe of Jesus if they learn about Him and see Him from His Word. Though teaching my children the Scriptures is not the only grace they need, it is the foundational grace on which everything else will stand.