Do you remember when you first discovered that the Lord was bringing a child into your life? Whether your little one was planned or was a surprise to you, that child wonderfully changed everything! The leap was huge when it changed from being “just you and me” to “now it is we three!” How quickly the years are flying by, and your schedule is much more demanding than you ever dreamed.
As a good parent, you are concerned about the well-being of your child in every area of his or her life. In the physical realm you may be facing braces, check-ups, routine doctor’s visits and the occasional “I wonder if I need to make a doctor’s appointment for this kind of medical situation?” Your child may be growing so quickly, you are finding it hard to keep him or her in proper fitting clothes.
You are concerned about the academic areas your child faces, from “will he ever remember his basic math facts” to “in a couple of years, how are we going to face calculus?” Before you know it, you will be taking your child to visit colleges. How did those years of helping with term papers and science projects go so quickly?
Of course there is the social area of development. Some of your children might need to progress in being a little more social (when to speak, how to speak, how to fool with friends and how to respect adults), or perhaps you have a child that you prefer to be a little less social. You remind them often that there is more to life than Facebook and Twitter!
All of these areas and many more are very important. Think about the most important area of your child’s life. What about the spiritual life of your child? It is an awesome thing to remember that someday your child will enter eternity. I know, I know. You don’t want to think about this, do you? But it is true. Ten seconds into eternity, it won’t matter nearly so much as to how high her math tests were or how social or not he was in his development. I am not saying these aren’t important. However, they aren’t the most important thing in your child’s life. Knowing the Lord Jesus as personal Savior and helping your son or daughter to make wise spiritual decisions will impact your child’s life right now and will be a cause for rejoicing throughout eternity.
Building a strong family in every area except the spiritual realm is a tragic mistake. I have discovered that godly parents who seek to build strong families God’s way, never regret the effort it takes. Believe me; it is well worth the effort! Building your family God’s way provides wonderful blessings right now as well as lasting throughout eternity.
During the time in the wilderness, Moses reminded the children of Israel that God wanted to build a strong nation, one family at a time. From his heart he shared five things they would have to do to build strong families and a strong nation. In principle, these are the same things we must do in order to build strong families God’s way. Check out Deuteronomy 8.
1. Strong families must observe the will of God (8:1). This gives the idea of “paying attention to or watching for something.” The demanding question we must ask is not so much “what do I want to do with my life” but “what is the will of God for my child and me?” Do you want the will of God for your child? Are you teaching your child to love God’s plan? Begin early to plant this wonderful truth in his or her heart.
2. Strong families must remember the wonder of God (8:2, 18). A tragic mistake is being committed by well-intentioned families. It is off to church on Sunday morning and then the rest of the week the family lives as if they never heard of Him. Tragic! Wise parents instill godly convictions about who the Lord is as well as what He wants us to know. From very early times, children can learn about the Lord. They can sing about His greatness and love. They can talk about how wonderful He is. It takes time, persistency, modeling, and lots of reminding. However, it is a wonderful joy to see your child not only coming to faith in Christ but learning more about Him.
3. Strong families must know the Word of God (8:3). The Lord Jesus fasted forty days and nights in the wilderness (Matthew 4). When He was extremely hungry, He experienced the horrific temptation of Satan who said, “If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (4:3). The Lord Jesus did not respond in the power of His Deity. He responded by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3! What a precious teaching principle the Lord Jesus communicates to us. We need to “know” (memorize) the Word of God. Your child (and you!) will be tempted. Will he or she go along with the crowd, or will the memorized Word of God be a great tool for victory in the temptation?
4. Strong families must consider the witness of God (8:5). A good parent “chasteneth” his son. That sounds like a strange statement in today’s society, doesn’t it? The idea of “chasteneth” actually means “child-training, disciplining.” This term actually involves God patiently instructing, reminding, training, encouraging, and correcting. The witness lies in the fact that if one is truly a child of God, this process will be taking place in his or her life. These are the exact same things good and godly parents actively do by investing in the life of their child.
5. Strong families must believe the warning of God (8:11). Moses was very concerned that when the nation of Israel settled into the Promised Land with its wealth and abundance, they would soon forget Him. It seems that abundance often decreases the reason for trusting Him. Think about this. Compared to the way many children are living in the world, your child probably is living in abundance. This means that you are going to have to work hard to help your child not to forget the Lord. This idea of “forgetting” gives the picture of “ignoring, or letting a plant wither.”
It is encouraging to me. When it comes to raising families, in spite of so many fads and all sorts of ever-changing ideas, God’s method of building strong families remains the same. You can do it! Though it will not be easy at times, it is well worth the effort.