I don’t know about you, but sometimes I worry about how to raise my kids in this crazy world we live in. We try to shelter them as it seems age-appropriate to do so. We set boundaries for TV shows and movies they can watch or video games they can play. We’ll let the oldest one use the computer on a very limited basis, and monitor websites she goes to and talk about internet safety.
But there’s only so much we can do. We’ll only be able to protect them to a point. They’ll hear and see things. They’ll experience pain, fear, and tragedy. As a parent, how do I prepare them?
I found some really helpful notes from a June 2012 sermon about integrating God’s Word into your life. While the focus was on your own spiritual development, I think a lot applies to me as a Jesus follower in addition to as a parent.
Why is God’s Word so Important?
It gives us life.
It gives us hope.
It gives us a direct connection to God.
It’s also a key piece of the armor of God.
There are a few parts of that last passage I want to take a closer look at:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might (Ephesians 6:10).
Our strength doesn’t come from within; it comes from God. When I’m in those moments where I’m completely exhausted or empty, I can rely on the Lord’s strength.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14a).
How do we know and teach our kids what’s true? We turn to our Bibles. God revealed His truth to us there in His Word.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16).
I used to feel like my faith made me more naive, and in some ways it did. But that’s not a bad thing. Faith is a shield–the strongest type of shield you can have. I can look back and see times in my life that God used my faith in Him to shield me from situations that could have been much worse. I can see instances where my choices to obey God in faith ended up saving me from a lot of hurt.
I think that as parents, we need to remember to take up our shields of faith daily. I don’t know what my kids will encounter, especially during those times I’m not there. But I can trust that God loves them more than I do and He can see the bigger picture. I can have faith that He’s with them, protecting and preparing them in ways I couldn’t ever anticipate.
…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:17b-18a).
Note the connection between the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and constant prayer in the Spirit. Understanding, internalizing, and integrating God’s Word into your life and your kids’ lives is done through the Holy Spirit.
To that end, keep alert with all perseverance (Ephesians 6:18b).
This is a reminder to stay on guard! Parenting isn’t an easy gig. It’s a long-term, life-changing, transformative process. There will always be new things coming at you and your kids. Keep turning to God and asking for His help.
How to Incorporate His Word Into Your Life
What’s the best first step in learning God’s Word more–either for you or your kids? Ask Him for help! Psalm 86:11-12 gives us a nice example of a prayer to pray:
Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
Help me learn how to walk in your truth. Mold my heart to revere and respect you. I’m so grateful to you, down to the depths of my soul. I’ll always praise you.
So how do you incorporate God’s Word into your life? That sermon I mentioned from June 2012 included 10 ways:
- Listen to it.
- Read it.
- Meditate on it.
- Memorize it.
- Study it.
- Share it.
- Teach it.
- Sing it.
- Proclaim it.
- Obey it.
Reading this list, I see areas I need to do better for my own personal growth and as an example for my kids. I think it helps to focus on a couple and go from there.
Ask God which ones you should prioritize and for guidance on how to incorporate them into your family’s life–then pay attention! I don’t know how He’ll answer you, but I’m sure He will answer you. It could be through a friend, family member, Facebook post, song on the radio, YouTube video…the ways are countless!
This is a prayer I’m praying, too. I can see ways He’s helped me incorporate some of them into my life since June 2012, but I still have a lot of room for improvement and want to get better at integrating God’s word into my family’s life, too!