“Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know God’s will for you…” Romans 12:2
As a mother of two young, teenage children, one of the greatest desires of my heart is for them to know the Living God of the Universe personally – not merely know about Him.
Outwardly, it would appear they know God personally.
- Both accepted Christ as Savior at an early age.
- Both have been baptized.
- Both go to church and religious functions.
- Both are in Christian school.
- They have a mother who’s a Christian writer, speaker, and president of a nonprofit organization teaching women to know God personally.
A person on the outside could easily think my children are spiritual giants just by association. The reality: if I’m not careful, they’re still prone to think and behave like the world around them rather than the God they are exposed to on a regular basis.
I don’t know about you – but I don’t want athletes and celebrities directing my children’s hearts. I WANT the Lord to have and direct their hearts. Without their hearts – we’re merely teaching our children to go through the motions of religion. The Bible calls this “honoring the Lord with our lips, while their hearts are far from Him,” Matthew 15:8.
Two primary ways to teach our children to know God personally are helping them to establish the most important lifelong habit we can give them and by living what we learn from this habit in our everyday life.
What is this habit? It’s helping them establish a daily time of Bible reading and prayer – I call it quiet time.
Most every morning, my children know where they can find me. Often, they’ll join me in my special area. I have coffee in hand and the Bible in my lap. Some mornings, they find me on my knees in prayer. Then they see me connecting the Word to everyday life. They see me honoring their father and making him my highest human priority. They see me making our home a priority. They see how I respond when someone cuts me off in traffic; they see how I respond when people I thought were my friends ignore me in social situations because of my faith when living your faith isn’t popular.
Please know, I am not a perfect mother, and I have NOT got it all figured out. But by God’s grace, there are days He allows me to see fruit.
Below are practical suggestions in helping your kids establish this most important lifelong habit:
1. Priority – make having a quiet time a priority each day. With my children – it’s either before school or before bedtime. For this season, before bedtime seems to be working.
2. Place – set up a cozy, comfy spot for your quiet time. I love sitting in a comfy chair away from the TV, computer, and from my phone. I also keep a small basket beside the comfy chair. In the basket, I put my Bible, Journal, devotionals, books, good writing pens, pencils and highlighters. (My daughter seems to really get it. Working with my son on this!)
3. Prayer – Always start your time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand the Word and how it connects to everyday life.
4. Persistence – Keep reading until suddenly a sentence jumps off the page addressing an issue you may have at school, with your parents, friends, etc…Ask yourself these questions: What do I learn about God in this passage? What do I learn about man? How does this relate to me?
Recently my 12-year-old daughter read 2 Timothy 1:7 in her quiet time. It says, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” She immediately thought of her soccer coach, who was scary to her. She came to me and said, “Mom, I’m going to memorize this and say it to myself when I go to practice. God doesn’t want me to fear him!”
This was Jesus talking personally to her!!! This was not a coincidence. This was the Holy Spirit helping her connect the Word to her soccer coach. This was Jesus, in all His glory, wrapping His strong, loving arms around my child speaking personally to her through His Word!
He’ll do the same for you and your children as you intentionally take the reins from the world and begin mentoring them in this most important habit. This habit will go with our children when they leave our homes. This habit will enable them to live in God’s perfect will. This habit will help them process life through a Biblical world view, and it will empower them, by God’s grace, to not conform to the patterns and customs of this world.
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