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As Christian parents, if we know from heart the greatest commandment, then we understand that the most important thing we can teach our kids is to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, as Jesus teaches.
But do our actions as moms and dads reflect that on a daily basis?
Sadly, the reality oftentimes is no. Due to the distractions of life, we often don’t keep the MAIN THING the MAIN THING. Why is this the case?
BUSYNESS…COMPLACENCY… and IDOLATRY are three common culprits.
So HOW CAN WE keep “LOVING GOD” the number one thing in our families? God gives us some answers in Deuteronomy 6:5-15.
1. Model loving God with OUR whole hearts!
“Love the Lord your God with all YOUR heart and with all YOUR soul and with all YOUR strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on YOUR hearts.” Deuteronomy 6:5
We are our children’s NUMBER ONE INFLUENCE, and if WE aren’t loving God with OUR WHOLE HEART, then how can we expect our kids to do so?
How DO we love God with our whole hearts?
We PRIORITIZE Him.
We wake up every morning and SPEND TIME with Him.
We ASK Him to speak to our hearts and draw us closer to HIM through His Word and prayer.
We WORSHIP Him through our actions and praise.
When we get a nudge from the Holy Spirit, we OBEY Him!
No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, it’s okay, none of us perfectly love God with all our hearts. It’s a journey for us all! However, if you are earnestly SEEKING to love God with your whole heart and demonstrate that by your words and actions, then God will honor that. Our kids need to see an AUTHENTIC example not a PERFECT example of loving God wholeheartedly.
2. Impress “loving God” onto our children’s hearts.
“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deut. 6:7-9 (NIV)
The next way to encourage our kids to love God is to impress this truth of “loving God” on our children’s hearts each day. The more amazing they know He is, the more they will fall in love with Him!
Here are a few practical ideas:
Talk about God and Jesus throughout the day in natural ways, such as thanking God for nice weather to enjoy the outdoors or asking Jesus for help on a day filled with trials.
Encourage devotion/quiet times throughout the week. There are many ways to do this, depending on the age of your children. When our children were preschool age, we read stories from a Children’s Bible and asked them questions with puppets, an idea we learned from another family.
As they have gotten older, we have done boys devotions and girls devotions with them individually and encouraged them to spend time on their own with God each day. Some nights for dinner we have family devotions as well. The devotions bring up great topics of discussion about God, and we are able to discuss truths and apply them to their world. Follow the links for some great reviews and links to Amazon!
3. Be careful the things of the world don’t take the place of God.
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers..—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide…—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord..Fear the Lord your God, serve him only..Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God.” Deut. 6:10-15 NIV
These last verses warn the Israelites AND US that while God gives us good things to enjoy and satisfy us, they are not to take the place of God in our hearts. God is jealous for us to love HIM first because we were CREATED to love Him first. If we don’t put Him FIRST, our lives will get all out of whack.
So how can we teach our kids to love God first amidst the other pleasures of this world?
Find Godly substitutions for the worldly enjoyments.
Kids LOVE entertainment, and ideas from movies, songs, and books can fill up their little hearts and get them more excited about things like princesses and superheroes than Jesus. One way we can keep the focus more on Jesus is to find books, movies, and songs that esteem God and His ways rather than other things. Here are a few movie subscriptions you may be interested in.
Minno Kids is a streaming video service full of Christian shows such as VeggieTales, Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible?, and Hillsong Kids. Our kids throughly enjoy the shows!
Owlegories are precious videos for little ones that teach truths about God’s word in clear, repetitive language, so they can more easily soak up the truths. They can be found on Jellytelly OR their website here.
Pureflix is another great streaming video service with great movies for all ages, including teens and parents.
Christian Media has a subscription that allows you the option to pay just per show if you don’t want to get a monthly subscription.
As for books and songs, I will be reviewing some of the best ones to encourage kids in their faith, so you will be able to find them under my resource tab by age in the coming months.
Enjoy God’s gifts in this world, but remind them that HE is the only one who fills us up completely.
Finally, remember that it is okay and even good to enjoy the things God has given us! Just remind your children that although things like entertainment are fun, only GOD can love us and fill us up completely, and He deserves ALL of our adoration.
For another fun way to teach this concept of loving God with all your heart to your kids, read my blog, Teaching Kids to Love God with All Their Heart.