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“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart.” Matthew 13:18-19 (NIV)
“Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” Luke 8:12 (NIV)
In last week’s blog we discussed the first type of “crop failure” in The Parable of the Sower: the seed which fell on the path and was trampled and eaten by birds. We discussed the types of “birds” the enemy uses to steal the seed (God’s Word) from our children and how to stand against them. This week we will take a closer look at the meaning of the eaten seed. (read both Scriptures above)
Both accounts of the story as told by Matthew and Luke describe God’s Word penetrating into our children’s hearts, but there is a lack of full understanding before the enemy comes and takes it away.
The spiritual lesson here is that the Word of God was not fully understood, and the enemy used that ignorance as an opportunity to bring about confusion and doubt.
This very insightful verse makes us pause to consider, do our children really understand God’s Word? Do they understand the Word in the context in which it was written? Do they know how to apply the verses for themselves personally today? Have they heard bits and pieces of Scripture but not enough to get a big picture of God’s character and His sovereign perspective on our world? Or perhaps they hear God’s Word at Sunday school or even at their Christian school, but do they understand it well enough to defend it? Here is where the trouble lies.
As moms we need to not just read God’s Word with our children, but discuss what it means by inviting questions and allowing spiritual conversations to take place. The problem for most of us is not taking the time or knowing the resources to help guide us along the way with these discussions. We won’t know all the answers and that’s okay. Our children need to realize that on this side of Heaven we won’t have all the answers. But we can discuss the hard questions and wrestle through them with the help of God’s Word and other Biblical tools. Then our kids will understand enough to put their faith in God and His Word while remembering that human understanding is quite limited compared to God’s vast knowledge and wisdom.
Here are five ways to incorporate spiritual conversations into everyday life to help your children understand God’s Word.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your 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 doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV)
1. Meal Time
This is truly our favorite place to have spiritual conversations in our family.
At breakfast we typically do a character devotional together or talk about what God taught us in our quiet/devotional times that morning. Here are some good breakfast devotionals to check out:
Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments: This resource helps elementary and middle-school aged children understand God’s character and how to apply it to their lives.
Character Calendars: These calendars guide families with preschoolers through a character trait each month, what God’s Word says about it, and how to apply it.
During lunch after church, we often discuss what stood out to us in the sermon or our favorite part of kids church, or we discuss a spiritual question. Here are some good lunch devotionals to check out:
Talking Point Cards: These fun cards ask great spiritual questions to get your family discussing deep questions while eating a meal. These are great for older elementary through teens.
20 Questions to Get Your Kids Talking About Jesus: This freebie from my website provides questions to ask that will bring up spiritual conversations about Jesus. This one is great for preschool and elementary aged kids.
At dinner once a week we do a family devotional together. Here are some good dinner devotionals to check out.
Dinner Table Devotions: This is one of our favorites and brings up great theological insights from Scripture. Our family has learned so much from this devotional over the years! It works well for elementary through teens with questions geared for a variety of age levels.
Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: This book helps you answer difficult questions your kids may face in college such as “Does the Bible have errors and contradictions?” and “Do all religions point to the same truth?” It’s great to read through it and then discuss the questions with your middle and highschoolers over dinner.
2. Car Time
Car time can also be a time to memorize verses and talk about what they mean.
Listen to Christian music and discuss what the lyrics mean and if their message is found in Scripture.
Read a Christian chapter book together and discuss what Scripture is found in the books and how the stories and verses relate to your own lives.
3. Bed Time
Nightly prayers are a great way to end the day by thanking God for His blessings and lifting up our concerns to Him! Kids often process more when they are going to bed (or it’s a stall tactic to stay up later). Regardless, it’s a great time to talk about spiritual things and pray for them.
Family movie night is another great way to encourage our kids spiritually when we pick movies with this in mind! Some favorites are Owlgories for young ones, Buck Denver’s What’s In the Bible, Missionary Series, and for older kids The Chosen series. After watching the movie, discuss what you learned and how it relates to God’s Word and their lives. To read more on Christian movies, click here.
5. Throughout the Day
When questions arise throughout the day, try to answer them through the lens of God’s Word. For example, when you see a billboard that says “Love is love,” or “My body, my choice,” talk about what the culture means by those words and contrast it with what God’s Word says about those topics if you feel your kids are at an appropriate age to have that discussion. Spiritual conversations throughout the day will not only teach your kids God’s truth but deepen their understanding of God’s Word and how it relates to the culture around them.
When we focus on intentionally teaching our kids God’s truths in different ways and continue an open dialog about God’s Word and how it relates to our lives, we are helping our children understand the Bible in a deeper way. This understanding is like planting the seeds of God’s Word in good soil rather than on the path where it could easily be eaten by birds. Their faith will begin to grow and deepen, and we won’t run as much risk of the enemy being able to steal away what was planted.