When I was in elementary school I thought it would be cool to join the band. So I signed up to learn the trumpet. I thought I could get away with practicing the night before my lesson and my music teacher wouldn’t notice the difference (like a lot of people do with flossing before going to the dentist).
After a couple of months of this my music teacher “suggested” I try another instrument that might be a better fit. I decided on the drums. My mom and I had a pretty frank talk about how I either needed to start practicing like my teacher asked or I needed to start paying for the lessons myself. So I decided to give practicing a shot, wondering if my teacher would even notice the difference.
The more I put into it the more he would tell me how great I was doing, the more comfortable I felt about playing in front of others, and the better I got at it. Now that I’m a parent this is a great reminder for me of how discipleship works best with my kids. You see, it’s not enough for me to just bring my kids to church on the weekend, talk about the Bible story on the drive home, and think that’s enough.
If I want my kids to make God part of their everyday life I need to talk with them about God every day.
Moses, the first leader of the nation of Israel, says it this way:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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. 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.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (NIV)
Basically what Moses is saying is to talk about God and what he has taught you with your kids as often as you can. Pray together as a family before the start of the day. When you take walks or drives together talk about what you and they learned at church or in a quiet time or about the questions you and they have about the Bible. During meals really thank God for what He has provided instead of using the same old prayer your grandmother taught you. And before you kids go to sleep, pray with them about the things that are important.
It’s easy to let our talks about God end after the weekend. But that’s not discipleship.
Discipleship is about making God part of each day, not just Sunday. You don’t have to have a 1 hour family devotional every night or fast once a week. Just use the normal time you have together to talk about God in normal ways.
That’s what discipling your kids is all about.