Articles

Family Matters

by Abi Byrd

Every loving parent spends their life running just to keep up (or catch up!). There’s so much to do. Providing opportunities for our children (and then driving to and from them); working to put food on the table; organizing, booking, packing for holidays; the list goes on... and on.

And in all this busy-ness, the business of bringing our children up to know the God who made them is often what gets squeezed out.

But the Bible makes it clear that introducing children to God is a must-do for parents.

“Be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen, or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children, and to their children after them” Deuteronomy 4v9

God gives us the responsibility of showing and telling our children what is true about Him: that He’s real, that He’s amazing and that He deserves to be the most important Person in our lives.

It’s worth asking ourselves:

  • Have I filled my children’s lives so full with good things that we never have time together to talk about the best thing — Jesus Christ?
  • Do we ever talk about God in an informal way, as we walk along, or watch TV, or travel in the car?
  • Is faith in Christ something that is an everyday part of family life, or is it in reality reserved for Sunday mornings?
  • Am I living my life for Christ and is that obvious to my children?
  • What do I most want for the children God has given me — a great career, a loving spouse and family, an exciting life... or faith in Jesus?

We may not like our honest answers! So it’s wonderful to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who saves, and not us. We will never be perfect Christian parents — we will always need to ask God to lovingly use our efforts and work wonders in our children’s hearts.

It’s never too late to make a change... to reorder the priorities of your heart, and of your family’s life... to “be careful” to put God at the centre of everything.

How might we do this? Some tips:

Read the Bible as a family
Look at your typical weekly schedule and see where the most obvious opportunities are to spend time looking at God’s word as a family. If there is no time, have you made life too full? Does something need dropping so God is the priority?

While reading God’s word should never become routine, it’s wise to try using a routine to help you. Every family is different—work out what’s best for you, and then stick to it.s for families with children aged 4 to 11. Clear, Christ-centered, with great activities.

Even having done that, sitting down to look at the Bible with your children can be quite a daunting prospect! Grab some helpful resources, which get families into the Bible in a relevant, informal, fun and age-appropriate way.

Let God’s word shape your words
Young children spend a lot of time asking “Why?” And sometimes, often in the most unpredictable of situations, parents of teenagers find themselves in deep discussions with their children.

Make sure God has a part in those conversations! Pray to Him as you talk, asking Him for wisdom. Whenever you can, encourage your children to think about what God says. By doing this, you’re modeling to them how to deal with the issues they face in life; and you’re giving them great answers!

Mix it up
Make your Bible times fun—teach the books of the Bible in a way that is engaging, sing hymns and worship songs together, talk about real-life issues you are all facing and see how the Bible speaks to that. Have a family prayer journal where you can record prayer requests and see how the Lord answers them over time.

Talk as a family about your family Bible times.
Children grow up more quickly than we would like to think! Keep talking about your family Bible times, and whether they are still working successfully or not. Be humble enough to admit when you need to make changes to keep them engaging and enjoyable.

Pray without ceasing!
We need God’s help — and so do our children! However busy your day is, always make time to pray for your family.

Enjoy family Bible times with Table Talk

Notes for pre-school children: Beginning with God