Teaching Children To Obey The Word Of God
By Kim Butts
"Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does" (Jas. 1:22-25).
If we do not do what the Word of God says, we run the risk of being deceived by the enemy, and forgetting what we look like. We are made in the image of God – and we are to look like Him. Are your children learning to do the Word of God so that they look like Jesus, or do they look like the culture in which they live? Everything we do and say needs to be a reflection of Jesus Christ. If we do not reflect Christ, we cannot expect others to be interested in who Jesus is.
Teach your children to "self-monitor" their behavior. Help them to quickly assess everything they do and say by asking the question: "Would Jesus have said that?" or, "Would Jesus have done that?" If they cannot answer "Yes" to these questions, you may need to help them decide how they should have responded instead, and how they can correct the situation. A good passage for this teaching is Matthew 7:24-27 about the wise and foolish men: "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." After reading this story with your children, ask them if they want to be like the wise man or the foolish man. Help them to carefully decide if what they are about to do or say is wise or foolish.
Remember, this is very difficult for children to do. Young children, especially, will make many foolish decisions, thinking they are wise ones. However, continually and patiently helping them to become aware of wise decisions, and how they reflect Jesus, will gradually result in better awareness of who they are in Him, and who He is in them! Be sure that you apply Colossians 3:16 to yourself along with teaching young ones: "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." Never forget that your children are watching you to see if you are doing what you are asking them to do.
It is very important to pray for our children to be obedient to God’s Word. It is also vital to teach our children to pray for themselves that the Word of God will dwell richly in them. Here are some powerful Scriptures to use in prayer. Teach your children to pray Scripture into their own lives! It is always God’s will for them, because it is HIS Word!
"I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your Word" (Psa. 119:101). Example: "Lord, help me to keep my feet from every evil thing so that I may obey Your Word."
"I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You" (Psa. 119:11). Gracious Heavenly Father, help me to hide Your Word in my heart so that I will know how to keep from sinning against You.
"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psa. 119:105). Holy God, I want to obey Your Word, so would You cause Your Word to be a light to my feet and a light for my path as I walk through each day?
On a regular basis gather your family together and read the passage from James 1:22-25 and ask, "What do we look like?" Have each child and parent quietly discern whether or not he or she looks like Jesus by examining how obedient each has been to God’s Word. Give some opportunity for quiet prayer, and then pray for one another to be faithful do-ers of the Word. You will need to continually reinforce what has been learned, and be an encourager. Continue to pray that you will all follow the Word and be a pure reflection of Jesus.