I really enjoyed reading the Bible with Dad today.My son, age nine
It wasn’t planned. My husband and I were discussing the Something in the Bible (as we often do) and he decided to open up the passage and take a closer look. I don’t really remember what exactly we were reading (I think we were somewhere in Isaiah). I don’t think it mattered to my son.
I can remember the room getting quiet as Daddy read the sweet words of God from those beloved pages. I can remember my son’s argumentative demeanor transforming. What began as a simple explanation to me about something in the text had turned into a family study. He listened, asked questions, and absorbed. He was soaking up the Living Word like a sponge.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
And Those Words, Hours Later, Were Proof of Something Profound.
Those words should bring one joy. But him saying that sweet little sentence was sting to my heart. I had let our morning devotions slide. I was still reading with them as we always had, but nothing was planned. I was doing the minimum to check it off the list. We were more and more frequently passing over this “task”. Sometimes I would have them read the Bible for themselves “instead”.
What led me here? How did I stray so seemingly easily from something I know to be truth and have even seen fruit from?
Family Bible Time is So Much More!
As I thought about my son’s words that evening I began to realize I had let my priorities shift. I knew the importance of studying the Bible with my children. To some degree I could even say it was subconscious. I let time and other worries get the better of me.
“God has called you to a more profound task than being a care-provider. You shepherd your child in God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking, or resting, you must be involved in helping your child understand life, himself, and his needs from a biblical perspective.Tedd Tripp, author of “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”
But it Was Also Conscious.
I had used my children’s attitudes on harder mornings to justify skipping this time for the sake of ease. What I hadn’t recognized, is that the small amount of grumbling usually goes away once the passages have been read and discussed. If there was no family Bible time however, there was no telling when the end of the “bad day” was. Bickering had increased, selfishness, and lying had increased. I was suddenly able to point it all back to one root cause.
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted [hthe kindness of the Lord.1 Peter 2:1-3
I had also used my children’s growing reading and comprehension abilities as an excuse to exclude us all from a quality communion with God. Don’t get me wrong, they should be reading on their own, but not at the expense of reading with Mom and Dad. This time teaches them how to have a relationship with God on their own. It also builds our relationship with each other on more than just an intellectual level. When we get to know each other in Christ, we grow to love each other as He would love.
My son has always craved structure. He has always needed something he could hold onto and count on. I hadn’t realized until these words were said that he had gotten most of the foundation he needed from being consistently, regularly, and heavily filled with the passages of scripture.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Moving forward, I had a few things to address God with in prayer:
- I had to thank Him for showing me in such a low- priced way. Had the light bulb not come on til later, the price tag may have been way higher.
- I had to thank Him for my son’s recognition of what was going on. He may fold his arms in a huff every now and then when he’s tempted away, but he knows on some level that it is good for him and that he is feeding his soul.
- I had to thank Him that I have such a strong leader for our family. One who challenges me daily to learn new things from the Bible. Things to share with my children, and even things for my children to overhear.
- I had to repent. I knew letting this precious time slide was no solution, but I had allowed my justifications of the situation to cloud my knowledge of God’s calling and will for our family.
I want better for my children.
I want them to understand that no matter what gets added to the schedule, no matter what changes in our day to day lives that meditation on God’s word is our first priority. I want them to know that no matter how old they are or how many ups and downs there are, that Mom and Dad are always willing and happy to open the Bible and rejoice increasingly with them in His character, His love, and His life. I long to see their relationship with God blossom into something that spreads through every relationship that they have.