In a world packed with parenting books, pop psychology and conflicting cultural messages, the Bible’s instructions for us are strikingly simple: tell them about the Lord, about His ways and about His Gospel.
As mothers, we need to intentionally pour the Word of God into our children and teach them to obey it. This, in a nutshell, is discipleship.
It’s much more than just taking your kids to church on Sunday. It means that you’re making the Bible an integral part of their daily lives. It’s actively teaching, correcting, and modeling with God’s Word, in a loving way.
Since the beginning of his life, you’ve been teaching your child how to do all sorts of different things. He’s depended on your instruction from everything to eating with utensils, to using the potty. He has been trained by you, through certain discipline, to obey rules.
Likewise, he needs to be taught how to follow Jesus. Your children may decide to accept Christ as their Savior after you talk to them about salvation, but they still need to learn what the Christian life looks like.
They need to know what the Scriptures actually say in order to obey everything Jesus commanded.
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) doesn’t just apply to those on the foreign mission field or in full-time ministry. Us mamas can make disciples of our kids. In fact, that’s one of the most important ways God’s Kingdom grows!
You have been in both relationship and communication with your child in the home, so you are best fitted to take relevant verses and apply them to his or her particular situation. This cannot be done by a Sunday school teacher or youth pastor who only sees your child for an hour or two each week.
Here are some ways that you can intentionally disciple your kids, and encourage them in their Christian walk:
Apply verses to their behavior
Chances are, your children present you with multiple opportunities each and every day to share the Gospel with them. Whenever they misbehave, display less than desirable character traits or express frustration and disappointment, you can use the Scriptures to teach their hearts to obey God.
The best way to do that is to draw out an exhortation from the text in order to correct them in some area and lead them to repentance. This is how you teach as you “walk by the way” (Deut. 6:7).
If your children have been exhibiting laziness in their chores or school work, you could use a verse such as Proverbs 6:6 to show how being slothful affects our physical and spiritual life. Use the example of the diligent little ants that the Scripture describes to point out that nobody is telling them to make the bed or do their school work. Then, take a moment to encourage your kids to confess this sin and ask for God’s forgiveness.
This is how you regularly, naturally integrate biblical teaching into your daily routines with your children. The Bible also becomes relevant to their everyday lives this way!
Study a Children’s Catechism together
This is a more formal way of teaching biblical truth where the Word is “written on the doorposts and gates” (Deut. 6:9). Catechisms are basically a summary of the teachings of God’s Word. They help ground children and adults in theological truths and doctrine.
A great one for younger children is Leading Little Ones To God or The Ology. With older kids, you may want to use the Westminster Shorter Catechism. We don’t want our kids leaving home with giant gaps in their understanding of biblical truths so they are then susceptible to “every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men” (Ephesians 4:14).
Teach them to memorize scripture
Memorizing verses will help your children think about, or meditate on, God’s teachings. Memorization just for the sake of memorization doesn’t do much good, but when you encourage your child to hide the Word in his heart, it pays out great spiritual dividends.
As they memorize Scripture, your kids are much better prepared to recognize lies from truth and apply the Word themselves to their circumstances.
Some good ways to have them commit verses to memory is with music! My kids love singing along to verses that have been put in a catchy song. It’s also extremely beneficial for them to copy (write out) Bible passages. In these ways, their hearts and minds are filled with God’s Word continually.
Emphasize the importance of wisdom
Proverbs 4:8-9 says this about wisdom: “Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.” The benefits of seeking out and applying godly wisdom are incredible!
It helps us discern good from evil and leads us towards right living so we avoid certain potential dangers. The book of Proverbs, which is chock full of wisdom, addresses subjects like purity, marriage, work, education, finances, justice, choosing friends, and more.
One of our primary responsibilities as parents is to show our children the contrast between being wise and being foolish.
We have been tasked with guiding them away from pitfalls and towards the path of righteousness. Let’s not be so focused on investing in material things for our kids rather than the precious, everlasting investment of wisdom.
We’ve been given the primary responsibility of discipling our children. Church is a wonderful supplement to what we as mothers can do in the home, but it should never be relied on as the sole source of discipleship.
Getting the scriptures into both their hearts and mouths on a daily basis is imperative. How can God’s Word become their worldview if they don’t know it? How can it affect their lives to change them into the image of Christ if they don’t know it?
And, if we don’t teach our children to follow Jesus, the world will teach them not to. Without a depth of training in Scripture, they’ll go the way of culture.
Discipleship is one of the ways you can be sure that you are passing on godly values to your kids in an intentional way. As parents our first priority is to disciple our little ones, to prepare them to stand firm on truth in a world crowded with lies.