Making God's Word Prominent in Our Homes
Recently, our youngest (adopted internationally 18 months ago), answered a question in a class at church. The teacher said, “How do we hear God?” He raised his hand and proudly and loudly answered “we hear God by reading the Bible!” His teacher shared this with me later as an encouragement that our son is listening and learning and taking in all of the overwhelming amounts of information that have been thrown at him in the last year and a half in his second language. He is learning at home and at church (thanks to lots of leaders who are patiently investing in him every week) about this Great Big God and His Great Big Story. Our kids are like sponges. Even when we think they aren’t paying attention, they are soaking in all of the things that are around them every day. In 2016, LifeWay conducted a survey with parents of grown children who had raised those children in the church. The survey set out to answer the question “What can I as a parent do to most highly influence my children to become spiritually healthy adults?” With staggering results, the number 1 most positive influence (for kids who had grown up in the church and were still believing the truth of the Gospel and living out their faith) was regularly reading the Bible.
So, what does this mean for our homes and how should it affect the culture of our families?
This summer in our children’s ministry, our kids were given a Bible Reading Plan that went through Psalm 119, a study on God’s Word and why it is so important. I think this chapter in Psalms gives us a good place to start.
-God’s Word needs to be in our hearts and minds- Psalm 119:11 says “I have treasured your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.” We believe firmly that hiding His Word in our hearts is one of our best tools for fighting the enemy and our best way to always have the Bible with us to guide our paths. So, we memorize Scripture, and we help our children memorize Scripture. We recognize how easily they can learn things at a young age, and so we listen to songs of Scripture and we use repetition, so His Word is filling up their days and minds. We memorize with them, so they see that learning His Word and loving His Word is a lifelong journey. We talk about the Gospel in our homes, along the way, when we rise, and when we wake (Deuteronomy 6). Sally Clarkson says that “in the absence of Biblical conviction, people go the way of culture.” So we start early and intentionally sharing big truths of the Bible because we want theology to be set firmly within them so as they face the world they will not sway.
-God’s Word needs to be in our hands and in our vision. Psalm 119:18 says “Open my eyes that I may contemplate wondrous things from your instruction.” We help our children see the importance of the Bible by constantly having it in our laps, in our hands, on our walls, on our table, in our sight. From the earliest of ages, they are learning what’s important by what they see us doing, what they see us holding, what they see us displaying, what they see us coming back to day after day. So, we have the Word in front of us alone each morning, letting it be our guiding force. We start the day begging God to let them see us modeling what they see us reading. We have the Word in front us each day together, spending time as a family holding this gift and reading aloud its treasures. We end our day begging God to give us excitement for His Word and to let His love story change our family from the inside out. We teach our children how to read and study and apply God’s Word for themselves. We teach them to ask questions and we help search for answers so that eventually they are standing on their own faith and not ours. We show them that through our knowledge of Him and because of His divine power we have been given everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)
-God’s Word needs to be on our mouths and in our ears. Psalm 119:171 says “My lips pour out praise, for you teach me your statues.” We spend our days proclaiming praises for our powerful God. The more we learn about Him through His Word, the easier it is to spend our days sharing with our kids His mighty works. We also use His Word (as 2 Timothy 3 tells us) “for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness.” When our children mess up, we show them what the Scriptures say and how our desire is for our family to live the way His Word says to. And when our children mess up again (as they will), we also use His Word to show them that His grace is boundless and His mercies are new every morning. When their parents mess up again (and again as we will), we show them how His Word tells us of our need to repent and ask for forgiveness, and we model this for them. We read the Word to them and we teach them the stories of the Bible. We tell them how all the small stories make up One Big Story of God’s great plan for redemption for His people and the glory of His name. When our children hear us speak His Word aloud in our day-to-day tasks, they realize that knowing His Word is important and that His truth can be applied to all aspects of our lives.
We intentionally make His Word prominent in our homes because we know the entirety of His Word is true (Psalm 119:160) and that, therefore, it needs to guide them and it needs to guide us. We intentionally make His Word prominent in our homes because we want it to change the lives of our kids, but we know we need it to first change us as parents. We intentionally make His Word prominent in our homes because we know that while the Bible can give us answers on how to live, above all it shows us the Sovereignty of the One we need to live for. So, we pray that we won’t just know God’s Word but that we will know the God Who wrote it and that by drawing near to the One Who penned the book, it will change our hearts and our minds, our hands and our vision, our mouths and our ears for the sake of His kingdom and His glory.