Christians Gathered and Sharing Theirs Lives Together

A daily devotion for April 12th

Where to Start

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

Deuteronomy 6:6

It is no surprise that this passage tells us where to begin. The place to start is with the parents: These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. This is the place to start — not with your children, with you. And right at this very point many Christian homes go astray. The moment a child appears in their family, a lot of parents succumb to the temptation to live for their children. But this tells us that we must not do that. Marriage is not brought about in order to raise children. Marriage occurs so that two people might learn how to relate to one another and to be persons as God intended persons to be. The key to marriage and to a successful home is that parents must realize that children are only there temporarily, that after they are gone the father and mother remain, and that the factor which heals and holds that home together is that they themselves become what God wants. There is great wisdom in this passage. It is teaching us that parents do not exist for their children; they exist to be people before God, first of all.

Years ago here in this church our women's group was called, The Joy Circle. The name derived from the acrostic, J-O-Y, which spelled out, Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. That sounds very pious, but it is a lie! The Scriptures never reflect that relationship. It sounds good, but it isn't; it is destructive, and will destroy a home. The relationship taught by the Scriptures is reflected here in Deuteronomy. It is God first, yourself next, and others third. You cannot relate to others until you have learned how to relate to God yourself. To put it another way, you will treat others exactly the way you regard yourself. Therefore, if you don't have any respect for yourself, if you haven't learned to be a person and to understand the responsibilities and privileges of personhood before God yourself, you cannot treat anybody else as a person — including your own children.

When you look at the Bible you find that children are not prominent at all. Children are always in the background. They are never trotted out and paraded before you as examples of what the home is existing in order to produce. They are treated as young people being trained to move into and to live in an adult world. And unless, in their own parents, they have a picture of the adult world as it ought to be, they can grow up into the adult arena only with great difficulty, or not at all.

This is why it is so important that children have a good model to follow. Every parent knows that children will follow models and not words. You can say till you're blue in the face, Do this. But if you don't do it, your child won't either. They will live with us in the same way we live with them. If we don't have any regard for our own development, our own relationship as husband and wife, and if care is not taken to see that we develop our own intellect, our own mind, and emotions as God has implanted them within us, and that we fulfill our talents, etc., our children will not do so either. We must start there.

Father, thank you for the wisdom which is here in this Word. I pray that I will keep my mind and heart open to the teaching of your Spirit, that I might be an example to those you have put into my care. Amen.

Life Application

Have I allowed the word of God to penetrate my heart so that I can be an example to those in my home?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Parents Are People

Listen to Ray