In Deuteronomy 6:5-7 we are reminded that we cannot teach what we don’t know. We are told first, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (5), and then we are instructed to teach God’s Word diligently to our children (7). You cannot teach your children (or friends, or co-workers, or others you have opportunity to disciple) to love what you do not love yourself.
Not only are we to know and love the gospel of Jesus Christ ourselves in order to teach it, we must be living it in order to share it effectively. Notice how the psalmist inculcates this into daily life and ministry, specifically and especially in the home. Speaking of God’s words and wisdom, he affirms in Psalm 78:4: “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”
You cannot teach your children (or friends, or co-workers, or others you have opportunity to disciple) to love what you do not love yourself.
How much public worship takes place in your home during an average weekday? How often do you talk with your children about specific reasons God is worthy of praise? Do you consciously and consistently ground your children in the confidence that God is sovereign in every detail of life, is powerful and able to provide for even our deepest needs, greatest challenges, most unexpected trials? Do you draw regularly and joyfully from the wells of salvation in order to refresh your children’s souls with an eternal perspective?
This doesn’t come naturally for any of us, which is why it will require diligent, determined, disciplined focus on our part. Yet it is worth all the effort, not only for our own sake, but for the sake of those we disciple. Because the greatest blessing of teaching others the fear of the Lord, is that they come to have a reverent awe of God!
The great reward of showing others how to praise the Lord, trust in his strength, and rejoice in his wonderful works, is when they (and perhaps their children and grandchildren) come to praise the Lord, trust in his strength, and rejoice in the salvation found in Jesus alone.
(For further meditation on Psalm 78, get the free ebook That They May Set Their Hope In God)