When my kids were small faith was easy. Take them to church, read the Bible together, memorize Scripture for candy and ta-da… good little Christian children. When kids become teenagers however, I’m learning faith is not as easy. I have tried to incentivize, nag and guilt them to read their Bible. I have tried to set a good example in reading it myself and more recently I have prayed almost daily for God to give them a desire to read their Bibles. How’s that all been going? Not so well. Nonetheless, God challenged me this weekend with a reminder I already knew but did not want to put into practice for fear of condemnation, mockery and failure (again).
I have often told my children (and try to remind myself) that I am not always going to be around to patrol, police, remind and chastise. They, like me, ultimately answer to the Lord. The Bible says we will give an account before God for everything we do (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Cor. 5:10). The Holy Spirit reminded me this weekend that that goes for me too. Although it is appropriate and necessary for me to pray God will give my kids a hunger for His Word, I will give an account someday for how I raised them. I drive them to every sporting event, practice and camp under the sun. I take them to friends’ houses, to music lessons and I talk to them about drugs, sex and rock and roll. What am I doing to help them know the Book I have made the foundation of my life and I desire for them to do as well? Can I stand in front of God and tell Him that I put as much energy into helping them know Him as I have helping them learn to box out or play that chord?
One of the things I taught the women in my boring Bible study last month (see blog, Yeah, I Believe in Evolution) is S.O.A.P. It is my modified version of reading the Bible in about 5 – 7 minutes and honing in on one word or phrase to carry with you all day long. It has been so life changing for me that I couldn’t wait to share it with the women, but my family? My husband? My teenagers who already roll their eyes at me every five minutes? “I’m sorry, Lord. I know I could have done more, but I could not stand under the weight of their complaining, taunting and judgmental glances.” Really? So Saturday, I asked them if I could teach them to S.O.A.P. Will it stick? I don’t know. Was it pretty? Not so much. But I was asked to be obedient in teaching them something, not to be worried about the results. That’s God’s part.
“Dear God, thank you for my family and the reminder that they are a gift from you. Thank you for prompting me to do my part in helping us be in your Word to find real hope, lasting peace and wisdom and perspective beyond ourselves. Please continue to grow our desire to know you better. I know I cannot make my family read the Bible but with your help, I can be obedient to what I CAN do to encourage them in their faith. In Your Name, Amen.”