For the last nine months or so, I’ve been deliberately praying about and working on a long term goal: Help my children learn how to walk with God. Sounds a little ambitious, huh? But God equips us for good works, and I’m working gradually, not super organized or intense about what I’m trying to accomplish. Look at some of the verses I’ve been noticing about teaching and learning God’s ways. This is what has been inspiring me.
- Teach us to pray. (Luke 11:1)
- Teach us to fear the Lord. (Psalm 34:11)
- Teach us to examine our hearts. (Psalm 90:12)
- Teach us to walk in the spirit. (Psalm 25:5)
- Teach us to ask forgiveness and make things right with God. (Psalm 51:6, 11)
- Teach us to read and understand our Bible. (Nehemiah 8:8)
This week I am attempting to help them examine their hearts.
Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? “Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?
It’s not the greatest passage about examining your own heart, but since it was in our normal Bible reading, we talked about it. My children were fascinated with the description of predicting the weather, and understood the connection between observing how the weather worked, and studying their own hearts.
So I asked, in the same pattern as I’ve asked before, “How does this work? How do we examine our hearts?” Not surprising, they weren’t exactly sure. So I gave them a situation and asked how they could examine their heart in that situation.
“Let’s say you just read Ephesians 6:1. What questions can you ask yourself after you read it?” They came up with the first two, and I added the next two.
- Do I obey my parents?
- Did I obey my parents today?
- What might be a challenge to obey later on today?
- When is it the hardest to obey my mom?
They all shared when they had the hardest time obeying. That’s when I told them that they were examining their hearts. I think they were surprised to know that’s what they were doing.
To wrap it up, I asked them what they should do after they examine their heart. We turned our thoughts into prayers. “Help me to obey when….” Maybe another day we’ll talk about the relationship between examining our hearts and acting on what we see (James 1:22-25).
Of course, whenever I talk about the things my children should be doing, I am challenged to pay attention to what I am doing as well. Am I examining my heart as I should? Am I actually making quiet time to reflect? I have found it helpful to talk about what it looks like to walk with God. It’s good for me, and it’s good for them.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4