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A Golden Rule for Parents

When I was a new Christian I was a new mom as well. I was full of questions about how to teach my little one’s about the Lord, whom I had only just discovered as an adult. I Was amazed when my eyes landed on Deuteronomy 6:5-7! God was actually showing me His guidelines for raising my own little daughters. And in only three verses! How practical is that? Here’s what I read over and over again and finally memorized:

“You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them…”

I adore these verses because they are packed with clear communication to parents. God goes straight to the heart of the matter—the parent’s heart. Before telling us how to teach our children, He tells us that we must love Him first. This is because He knows that we become what we love. So He is utterly straightforward about where we are to place our love: We are to love Him supremely.

We “love” a lot of things for a lot of different reasons. But God prescribes perimeters and scope for our love. He tells us what not to love: “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). And He tells us in Deuteronomy 6 what we are to love and where our love is to be focused — we are to “love the lord” (verse 5).

But hold on. The Lord goes a step further and demands all of our love. He wants us to love Him with every fiber of our being — every breath, every ounce of energy, every thought, every emotion and passion, every choice. He wants us to love Him. He wants us to think first of Him and to desire above all else to please Him. And He wants that love to be intense and total.

Now, apply this information about the strength of this kind of love for God and think about the love you have for your children. I’m sure you’ve heard others say, “There is no love like a parent’s love.” And it’s true! From the split second parents know that a baby is on the way, all our thoughts, dreams, prayers, and goals are channeled toward that little one. We are completely consumed and preoccupied by this tiny being.

But as much as we focus on an approaching child, God wants us to obsess and focus even more on Him. That’s because the more we love Him, the more we will know about love. And the more we know about love, the more we will know about how to love. And the more we know about how to love, the more we will love our children.

If you are a sold-out, on-fire, hot-hearted, committed-to-God Christian, you will be infinitely further down the road to being the kind of parent who, by His grace, can raise a son or daughter after God’s own heart. Because all your love centers upon God, and because you follow Him with all your heart, you will qualify to lead your children to follow God too!

Question: How does the one command to “love the lord God with all your heart” simplify the many parenting concerns that you might have?

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Read A Golden Rule for Parents on Elizabeth & Jim George.

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