Today we will discuss the last of the four lifetime gifts that are important to give our children throughout the whole year and not just at Christmas. We’ve discussed the importance of giving them Salvation, Security and Discipline. Today we will talk about giving our children the gift of Discipleship.
Jesus calls each of us to be disciples, or followers and imitators of Christ.
He tells us “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40 (ESV)
As disciples of Christ we are meant to become more and more like Jesus as we grower deeper and surrender more to His commands.
Along with following the example and teachings of Jesus, we must also share these things with others as we help them grow as disciples. This is called discipleship- helping someone grow in their relationship with the Lord.
Matthew 28:19-20 is a very familiar verse when discussing discipleship and sharing the gospel with others.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus told His disciples to go and make more disciples. This does not only apply to strangers or people we meet at church. This also applies to our children! In fact, as parents, our children should be a priority in discipling.
In Deuteronomy 6:5-9, we see that the Israelites were instructed with this same idea. God said to His people through Moses:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
This verse suggests this process at home is ongoing, not just at specific and set times, but throughout the days and weeks as you ‘do life’ together. This implies that we must spend time with our children, discussing life and what they are facing and turning it to discussions on how the Lord would have us handle those situations.
Part of discipleship is learning the Word, and how to study the Word so that we know what God says – or at least how to find out what God says about different parts of life- so that we can know truth and identify lies. In todays culture, this is becoming more and more important, and much more difficult. We have so much ‘knowledge’ available at our fingertips (literally) on hundreds of websites with blogs, study tools, etc. The problem is we must know how to check this wealth of information against what the Word says so we can differentiate between truth and lies.
One important fact we cannot overlook is this: We cannot give others what we do not have.
When we apply this fact to discipling our children, we see that we must be constantly and consistently seeking the Lord, studying His Word, and growing in faith and obedience if we want to also teach these things to our children.
The old saying ‘Do what I say, not as I do’ is not a good rule to live by. We must live and teach by example. And the example we should be asking our children to follow is the same example we should be following: The example of Christ. Studying His life through scripture is the only way to know for sure how we are to live.
This is what we must do for our own walk, and what we must teach our children to do in their walk as well!
Giving our children the Gift of Discipleship will not only be a joy as we spend time together, but will be a blessing as we watch them grow closer to the Lord and become more and more like Jesus!