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Obedience is an important, yet difficult concept that all children have to learn. While it may seem to come easier to some children than to others, at some point or another all children will have issues with disobedience. Proverbs 22:6 says to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Our goal in parenting, in raising children, is ultimately to raise godly people who desire to love and serve the Lord with all their heart. So how do we do that?
First, we need to know why we require obedience at all. We have rules because we were created in the image of God and He is a God of order and not chaos. God has a set of rules that we, His creation, must follow.
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Christ showed us obedience as He submitted Himself to the cross (Philippians 2:8). God has set a natural order to creation by placing the parents as head over the children. As image-bearers, we give our children rules that they must obey as part of the family unit. It is through learning to obey their parents, that children, in turn, learn to obey God.
How do we decide what the rules, or standards, should be? There is a bombardment of different views on the subject. Just a quick google search on discipline methods will produce hundreds of differing ideas on how best to raise your children. How do you decide what is optimum? Well, I’m here to tell you the decision is actually very easy.
The world is always wavering back and forth between the newest and greatest opinion on how to do just about anything. For example, anyone in their 30’s has seen a dozen different diets rise and fall in cultural craze over their lifetime. A dozen different ways that experts swore were the best way to lose weight. One year it was fat grams, just a couple years later it was carbs. It’s the same way with child raising theories, wavering back and forth in the sea of humanistic philosophies.
But, unlike the sinking sand of worldly thinking, we have a solid rock to build our lives upon (Matthew 7:24-27). The standard of the Word of God is unchanging and reliable (Psalm 119:89). Most importantly, it is the ultimate test of truth (John 17:17 and Psalm 119:160). Read through Psalm 119 and see how often the psalmist attributes his ability to make wise choices to the scriptures. When we raise our children based on the standards of the bible, it will have an effect.When we raise our children based on the standards of the Word of God, it will have an effect. Click To Tweet
A major way I used the scriptures as my children were in their formative years was through bible memory. There were certain verses in scripture that spoke to the specific behavior issues they were having. I used a family devotional called Sword Fighting, and made scripture cards to go with it. This book was based on Ephesians 6:13-17 which says, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day … and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.” Jesus exemplifies this concept in Mathew 4 by fighting temptation with the Word of God. The idea is to memorize scripture that we can then use when we are tempted to sin. We memorized these key verses and, through the cards I had hung on the wall, I would remind them of these precepts when they would inevitably forget and thus disobey.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “My word… will not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) It is our responsibility to teach our children scripture as it relates to who God is, who we are, and how we should respond. It is God’s responsibility to change their hearts.
I am not going to go too deep into all the details of raising our children on the standard of the word of God, wiser people than me have already done that. I will, however, recommend a few of the books that made a big impact in my household. Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp, The Heart of Anger by Lou Prilio, and, more recently, Reset for Parents: How to Keep Your Kids from Backsliding, by Todd Friel. The key point I want to make is that by raising our children by the standard of the Word of God, and living by that standard, we can bring up young people who know right from wrong.
I have created a set of 16 scripture memory cards with some of my go-to verses that you can use with your children to “sword fight”. They are illustrated to make them easily understandable by all children regardless of reading level. I would love for you to have a set! Just click this link and I will send it straight to your inbox.