13. Deuteronomy 6:6
These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. —Deuteronomy 6:6
I’ve been alarmed by a recent series of surveys showing the rapidity of spiritual decline in the Western world. Only 35 percent of American congregations now describe themselves as spiritually vital and alive. Southern Baptists say that if current trends continue in their denomination, their churches will be reduced in half by 2050. In England the Anglicans expect to decline by 90 percent by 2050. Other surveys have found the percentage of people claiming no religion has risen in every state in America, and the number of Americans who claim to be Christians is rapidly decreasing. Headlines warn of the “coming collapse of evangelical Christianity in America.”
The most alarming statistics involve teenagers and young adults. Masses of them are leaving the church after high school, and only a percentage of them return in a regular, sustained way.
I believe Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is the most vital parenting passage in the Bible. If followed, it has the power to reverse those statistics. This passage gives three golden rules for rearing children:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. The single most powerful influence in a child’s life is his or her parents’ visible, passionate love for the Lord Jesus Christ (Deut. 6:4-5).
- His Word must be on your heart. We must love God’s Word and read it daily. It’s more important than newspapers, newscasts, sports, or hobbies. Our children should see us pouring over God’s Word every morning or evening (Deut. 6:6).
- We must share with our children spontaneously and naturally any verses God gives us. Speak about them when we sit at home, drive down the road, lie down at night, and get up in the morning. When the natural conversations of the home are sprinkled with God’s Word, it’s like constantly planting seeds in the fertile hearts of our youngsters (Deut. 6:7-9)
I have friends who call this passage D6. They want churches to become D6 churches and parents D6 parents when it comes to sharing God’s Word with their children. If you get this letter-number coded in your mind, D6, you’ll never have any trouble locating this vital passage in the Bible.
Each morning when I went downstairs to breakfast, my father—a busy missionary surgeon—would be sitting reading his Bible. At night, her work behind her, my mother would be doing the same. Anything that could so capture the interest and devotion of those I admired and loved the most, I reasoned, must be worth investigating. So at an early age I began reading my Bible and found it to be, in the words of the old Scotsman, “sweet pasturage.” —Ruth Bell Graham
100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.
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