Saturating Your Children with God's Word, Part 1
January 08, 2006 | Andy Davis
There's lots of ways to mark time, and the new year, in 2006, now a new year, is one of the ways to mark time. I think a Christian should never be depressed about the passing of time. Amen? We should be delighted in the fact that every day, every week brings us closer and closer to seeing Jesus. Every week, we get closer and closer to being done forever with sin. Every week, closer and closer to being done with these bodies, which of great benefit now, still are filled with corruption, and we look forward to the day when we'll have our resurrection bodies. Aren't you looking forward to that?
So don't be depressed at the passing of time. You should be embracing and looking forward with that living hope that God has put in your heart through the Gospel that some day you're gonna see God face-to-face, the very thing that was forbidden in the Old Covenant. It's our gift. It's our reward, waiting for us at the end of life.
A Multigenerational Vision of Spiritual Protection and Prosperity
That wasn't even in my notes, but I just wanted to say it today. It's a delight to be here today and to focus on what I consider to be one of the most important topics facing First Baptist Church in the upcoming year. Recently, the deacons were meeting in small subgroups to look at various important issues in the life of the church, and I was on a number of those groups talking about some of those issues. One of them was evangelism, that's something very important to my heart.
It's a big challenge, isn't it? To be faithful and obedient in that external journey of worldwide disciple-making for Jesus Christ. That is not easy to do. To be continually faithful, bringing forth fruit, seeing people come to faith in Christ. We've been talking about that, and we've looked at the mission strategies, we've talked about ways to reach the Triangle region, we've looked at the various mission fields there are, whether inner city or university students, international students, white collar workers in the medical community or in the research RTP, just the huge number of people, the population swell, that's coming into this area because it's an attractive place to live, and those things are good for our church to look at.
But while we were talking about that, I just said, "Brothers, can I share something on my heart?" They said, "Sure." And so I said, "I believe that the most strategic and fruitful mission field, bar none, no other field is even close to it, the most strategic mission field there is, is that of Christian children in a Christian home. That is the most strategic field there is, the Christian home, and we should not assume that all is well in that area. We will be in big problems if we do.
As a matter of fact, statistics show that all is not well in that area. T.C. Pinckney, who was the second president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 200, had this to say. He said, "We are losing our children. Research indicates that 70%... now listen to this, 70% of teens who are involved in a church youth group will stop attending church within two years of their high school graduation. 70%."
Now, just think about that.That’s not just 70% of just youth in general, or even of churchgoers, but those that are involved in youth ministry, involved in a group, 70% will stop attending church within two years after they graduate. What does that say about those who don't even go to church at all? In a talk at Southwestern Seminary, Josh McDowell noted that less than one-third of today's youth attend church. If he's right and 67% do not go to church, then we lose 70% of those that do, you can see where we're heading. As a matter of fact, researcher George Barna says, "If the trends and the ways of thinking and approach to ministry continues, as it is now, across evangelical churches, attendance at those churches will be less than half of what it is today in 10 years." And other statistics tend to bear this out.
Tom Rainer, who taught a class that I took at Southern Seminary and does a lot of research on how well, how effectively we're reaching our culture and our people... He's put together a survey asking a series of questions to discern whether the respondent really understood the gospel, whether the respondent understood justification by faith alone and whether they were themselves born again, a series of questions, including the Evangelism Explosion question, "If you were to die tonight and you were to stand before God and he would say, Why should I let you into heaven? What would you say?" These kinds of diagnostic questions. Having put all that together, he comes up with these statistics: Of those that were born before 1946, 65% gave a positive affirming answer showing they did understand the gospel and they were saved, 65%. Between 1946 and '64, those born between those years, 35%. Those born between ‘65 and ‘76, the number was down to 15% that could give that kind of an answer. And between 1976 and 1994, it's 4% that could give an answer. Now that is scary. We are in danger of losing our young people, we're in danger of losing our youth.
Now, what is wrong? I went on a mission trip with a pastor out near Wake Forest named Scott Brown, who's done a lot of work in this area, a good friend of mine, I respect him a great deal. And he was speaking there in Romania about this very problem, and it's a problem in Romanian churches as well, not just here in America. But he had this to say, he said, "I submit that the biblical order for the church and the home has been unintentionally abandoned. The biblical equipping structures have been set aside, marriages have been dishonored, and fathers are not personally teaching their children anymore. Exemplary fatherhood has been reduced to taking the family to church, showing up at soccer games and recitals. What's so disturbing is that the churches are actually aiding and abetting this abandonment. The men in our churches, instead of plunging their energy into saturating themselves in God's word and training the future leaders of our country, preparing their children to be evangelists, deacons, elders, mentors, and Titus 2 women, they spend their strength and activities that ignore their basic roles as leaders and teachers of the next generation," He said, "In the absence of biblical training, our children will follow the way of popular culture."
Biblical order for the church and the home has been lost, and it needs to be recaptured. Specifically, we need to reclaim the supremacy and the sufficiency of the Word of God for the forms and practices of how we reach our young people, not just that we say that the Word of God is inerrant, we actually need to follow the patterns for youth ministry that there are in the Bible, and that is the leadership and headship of men in the home, that men would step up and take their responsibility for discipling their own children, raising their children up in the faith.
I wanna call on you, men who are leaders of homes in which there are children growing, as you have never done before to make 2006 a year of focus of evangelism and discipleship for your own children, I wanna challenge you to set goals, spiritual goals for your children. I want to challenge you to meet regularly with your children to see that those goals are met. I wanna challenge you to create around yourself a structure of accountability so that you really do these things that you say you want to do. I wanna challenge you to do that. I wanna challenge everyone else in the church to pray that those things will happen and to do what you can to facilitate them happening.
Now, as I look at Scripture, I could think of no better passage to address this topic than Deuteronomy 6. It's a magnificent passage. And for the next two weeks, we're gonna be looking at this issue from Deuteronomy 6. Now, what is the context of Deuteronomy 6:1-9? I've talked a little about what is our context. And by the way, I don't want you to think in any way that I am pessimistic or discouraged. I always believe that God's will will out, but it happens by this, by the hearing of the word and by obedience, and by men stepping forward and women stepping forward to do what they know is right. That's how it happens. And as this church is faithful to do it, we're gonna see magnificent fruit in our homes. So I'm not in any way pessimistic, not at all, but I am concerned, I am alarmed, and I want you to be as well.
Now, what was the context of Israel? Well, they're about to enter the Promised Land. You know what had happened, God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt by a mighty hand and outstretched arm. That generation that left Egypt, that saw God do ten miraculous plagues, that saw him move the water so that it was like a wall on the left and the right-hand side, they saw God do awesome things and provide manna and water out of a rock. But when the time came to enter the Promised Land, they refused to believe the promises of God. They refused to believe that God would be able to conquer the Promised Land. And so in their hearts, they turned back to Egypt. And so God punished that generation and said, "Not one of you will enter the Promised Land, except Joshua and Caleb. Not one of you onto the Promised Land, but your children will." And so for 40 years, they wandered. And now at the end of the 40 years, they have now come back, all that generation is gone, rather surprisingly, miraculously, 40 years, they're all dead. That's amazing. It was a judgment from God, but after 40 years, they come back, the time had come now for them to believe the promises of God and enter the Promised Land.
And so we have the Book of Deuteronomy, it literally means the second giving of the Law, and for the second time, Moses gave them the Law. But it's so amazing, you look at Exodus and Leviticus and all of those laws, and they're interesting, but it's a whole different situation when we get to Deuteronomy, there's so much more passion, there's more love, there's more basically pastoral ministry going from God through Moses to the Israelites, to urge them to obey the law so that it might go well with them. And then Deuteronomy 6 is one of the great focuses of that. Of special concern in Deuteronomy 6 and throughout the Book of Deuteronomy was the passing on of the Law from one generation to the next to the next, and that is the focus of Deuteronomy 6:1-9. It is a multigenerational vision, a multigenerational vision of spiritual protection and prosperity.
God has a vision for you and for your children and for your grandchildren and your great grandchildren, and this is a big enough job to take the rest of your life in fulfilling. You're not just done once your kids are grown and gone, but a multigenerational vision of spiritual protection and prosperity. I think we are shockingly near-sighted when it comes to that. We don't really know our ancestors very well, our great-grandparents, etcetera. We don't really expect to be known by our great grandchildren that well, but God is not that way, and we have a multigenerational vision of spiritual protection and prosperity here that will take the rest of our lives to fulfill.
Now, God's original strategy for the world was that God would fill the world with the knowledge of his glory by the propagation of the human beings who were created in his image. It says in Genesis 1:28, “God having created them in his image, God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply in number, fill the earth and subdue it.’” That was God's original plan.
Know that the world was already full of his glory, having been invested with his glory at creation, but it was our special job to know his glory, to delight in it, to see it, to think about it, and to thank him for it. And sin entered in and defaced and defiled the image of God, so that, yes, we biologically propagated, but we were not spreading the image of God, not in that way, now that the image had been defiled. And so there are people all over this globe, but the earth is not now filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
God's original pattern now is being reclaimed by the spreading of the gospel, and the Christian home, where Christ is at the center, where the word of God is honored, is reversing the effects of the curse in the human heart so that people then can live for the glory of God and see it in this world, and so the earth will some day be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Well, there's a multigenerational view, even in our text. Do you see it? Look at verses 1-3. This is the NIV, it says, “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess," and look at verse 2, "so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God, as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord the God of your fathers promised you." Now, notice the number of generations there are just in these verses. First of all, in verse 3, it mentions the God of your fathers. We don't know how many generations that is because that could include, let's say Abraham, Isaac and Jacob on back like that. So from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob down to this generation that was about to enter the Promised Land, those were all their fathers.
So we don't know how many generations, but at least one. And then you and your children and their children after them, and then their children after them could include many as well. There's clearly a multigenerational view here, at least four generations, and I think more. And in order for Israel to survive and thrive in the Promised Land, a heart of obedience had to be passed on to the children and to their children after him, or God was going to evict them from the Promised Land. And so it isn't an idle thing when he says, so that it may go well with you and you may live long in the land. It's not an idle thing, because if they disobeyed the Old Covenant, disobey the Mosaic covenant, they would be evicted from the Promised Land, and so this had to be passed on to the next generation. And so it was a multigenerational view of spiritual prosperity, of prosperity and protection.
Prosperity, look what he says. He says, The land is rich and blessed by God. It's a land flowing with milk and honey. And he says, so that it may go well with you, and that you may enjoy long life, and that you may multiply greatly.
Notice the repetition there of the original command given to Adam and Eve, that they would multiply, that they would fill the earth and multiply greatly. It was repeated when Noah and his sons got off the ark, God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Friends, let me tell you something. There is no place in the Scripture where God commands you to restrict your family size.
I've been talking to people who are generations before me, and they're not surprised by the fact we have five children, but you know how many people tell us, "Oh, you have such a large family, five children." Well, we are blessed by God to have these five children, we delight in them, we love them, we don't consider them a large family most of the time, sometimes we do, but for the most part, we don't. We are blessed by every one of them. I wanna challenge you to think biblically about family size, notice that here it's considered a blessing by God that you may multiply greatly in the land. And so it's a blessing, this is a prosperity for Israel.
God was giving the Promised Land to Israel on condition, obedience to the laws of Moses and central to this, as I've said, parents had to teach their children fear the Lord and obey his commands. They also needed not just prosperity but protection because they were going into a promised land which didn't hold ultimately a military threat, that's what they were afraid of. No, it was a spiritual threat. The Canaanites with their filthy, wretched practices could defile the people of God and lead them into their idolatrous worship so that they would be defiled and God would have to judge them.
So also, friends, for us there is a need for spiritual prosperity and protection, not just a physical promised land that we're gonna go enter and live in. We're talking about eternity in the very presence of God, what could be more important than that? And do we need protection, like the Israelites did? Yes, we do. We are surrounded by a non-Christian pervading, invading culture, and we must protect our children from it. We have to be living in this world without being polluted by the world, as the book of James says, and the only protection we have is to cling to and to follow and obey the word of God. What he says, the commandment, statutes and judgments, and not just to hear them, friends. The more you hear and don't obey, the worse off it is for you. It's actually, as it says in one place, “Better never to have heard than to hear and to turn your back on the sacred command that's passed on to you.
The Centerpiece: Loving God With All You Are
And so again and again, as it says in the New American Standard, “Now, this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, listen, that you may do them in the land.” Verse 2, “by keeping all his statutes.” Verse 3, “Hear O Israel and be careful to obey them.” It's not just the hearing of the Word, but actually a heart of obedience. Now, the centerpiece of all of this is loving God with all that you are. Look what it says, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Jesus called this the greatest commandment in the Bible.
Now, I've often challenged people and say, "You know, Christians, we're not under the law, we're not under the law." I said, "Are you free from this command, this particular one? Free from the command to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? I would say no. So clearly, free from the law doesn't mean what they think it means. Free from the law means it's not by law that we are going to be justified in front of God. We're actually saved and brought back to the law and said, this is what I'm working in your hearts. “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Now notice it begins with a command to listen. That's the command. Listen. “Hear O Israel.”Hear what? Well, hear the Word of God. Ideas... I mean, accurate ideas. Accurate ideas about God do not originate with people, they don't originate with human beings. Accurate ideas about God originate with God, and then he reveals them to us, he communicates them to us by His Word. And what does he tell us about himself here? Well, he reveals his essential nature.
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one.” So important. God is one in Himself. We Christians, understand that to mean the Father, the Son, the Spirit; three persons, one God. I also go beyond that to say what it means is that there's a perfect and essential unity within God, something we could scarcely imagine. How many times are you torn in two different directions? How many times does your intellect go one way and your emotions another? That never happens with God. God is perfectly one, this is the nature of God, and the Father and the Son and the Spirit are all perfectly together on the salvation plan. That's what God is like.
Now, based on that self-revelation, God then gives to the human race what Jesus called the greatest command that there is: Love the Lord your God. Love Him with all of your heart and with all of your soul, and with all of your strength. Friends, this is the whole duty of man. Now what does it mean to love God? Well, it means to cherish Him. It means to consider Him, to esteem Him most valuable, like the treasure hidden in the field, you're willing to sell everything for Him.
Most glorious. It means to esteem Him above all others; the center, the very center of your universe. It means to find your pleasure in Him and be delighted in what delights Him. Now, the devils, they have spiritual information about God. They know that God is one, but they shudder and they fight, and they're opposed. I don't know. We know that God is one and we're delighted about it. We're glad that there is one God and only one God. We're delighted in Him. Now what does it mean when it says, "To love Him with all your heart and soul and strength?" Well, I say to you that this love for God must be so all pervasive, it covers every area of your life. Friends, there is no part or particle of God's universe about which He does not say, "This is mine," He claims it all. He claims your heart, it is His. He claims your strength and your soul. They are His. He means for you to cherish Him and esteem Him in your heart above all things.
Upon Your Heart First
He means for you to use your soul to sing to Him and worship Him and honor Him and your strength, to serve Him. It's all His and here, friends, is rebellion destroyed. Here is hypocrisy cast out. We can't fake it. God isn't looking for fake Christians, He's not looking for a façade, the white-washed wall of the Christian family, where it looks good on the outside, but inside they're full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. He's not looking for that.
He wants a genuine heart relationship with Him, parents and children alike. So this is the cnterpiece of everything, friends, this is the goal of our instruction. It is love from a clean and pure heart. That's what we're getting at. Now, it says that these commandments should be upon your heart. Look at verse 6: "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts." Now, I wanna take this and interpret it specifically for parents. I could talk about just in general, about Christians, but I wanna start with parents 'cause he's about to talk about it in verse 7. We're not gonna get to it this week, but it says, "Impress them on your children.” That's what he says to do. So first thing he says though, parents, "These commandments that I give you today, they need to be upon your hearts." You need to have God's words written in your hearts. They need to be impressed in your own minds first.
God is here commanding parents to cherish the very words of God, to cherish them. And it is not unreasonable to extend the words here, these commands that I give you today to all of scripture, for all scripture is God-breathed. And so it's not just the Mosaic commands as they're about to enter... No, the whole thing is to be alive inside you. And I have a simple diagnostic question to ask you parents, whose children are watching you every moment. Do they see in your life a cherishing of the words of God? Are you living out a cherishing of the words of God? Do they see you opening your Bible, reading it? Do they see you memorizing it? Do they see you studying it carefully? Do they see you obeying it? I'm not saying, do they see perfection in you? I'm not saying that. I'm saying, do they see a cherishing of the Word of God in your life?
Now, the blessings of the New Covenant is that God has written His Word in our heart already. It says in Hebrews 8:10, "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts." Friends, if you're a Christian, the Word of God is already, in some sense, written in your heart, but that doesn't free you from the responsibility to sit down every morning with your quiet time, open up the Bible and read. To read through the Bible in a year, to memorize a book of the Bible. It doesn't free you from that responsibility. My question is, do your children see you doing it? Do they see you cherishing the Word of God?
I came across, at least, I thought a useful riddle to apply to this situation. It went like this: How do you teach a parrot to speak? Answer: Have a larger vocabulary than the parrot. It seems obvious, doesn't it? Let me ask you a question. How do you teach the Word of God to your children? Have a larger vocabulary than your children. And you might say, "Well, I'm no Bible student, I'm no professor at a seminary or pastor, whatever.” You're called upon to “study to show yourselves approved unto God, workmen who don't need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” He's calling on you to do that. Have a larger vocabulary than your children. Study the word. Now, I wanna give here a special word to fathers. The father's role here is essential. It's vital.
A Special Word to Fathers
God has established the father's headship in the marriage and in the home. He does it in Ephesians 5 and in patterns throughout the entire Bible. It is, therefore, the father's role, ultimately, to train the children in godliness. Now, it is not an accident that Deuteronomy 6 in the Hebrew and also in certain translations, like the New American Standard, focuses on the father-son relationship. It's very interesting here. Let me read the New American Standard for verse 1 and 2, it's New American Standard Bible. And this is an accurate, literalistic translation that the Hebrew says:
“Now, this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgements, which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, so that you may do them in the land where you're going over to possess it, so that," listen, "you, your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command you all the days of your life, that your days may be prolonged."
Now, I talk to the staff about this, I said should I even bring this up? I mean the NIV just says, "So that you, your children and their children after them". And of course, in the wide range of biblical understanding, it is true that both father and mother must teach both son and daughter. That is true, and it's easy to prove from scripture, you get at least the mother's role in teaching the son in Proverbs 1:8. It says, "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching." So clearly both fathers and mothers have a teaching and discipling role for their children, but yet there is a primacy to the father and his role in the spiritual home. There's a primacy to it. And that's why I think it says, "So that you, your son and your grandson", because they will someday be heads of their homes and they will someday stand accountable to give an answer to God for their households. And so therefore, teach them well, teach them to take that responsibility seriously. That's my read on it. Whether you accept my read on it or not, the Hebrew stands, "so that you, your son and the grandson may obey the commands."
It's the same reason, I think, where it says in Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Now, I've talked about this before, but I think the original sin was not that Eve ate the fruit. I don't think that was the first sin that ever happened, I don't think it was the first one. I think that the first sin that happened was that Adam didn't interfere when the devil was messing with his wife. Now, why is that a sin? Because God had commanded Adam in Genesis 2:15, to serve and protect the garden. And when Eve was created out of his body, she became part, I believe, of that command. It was Adam's job to be out there protecting that beautiful garden and his beautiful wife from the attacks of the evil one. But all you get in Genesis 3 is, "then she gave some to her husband who was with her". What is going on with that? What was he doing all that time? Was he saying anything, thinking anything, feeling anything?
“Uh-oh, this isn't good. But I'm not gonna say anything about it." What is he doing? Why isn't he stepping up and saying, "Be gone, Satan!"? Why isn't he like the Good Shepherd that goes out and meets the wolf, rather than waiting until the flock is ravaged? And so he was passive. He didn't step... And we still see it today, friends. The men do not step up and take their position of leadership in the home and the church like they should, and so we have big time problems. Well, it must not happen with us. We must be faithful as fathers. We are going to give an account. We're going to give an account and we can't leave it to others to do it. We need to have a strategy for discipling each of the children entrusted to our care.
I'm gonna talk more about details and specifics on how to do that next week, how to set spiritual goals for your children, how to hold them accountable, how to pray for them, those kind of specific things. Talk more about that next week. Based on verses 7 through 9, talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down, when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your house and on... I'll talk about that next week.
But Andy Winn and I have talked a lot recently about youth ministry, and I can't even tell you the level of respect I have for Andy Winn. I just love him as a brother, I am so grateful that he's here, I'm so grateful for his worldview. I'm grateful that we totally agree about the things that we're talking about today. We've talked much about it. Both of us agree that no matter how godly he is or I am, or how good our programs are here, or our teaching, we cannot and do not desire to supplant the true youth ministers in this church. And you wanna know who the true youth ministers are? The parents, ultimately the father is responsible, but the parents are the true youth ministers of all the youth in our church.
And Andy and I, we are praying about and thinking about how best to reflect that in our youth ministry here in 2006. How can we best equip and strengthen parents to disciple? You realize, if Andy gets them once a week for however many... Something like 900 times, not just Andy, but any Sunday school teacher, whatever. 900 times until the year that they're 18, if you get them once a week. Parents, if they disciple their children, especially fathers every day, get about 6300 times of teaching, pointed teaching. And not only that, fathers get to teach, not just by sitting in an artificial kind of classroom setting with a book open, but they get to teach in every day life the way Jesus did with His disciples. "Follow me as I follow Christ," they can say. "Follow my example. Look how I do this, this is how I do that." There's no way the church can set up structures like that, no way, and nor was it meant to. And so therefore, fathers cannot leave youth ministry to the youth minister or to the pastor, we can't.
In saying that, I'm not trying to shirk my duty as a pastor any more than Andy as a youth minister. Quite the opposite. We are trying to embrace the biblical structures for youth ministry that are there and help facilitate them, not compete with them. That's what we're trying to do. We want you, young people, that are sitting and listening, we want you to love Jesus, we want you to follow Christ for your whole lives. We don't want you to drop out two years later, when you no longer have to go to church. We want you to cherish Christ with everything you have.
Now, what kind of application am I gonna take from this? Well, I'm gonna talk more specifically next week about applications, more about it, but I wanna just give one simple application, given it before, but I wanna give it again. I wanna challenge the fathers of this fellowship to be faithful in 2006 in having a daily family devotion time. It's really about as practical is this, you sit down in a chair, you get the Bible, you open it up, and you teach, and you share, and do it however you want. Let worship be part of it. Let's singing be part of it. Let prayer be part of it.
You could do ministry projects. You can do all kinds of stuff. You can do whatever the Lord leads you to do. But do it. Be faithful and do it. It doesn't have to be elaborate. You don't have to have some degree. I think if you feel like you're inadequate to do it, then 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to show yourself approved". Sharpen your sword. But that's a great motivation to do that, isn't it? Sit down with your family, gather them around you, open the Bible and do it. Now, one thing I have to confess to you. We do not do it in our family as frequently as I'd like, and do you know why? It's because of the frantic, frenetic pace of American life.
You know what I'm talking about? I mean, how many meals do you miss because you're not all there, because of this or that activity? What I'm saying is, that I am speaking this to myself as much to you. God is not going to accept that as an excuse. He's not. He's not gonna say, "All right, well, you're Americans? Okay, I know, your lifestyle is way too frantic to do this. You're in a special category." And,f friends, I am not trying to hurt you. I'm not trying to harm you in any way. I said again, you need to discern... I said this in my prayer, to discern the difference between the devil's depression, which leaves you sapped of strength and the spirit's conviction, which motivates you to make some changes. There's a difference between the two. I hope you can tell the difference. If you're already being faithful to do it, praise God, do it all the more.
The second application I wanna give to you is this: As you set goals for your family, as you start thinking about each child, as you think about what you are doing for family devotion time, can you get some men around you to hold you accountable or at least one man? Say, "Brother, I wanna do this, and I don't know that it's gonna happen unless you hold me accountable. Will you pray for me, will you hold me accountable to really do this?" We need to step up and do this for each other. We need to help each other. And those of you that are not in that special category or not parents with children growing up, that doesn't mean you're free. Remember the multigenerational view.
Even if your kids are grown and gone and you really didn't do that, that doesn't mean you can't still be involved. You may have grandchildren, you can pray for them. Your children may be forming their homes. You can say, "Look, we didn't necessarily do it the right way, but these are some things that I've learned recently, I wanna help you." It may be that you're not even married yet, think about then what kind of Christian home you wanna have. Try to soak up as much information as you can get about the Christian life, and about leading a family in a godly way.
If you're a widow or widower, pray for us who are in the middle of the battle, who are trying to raise our children in a godly way, give words of encouragement, find ways you can help the Christian home. God means for the young people of First Baptist Church to live for His glory, to be the next generation of leaders and He means for parents to train them and specifically for fathers to step up and help in every way they can to make that happen. Let's pray now that it happens.