…love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.
DEUTERONOMY 6:5-8 NLT
The idea of leading your children spiritually can feel intimidating. This passage from Deuteronomy makes it seem really involved, like it will fill our every waking moment. Even harder, we’re supposed to be the “grown-ups,” even though we’re still constantly working out how we live out our faith in our own lives. (That’s why it’s so important to stay connected to God’s Word to us, the Bible.) And, that’s actually what these verses are about:
Share your faith journey with your children.
The Israelites who originally heard this passage worked its principles into their everyday lives. They would write out passages from Exodus and Deuteronomy, tuck them into a small leather box (called a phylactery), then strap it to their wrist or their forehead. Devout Jews all around the world still wear these tiny boxes today, constant reminders of all that God has done for them, and of everything that they value. While that may sound strange to us, we actually do the same thing:
We carry our digital devices everywhere we go.
Smartphones and tablets are our always-on lifeline to the people in our lives. Wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches constantly update us with the things we’ve told them are important to us. For us adults, these conveniences still feel new. But our children have been able to carry the Internet around with them for their entire lives.
Be intentional in how you use technology.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
PROVERBS 22:6 ESV
As important as digital media has become to us, it will play an even larger role in the lives of our children. Our partners at Scripture Union in the U.K. have been helping children engage with God and with the Bible for 150 years. That’s why they developed the Bible-focused Guardians of Ancora game app, and why they’re offering this Devotional Plan for families through the Bible App. Here’s their advice to parents about how we can fulfill God’s calling in our families:
With a high percentage of children spending over seven hours on phones or tablets each day (source: Kaiser Family Foundation study, 2010), let’s start where they are and help them to engage with Biblical material in a way that’s relevant and exciting. Then, the words God spoke to the Israelites recorded in Deuteronomy 6:1–9 will become a reality for your family. In particular, God’s people are commanded to immerse themselves in his commands and live them out daily in every situation they encounter. A huge challenge, but a challenge that starts in the child’s world.
Most of what our kids learn from us comes through the examples they see in our lives. If you’re making your spiritual life a priority, you’ll install apps that help you read, study, listen to, reflect on, and share the Bible. But not all the apps that you like weren’t designed for children. Yes, let your kids see you using technology to engage your faith… but also, equip them to make wise decisions about how they will use it. Just as you seek out music and movies that are age-appropriate for them, help them find the tools they need to draw closer to God.
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