Training kids’ hearts with Scripture is one of the best and most important ways to teach and train our kids. God tells us as parents that we are to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4) He also provided everything we need for that task in His Word.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable (useful) for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (II Timothy 3:16)
One of the most important things we can do for our children is teach them God’s Word. We should read it to them, have them read it when they are able to, and refer to it through out the day as opportunities arise.
There is another opportunity we daily have to point our kids to Scripture, that we often tend to overlook: correcting and training them with Scripture when wrong behavior or attitudes are shown.
Often we don’t look at wrong behavior as an opportunity, but rather as an interruption to what we are doing or trying to get done. It aggravates us to have to stop and deal with that child’s actions or attitude. At that point, it’s easy to let the opportunity go by, as we scold out of frustration, or tell them, ”Stop arguing!”, “Don’t do that!”, or “Behave!”
When we do that, we are letting an opportunity go by to point them to what God says about that behavior, and focus on the heart issue that is causing it. Also, by using these harsh commands, we may get them to change their behavior for the time, but we haven’t addressed the heart.
“God’s Word is practical and relates to kids’ lives, and is one of the primary tools God uses to change people’s hearts. “ (Parenting is Heart Work)
The goal of correcting our kids should always be to correct the problem in the child’s heart. In the book, Passionate Parenting, author Cary Schmidt asks the question,
If you had to quantify your parenting focus with following words, which two would be most accurate: managing behavior or mentoring hearts?
It’s easy to default to the “managing behavior” position. Why? Because managing behavior is easier. But mentoring the heart takes time, training,
teaching, investment, and sacrifice. It’s much more difficult, less immediately visible, less measurable, and less tangible than managing behavior. The results take longer, but they last a lifetime.
If you wish to grow real faith in young lives for the long term, you must focus on nurturing the heart.
Tips for training your kids’ hearts with Scripture:
1. Make sure your spirit is right before you correct your child.
Don’t approach it with an angry, frustrated spirit or you will close your child’s heart to you, and God’s Word. Don’t “beat your kids over the head” with Scripture, or they will develop a resistance to it, and resentment towards it.
Here is how we have approached it with our kids:
I know you love God, and want to please Him, but when you acted like that He wasn’t pleased. Let’s go to His Word and see what God says about this behavior. Let’s find some answers to help you do what will make God happy.
2. Remember the purpose of correction and discipline.
“Discipline is a holy thing. Too often we parents take discipline lightly or treat it flippantly. In the big picture, all discipline is about bringing our children into a right relationship with their Heavenly Father that He might bless their lives. It’s not about controlling behavior, modifying behavior, or minimizing embarrassment. Biblically correcting your child is one of the greatest ways to win their heart to you and to God forever.” (Cary Schmidt – Passionate Parenting)
3. Correcting with Scripture will take TIME.
When you see wrong behavior or attitudes, you must be willing to drop whatever it is you are doing to take advantage of that opportunity. You will need to get your Bible, have the child get theirs, and take time to point them to Scriptural answers for their needs.
Ideally, you will talk with them about it, and pray with them as well. The goal is to get them to see their sin as God sees it, and to help them get their relationship with Him right.
It is worth the time it will take!
4. God’s word has power that our words don’t have, and will bring conviction that our “scoldings and rantings” won’t bring.
I LOVE the promise that His word won’t return unto him void, but will accomplish what it’s supposed to, and prosper in what it was sent to do. What a promise to claim, as we use the Bible to train and correct our children!
God’s Word relates in a practical way to our kids’ lives, and is the best tool for reaching their heart.
(This post is an excerpt from the book Training & Correcting the Heart With Scripture.)