It is not enough just to teach your children there is a God and that God is real, you must teach them how to have a relationship with the real God. Deuteronomy 6:6 is the hinge on which this great commandment swings. If you don’t believe it, then you can’t teach it. Too many American homes are obsessed with their children having some spirituality in their lives, but parents can’t pass on what they don’t possess themselves. Following Christ is a personal choice for everyone.
I’ve met many well-meaning parents who want me to “confirm” their child will go to heaven when they die but who won’t no part of following Christ themselves. Do you know why so many church-going parents turn out children who leave the church after high school and turn their backs on Christianity? It is because many parents don’t understand the difference between being church-going parents and God-loving parents. What kind of mirror are you for the people in your life who are looking up to you? I believe we have a lot of foggy mirrors or cracked mirrors, but very few clear mirrors.
Let me explain. If you had had the flu vaccine, the nurse actually gave you just a very small dose of whatever that strain of flu was. In turn, this would help your body build up an immune system to the real thing, so the disease itself would never really affect you.
Too many parents give their children just a small dose of Christianity, just enough to make them immune to the real thing. These kids watch these parents go to church and they go through the religious motions, but they don’t see a passionate love for God – a love that loves God with all the heart, soul, and strength.
God was dealing with Israel’s habitual propensity to include God without surrendering to God, even His miracles in their exodus could not convince them to break from the social fabric of their culture and surrounding nations. What God was looking for was a nation wholly surrendered to Him; deeply infected with love for Him, and a counter-cultural lifestyle of righteous, holy living.
There is nothing more dangerous than for children to see in their parents have a halfhearted love for God. The reason this verse is echoed in each of the New Testament synoptic gospels is because God is still looking for a nation wholly surrendered to Him — deeply infected with love for Him, and a counter-cultural lifestyle of righteous, holy living.
But in homes where schedules are more important than salvation, God is irrelevant most of the time. And kids of course know this. They draw from it the obvious conclusion—Jesus is not exciting enough to build your whole life around. So, He must be some kind of necessary evil to be tolerated on Sunday but a dispensable drag on Monday thru Friday.