In her seminar titled, “Teaching Children the Fear of the Lord,” Sally Michael reminds us of the importance of teaching from a heart that loves and embraces the truths being taught.
Like so many spiritual things, the fear of the Lord is better “caught” than “taught.” Children very often pick up our attitudes—those we respect, they tend to respect. Our attitude toward God is also sensed by them—not so much by our words, but by our actions, and our heart affections; it is very easy for them to sense what we feel, to honor what we honor, and to disregard what we disregard. So the first step we must take in helping our children to fear the Lord is to examine our own hearts. Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves:
- Am I humble and contrite before the Lord, respecting His authority over me, and recognizing His infinite greatness?
- How seriously do I take the word of God? Do I tremble at God’s Word? Do I diligently apply it to my life, obey its commands conscientiously, take its warnings seriously, and heed its teaching? Do I take in the whole scope of Scripture, even the hard truths and stories?
- Do I submit to God’s authority over me joyfully and willingly? Do I complain about His providences or trust Him in them?
- Do I live in daily awareness of His presence recognizing that all I do, say, think, and feel are before His gaze?
- Am I eager to follow and obey God, or am I straining to get my own way? Am I consistent in my obedience?
- Am I grateful for His correction and discipline?
- Do I hate evil? Do I quickly turn away from it, not entertaining anything that would pollute my soul?
This is not an exhaustive list but it does lead us to examine our hearts. Perhaps the overarching question we must ask is: Can we say to our children, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV).