Because Jesus Is Their Normal: 7 Steps to Raising Godly Children

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must 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. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT

Last week I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of God.

photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel

As I drove my son to a doctors appointment, he sat in the passenger seat chatting about his day at school. He was excited to tell me he went to a meeting for the Christian club at his school. He said he brought a few of his unchurched friends along, and one of his small group leaders from our church was there and was happy to see him.

My thoughts drifted for a moment as he went on to say the club was looking for volunteers to meet Tuesday mornings before school to plan activities and he thought he’d like to go. Oh, and he ordered a t-shirt for the See You At The Pole event next month.

While he talked, my heart suddenly felt heavy in my chest. I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of God. Here was my son, a 13-year old boy, excited about all things Jesus. When he took a break from his chatter, he looked over at me and asked what was the matter.

With a joyous heart, I said I was so grateful for the many ways he and his sister get to learn about Jesus. He looked at me dumbfounded and said, “Mom, Jesus is just normal in my life, that’s how it is.”


Part of me wanted to give my husband and me a big pat on the back for a job well done, but my hand stopped short. Instead, I was deeply humbled by how God magnifies our meager attempts to raise godly kids.

Now, I’m also not saying our kids are perfect. They’re not extra special because they’re on fire for the Lord right now. They have real struggles – some of them significant. And we’re not blind to the fact that today’s enthusiasm, doesn’t guarantee tomorrow’s commitment.

Truth be told, I feel fairly inadequate when it comes to raising godly children.  Maybe you do too. I didn’t have any role models growing up. Most days I fly by the seat of my pants. Thankfully, the Bible offers us hope and a plan. We find some of it in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Let’s take a look:

1. The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.

Who or what is Lord in our life? Now is the time to take serious inventory. If God isn’t first, then we’ve got to clean house. If our children don’t see God as Lord in our life, why should he be in theirs?

2. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.

If we’ve decided God is Lord alone in our home, then our love for him must be equally undivided. He asks for all we have – an entire love, a complete love. How? Obey his word. 1 John 2:5 says, “If anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them.”

3. Commit yourselves wholeheartedly.

This is a lifetime process set by our determined example. God asks for a singular vision. The world says to broaden your view, accept other ways. But God implores us to remain focused on him.

4. Repeat them again and again to your children.

Okay, so I believe this is why we read to our toddlers the same book a thousand times, or say “Don’t touch!” a million times more.  We must be prepared for repetitive action! The more our young ones hear something, the more it becomes a part of them. Hmmm, maybe I should say, “Go brush your teeth, Jesus forgives!” or “Go clean your room, and you’ll be restored to the joy of your salvation!” I don’t know … too much?

5. Talk about them when you are at home, on the road, going to bed and getting up.

This is an outflow of the first three points. When God is our entire love, he becomes the filter by which WE see our world. A Jesus filter if you will. So when we see things like a rainbow, we don’t just tell our kids it’s a refraction of light through rain, we tell them it’s a promise of grace between God and his people.

6. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead.

I love this visual of strapping God’s Word to my hands and my forehead. It’s like some kind of spiritual process where his truth melts into the hands of my actions and the forehead of my thoughts. Yes, please!

7. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Do you think God is giving the okay to fill our home with Christian decor? Quite possibly! Maybe we should plaster our walls with Bible verses. That’s what early Christians did before the Bible was mass produced. And maybe we should stock our cupboards with faith, hope, and love mugs, and let’s not forget to hang a sign on our front gate that says you and your house serves the Lord.

Sounds silly I know, but for me, I have to literally surround myself with his Word. Too much works to steal, kill, and destroy what I believe.

More importantly, I think it’s a reminder to not be ashamed of our faith inside or outside our home. To be a bold example to our family and to those who walk by our gates.

What strategies have you used to raise your kids in a godly way? What was the most challenging part?

2 Replies

  1. Jackie Schairer

    Great (as usual), but very meaningful to me:) I had a godly woman to follow and still have many of those thoughts of failure. God’s grace is so amazing when we try to teach our children the right way, but stumble and feel inadequate. To watch God’s plan for our children unfold is more than remarkable. I just dropped John off for his second year of college to become a pastor. I am so thankful and grateful for His leading and mercy!

    1. Raye Wortel

      That’s wonderful news about John! I had no idea; what a blessing. I will pray for him! I glad today’s post spoke to you. I know you do an awesome job my friend!

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