From Craig Swanson…
“Behold, children are a gift from the Lord;” (PS. 127:3) In the midst of all the hassles and headaches of raising children we sometimes forget that they are God’s great gift to us. His creation, entrusted to us, to shape and teach and discipline. The end game is that they would be raised to trust and glorify Him. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” (Ps. 127:4) I find it interesting that God uses the word picture of arrows to describe children. Arrows are meant to be launched. When the time comes are we going to haphazardly launch them into the world and hope they find their mark? Or are we preparing them to hit the bull’s eye as useful implements for the kingdom of God?
We are told in (Deut. 6:6,7) “ And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you shall sit in your house and when you shall walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” God intends for us to diligently teach His Word to those kids that He has loaned to us. But what does that look like? Most of us as parents have memories of family devotions gone bad. There is an approach that I am encouraging my kids to use as they raise their kids. Catechism. For most of you, your first thought is probably, “I’m not Catholic.”
Catechism comes from a Greek word used in the Bible, (katacheo), which simply means “instructed” (Luke 1:4). Catechism is a question and answer method of instruction in basic Christian doctrines. The series of questions and answers develops a fundamental understanding of God, sin, salvation, prayer, the Bible, the church, and heaven and hell; each answer in the catechism is supported by Scripture references. Here are some examples from a children’s catechism:
Questions 1-8 (for ages 2-3):
1. Who made you? God made me.
(Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Acts 17:24-2
2. What else did God make? God made all things.
(Genesis 1, especially verses 1, 31; Acts 14:15; Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16)
3. Why did God make you and all things? For his own glory.
(Psalm 19:1; Jeremiah 9:23, 24; Revelation 4:11,15)
Explanation: God’s glory is his goodness and his greatness
4. How can you glorify God? By loving him and doing what he commands.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13; Mark 12:29-31; John 15:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
The questions progress as the kids get older. This particular catechism has 147 questions and answers in all. It covers most of the major doctrines of the Bible. Through a simple, repeated, question and answer process, you will be immersing your children and yourselves in the doctrines of the Word of God. You can take a small section of questions at a time and ask them to your kids while you’re eating, driving, when you are putting them to bed. (Deut. 6:7) There are supporting scripture references with each one so you can look them up and have deeper conversations whenever you have time or they have questions.
Catechism is a great tool to help us obey the Lord’s command in (Deut. 6). It can help us sharpen those arrows that God has gifted us with so they are prepared to be launched at the proper time. Here is a link to a good children’s catechism: http://sojournkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/a-catechism-for-boys-and-girls.pdf
No matter what age you kids are now, I encourage you to jump into this adventure with them. “And you shall teach them diligently”.