March 2, 2004
Encouragement for Today
It all starts with God’s love.
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries
We love because He first loved us. I John 4:19
As a Christian parent, my highest goal for my children is that they grow up loving God. I long for them to love God so much that when they are tempted to do wrong, they stop because of their love of God. Actually that’s a goal I have for myself as well.
Is there a way we can deepen our love for God? Can we help our children love God more?
I John 4:19 gives us an idea of how we can nurture love for God in our own hearts and in the hearts of our children. It starts with understanding God’s love for us.
For many children and adults, it’s difficult to love someone or accept love from someone we can’t see with our eyes. Children especially, have a hard time understanding something as abstract as love. So, it’s important to make it personal – to understand that God knows you as an individual and loves you as you are.
Here are some ideas to nurture a child’s love for God. They might help you as well:
** Start at an early age telling your children that God loves them. Talk, sing and read to them of God’s love. (“Jesus loves me this I know.”)
** Begin to see with eyes of faith and thank God for answered prayers. Talk to your children about how God heard and answered their prayers.
** Read Scripture verses that tell about God’s passionate love for His creation. (Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the people on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured creation.”)
** Substitute your child’s name in Scripture to personalize God’s message. When my youngest son was afraid at night, I wrote this on an index card. “Because Robbie loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him.” Psalm 91:14 Robbie trusts that God will do what He says.
** Make sure your child is around Christians who love him or her. Nothing will spoil a child’s love for God quicker than an unkind Christian adult. Unlike God, children do look on the outside and they learn about God from what they see. Protect your child from adults who do not model God’s unconditional love.
These suggestions are just ways to fertilize the soil of a child’s heart. God is ultimately the One who works in us to grow love. No amount of external controls will strengthen your child’s faith and love for God. It has to start with God, and it starts in your heart.
My prayer for today:
Heavenly Father, I praise you for your everlasting love for me. Help me to deepen my love for you and forgive me when I doubt your love. I ask for wisdom and guidance as I raise my child to love you. Thank you for your faithfulness. In Jesus name, Amen.
Evaluate the depth of your love for God. Using the suggestions given above, and your own ideas, consider how you can develop your understanding of God’s love. Commit to focusing on your child’s heart and relationship with God.
How does God show His love for you?
How do you demonstrate your love for God?
How does understanding God’s love for you help you in your daily life?
What can you do to help your child come to an understanding of God’s love for him or her?
Psalm 5:7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house, I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you. (NRS)
Psalm 26:3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you. (NRS)
Matthew 22:37-40 He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Romans 5:8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
The Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes