Dear Parent or Grandparent: This is #5 in a series of 66 Faith-Building Bible Verses to Memorize With Kids. The thread that weaves itself through these verses, one from each book of the Bible, has been designed to create a heart of strong faith in you and the children you love as you commit them to memory together. May God add his blessing to every word.
Deuteronomy 6:5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
One of the incredible things about the Bible is this. We could read it a hundred times from just as many vantage points and never wear it out. Some of it is difficult to understand (God’s ways are higher than ours), but some of it is clear. So very clear.
Take Verse #5 of our 2017 memory verse challenge, for instance. Read this one from any angle, and the instructions are still clear as a bell. The whole chapter, in fact, is very obvious in its instruction, and while it applies to anyone, it especially jumps off the page as a specific command to parents who want to leave their children a spiritual legacy.
If any of you were like me, parenting threw me for a loop during the teen years.
I’ll be mostly speaking for myself here, but if you were to ask Mike, he would tell you that it was a time of real struggle for both of us.
Together, we were two people who saw life through very black and white lenses, and together, we had seen a lot of life. How could we have been so unprepared for this?
(I knew more about styling big hair than I did about raising little children!)
During those tumultuous teenage years, we were in a perpetual state of naivete. My inner jaw was constantly dropped, as outwardly all I could say was, “Didn’t see that coming.”
Looking back, I think we were just flat underprepared. We thought parenting was going to be easy, breezy and all kinds of peasy.
But think about this. We were the first generation of parents to tackle the issues that came with Internet access and cell phones. Brother, was it ever a grueling learning curve. The issues confronting our kids were new, consuming and frightening. At times I felt like we were under Enemy attack, and at other times, I straight up knew it.
(With friends on vacation. I thought I had mastered this whole parenting thing right about the time this picture was taken.)
What do I see now that I didn’t grasp then? This one monumental thought.
I didn’t have a clear understanding of the legacy I wanted to leave in my child.
But, I. do. now.
Now, I’m fully aware that I could have never made my children love God with all their heart, soul and strength anyway! My only hope was to model it for them.
It’s the same with my grandchildren. I can teach Kynzie this verse, and she can recite it verbatim, but if she doesn’t see her Grammie doing it, what’s the point?
If my heart doesn’t belong to God, if my soul is unfulfilled in Him, and if my resources are stretched thin across other pursuits, what legacy am I leaving in her?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children [and grandchildren]. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your forehead. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-9
An inheritance is something we leave for our children. A legacy is something we leave in them.
Encouraging intentional adventure as we leave a legacy in the hearts of our children and grandchildren,
PS – It may take your children or grandchildren a long time to love God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their strength. Keep praying, keep modeling for them. God loves them more than we do, and he will finish what he started in them, so take heart and stay in faith!
Memorizing tip: Place special emphasis on the word “all.” saying it louder than the other words each time you say it. Point to the heart, point to the stomach (soul) and hold your arms up like a muscleman on the word “strength.”
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