“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
– Deuteronomy 6:5
This year on Father’s Day, I was reminded of what a privilege it is to be called “dad” by my four girls. Research has consistently confirmed that fathers are essential in a child’s life. Without a father in the home, we know that teens and young adults have an increased likelihood of struggling with depression and anger and drugs and crime. So, dads, your role in the home is much more important than you may realize.
If you search the pages of God’s Word, you will discover many heroic lessons that parents should pass on to their kids. Let me share with you three of the most important ones. And as an added bonus, these lessons aren’t just for dads and their kids. These four lessons are for everyone who desires to please God and follow Jesus Christ.
Lesson 1: Trust in the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5). More than anything else that we want for our kids, we should want them to be saved. And they will never be saved unless they trust in the Lord with all their hearts. The following verse adds, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
One of the most important things we can teach our kids is how to make good and godly decisions. When they’re grown, our kids will have to make thousands of decisions without us. So, I encourage you, from time to time, to let your kids know about a big decision you have to make and invite them to join you in praying for God’s guidance. Ask your kids to stand at the crossroads and seek God’s wisdom with you. And when He gives it to you, trust Him and obey His leading together.
2. Fear the Lord and shun evil (Proverbs 3:7). I’m afraid most Christian parents these days do a much poorer job of teaching this lesson than our grandparents did. For one reason or another, parents today are hesitant to teach their kids to “fear” God. Churches used to preach more often about fire and brimstone, and Christian parents used to be better at getting the point across to their kids that disobedience equals pain and punishment.
Many older adults can remember getting the belt or the wooden spoon. Those of us who did quickly learned to have a healthy fear of mom and dad’s punishment. That being the case, it was easier for us to connect the dots and see that we should have a healthy fear of God’s punishment when we choose to rebel and sin.
3. Love the Lord with everything you’ve got. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” And Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:38 that this is the first and most important command. That’s because if you obey this command, you will—at the same time—obey every other command. We must instill a heart for prayer in our kids. And while we’re at it, we must instill a heart for God’s Word in our kids. And we need to be instilling a heart for the church in our kids. Our kids should learn to love the Bride of Christ at a young age.
I’m deeply concerned about the younger generations of Americans. Too many of our youth are growing up without these lessons. Studies have shown that millennials—those who were born between 1981 & 1996—are the most unreached and unchurched generation in the history of our country. On their heels is Generation Z—those who were born roughly between 1996 and 2015—and early indications are that this group is faring even worse.
Parents, if we’re serious about protecting our kids from the pull of Satan and the pull of this sinful world, we have to teach them to love God with everything they’ve got. We have to prioritize prayer in our homes every day. We have to prioritize reading God’s word in our homes every day. We have to prioritize attending and serving at a church every week. And we have to be on our knees fighting for the souls of our kids and grandkids.
Many years ago, Dr. James Dobson’s dad said it well: “The greatest delusion is to suppose that our children will be devout Christians simply because their parents have been, or that any of them will enter into the Christian faith in any other way than through their parents’ deep travail of prayer and faith.”
Most churched kids stop attending church regularly during their college years—and for many, that decision is pre-meditated. While they’re attending church as teens, they fully intend to walk away from it once they move out. They plan to move OUT of mom and dad’s house and move ON from church.
That breaks my heart. And I hope it breaks your heart too. The spiritual lostness and apathy of our younger generations compel me to step up my efforts to be a better dad than I have been. I must be more dedicated and consistent in teaching my girls to Trust God, Fear God, and Love God. You and I must fight for the souls of our kids and grandkids. And then maybe…just maybe…their hearts will be set ablaze with an unquenchable love for God.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our LIVE outdoor worship services Sundays at 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at
George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at
10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc, on
our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.