To Love God

I love a good steak. I love to fish. I love to watch college basketball. I love my wife and my family. It’s easy to see that there are different types of love. I don’t love a good nap the same way that I love my wife. One is a statement of value while the other is a deep personal love. There is nothing that can match deep relational love. God created us in His own image and because of that we are relational beings. The Bible tells us that He loves us and for that reason only do we even know and understand what love is (1 John 4:19).

It is an incredible thing that the God of the universe, the Creator of all things made us in His own image and that He knows and loves us. It is even more staggering to know that even in our sin, God still loves us and provided a way for our sin debt to be paid. Through Jesus we can be reconciled back into a right relationship with God. That’s a big deal! He transforms our hearts toward loving Him and desiring to live for Him. As parents, another one of our primary tasks is to lead our kids toward developing a heart that loves God.

We have a large responsibility to think about, care for, and engage our kids in matters of faith and God. Parents serve as the primary means, God’s perfect plan, for the generations to know and love Him. We started our conversation last week with the truth that as parents, our minds need to be consumed with the pursuit of pointing our kids toward knowing God. Through the partnership of the church and the home, we can teach kids and students about who God is, what He has done, and what He promises He will do. There is nothing more valuable that for someone to understand and know God (Jer. 9:23-24). But the end goal isn’t that our kids would just know God, but that in knowing Him, their hearts would be turned toward loving Him.

The beauty of God’s Word is as we read it, God begins to draw us to Himself. As we see and understand what He did through Jesus, our heart and affections are turned toward Him. James writes that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. (4:8a) As we learn about Him and His ways in Scripture, our hearts are softened, and we are drawn to Him.

As we lead our kids to know God through His Word, we will begin to see their hearts change. They will begin to understand the wretchedness of their sin and their need for a savior. As they see the work of Christ on the cross and joy of His resurrection, they will not only find a way toward salvation, but a God who loves them. From there we are called to lead them to respond. In Mark 1 we see Jesus proclaim the gospel and declare, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (1:15) A heart that has been turned toward loving Jesus will be convicted of sin and will respond with repentance and belief.  True repentance is only born out of love. A true love for Jesus will lead them to turn toward confessing their sin and need of His saving grace, resulting in living a life with Him as their Lord and Savior.

As parents we ought to let our own love for God shine through as a testimony and example to our children. They need to see our genuine, deep, personal love for Him. As we explain to them why we love Jesus, we are able to point them toward the truth that will begin to turn their heart. And as we see their heart change, we can guide them toward faith and repentance.