By Courtney Chambers
Many mornings, I wake up, and my family’s entire day is accounted for within a few minutes. From work, school, kid activities, and church ministries, we can quickly go from nothing to do to no time at all. Sunday nights, when the kids go to bed, my husband and I plan out our weekly schedule, and within a few minutes, the entire week is full of meetings, appointments, and tasks to complete.
Busyness is part of life. We were created to work, and God gifted us with the ability to learn and enjoy things on earth, but these things should not be blocks in our lives that prevent us from knowing and loving God more.
Every season of life brings different forms of busyness. Despite our season, the desire to know and love God must be continual. It needs to be the driving force in all we do in life. The season of parenting is challenging as all the schedules of the home come to a head. It’s almost like we take all that needs to be done among the household members and push it through, hoping for no overlaps or kinks. While the list of things to be done is often great, the one on top of that list should always be for the family to know and love God more.
But how do we do this? How do we prioritize family discipleship when the season of life is busy and chaotic? I believe there are a few things that we can do as parents.
Remember Your Calling
As Christians, the calling for parents has not changed since the Old Testament. While the Israelites were in the wilderness, they were commanded to teach their children diligently the ways of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:7-8). No matter the age of the children, the job of teaching and talking to your children about God stays the same. Talking to our children about God means there is communication between the parent and child. It means the relationship between the two and its core is from our Creator.
We were given the task as parents to train our children, specifically in the ways of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6). We must guide and lead our children and point them to our Savior. If we fail at this job, someone else might come along and replace our spot and fuel our children with a false narrative of the truth. We must remember our calling and the task we have been given. Remembering our calling helps refocus our time. Our God gave us this job to teach and train our children; we must not be lazy.
The Israelites were given this command and, over time, failed. They failed to teach their children, resulting in the next generation not knowing the Lord (Judges 2:10). This failure brought a long list of unfaithfulness and wickedness. The calling for parents to train and teach our children must be taken seriously. Instead of saying, “There is no time,” let’s tell ourselves, “There isn’t enough time”—this is a priority we have to take seriously.
Make sure Christ Is Prioritized in Your Life
Martin Luther once said, “I have so many things to do today; I dare not ignore my time with God.” Parents, we are busy. Our busyness should not deter us from our time with God because we need him. If we are going to tell our children to know and love God, our lives should be a reflection of this truth. This doesn’t mean that it will be natural or easy to cut out time to learn and dwell on God’s Word. Instead, we make it the top priority of our day. How beautiful would it be for kids to recognize their parents’ desire and yearning for God’s Word?
Learning and growing in our relationship with Christ will flow into our relationship with our children. We will want to teach and point our kids to the gospel when the gospel has gripped our own lives. Family discipleship is an outflow of the parents’ love for their Savior. When toddlers are in the house, we must read and direct them. We can walk alongside kids and answer tough questions when they get older. When they are teenagers, we join hands and walk together as we navigate life through the lens of the gospel. Family discipleship allows families to come together and dwell on God’s Word. Parents, we must remember what Christ means to us, and once we do that, the issue of time becomes less important.
I love to read, and I make time to read in my busy life. It might mean I don’t watch TV as much as the next person or choose to read while waiting for kids’ practices to finish. The point is that I make time for what is important to me. What would we find if we looked at our schedule or dived into our phone time? Would we see Christ as the top priority, or is something else in His place? It could take 30 minutes a day or less to spend time with our family, prioritizing God’s Word. Is your time as a parent reflecting this as a priority?
Throw Away the Instagram-Worthy Picture
In today’s age, we fight comparison to others on social media or in our surrounding influence. We see families who can sit down every night, sing songs, and read the Bible with zero fights. We see families whose kids can recite verse after verse and can answer any Bible question given. None of these things are bad; in fact, these things are good. The problem arises when we compare our family to the next.
No family has the same schedule, finances, or structure as the next. My family has experienced a fair share of sibling fights in the middle of family devotion times. We have had to discipline during Bible reading, and our kids tend to fight and push when they get carried away with songs. The Instagram-worthy picture of family discipleship doesn’t exist. This means the photos and reels on your phone should not be why we push family discipleship aside.
Each season might bring a different way to structure and order family discipleship. It might work better over meal time, on car rides, or at home before bed. It doesn’t matter how pretty or structured your family discipleship looks. It doesn’t matter how much money you have spent on books or what little resources you have. The point is that you, as a family, prioritize God’s Word together. You learn together and grow together. Amid unknowns and chaos in the world, family discipleship can be a shining moment of the day for your family. You can talk through difficulties in life, pray for things going on in your local church, and answer questions with the Word of God. There is no cookie-cutter way to do family discipleship. The goal is to do it.
Don’t let the pictures you see on your phone discourage you from family discipleship, thinking you are not smart enough or have enough resources. Don’t let the appearances you see be why you don’t make the time. Instead, look at your schedule and find the moments your family could utilize for the gospel growth.
Time is a gift from God. He has given us time, and we must utilize it to glorify Him. No matter how busy we might feel, we are never busy enough to miss the opportunity to feast on God’s Word with our family. As families, let’s reorient our schedules and prioritize family discipleship.
Courtney Chambers is a pastor’s wife and mom of three living in northeast Missouri. Courtney has a Bachelor’s in World Missions and a Master’s in Biblical Counseling. Courtney is passionate about biblical theology and reaching the next generation. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, and baking. You can find her @courtneyrchambers and @thereformedlife