During November, the weather turns from sweltering hot to bracing chill; the leaves, once ablaze with color in October, now fall en masse in the blustery winds. It’s the season of shorter days, for sweaters and scarves and fires in the hearth, hot soup, warm bread and baked pies. It’s a month for taking walks, for breathing clean, rain-washed air—a time to carry your binoculars into the parks and woodlands to observe the autumnal flora and fauna. And then, November kicks off the season of the four Fs—family, friends, food, and football.
But November also has some challenges. With the holidays fast approaching there may be heightened anxieties. Get-togethers need to be planned, meals prepared, gifts to buy, all of which contribute to higher stress levels. With priorities narrowed down to “just getting it done,” we often don’t take time for the number ONE priority. And what might that be? Serving God, of course, spending time with Him in prayer and the study of His Word. Abiding in Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to grow His fruit in us, should be what drives us each day.
Loving our spouses and spending quality time with them follows closely. How we relate to our spouses on a horizontal plane, is a good indicator of our relationship with God. One relationship flows from the other—as we love our spouse, so do we love God.
Wives, respect your husbands, as unto the Lord...Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph 5:22, 25).
But there is a third priority, which flows from our love for God. It’s not our jobs, it’s not our churches, or ministries, or friends. It’s our children, of course. One of my favorite Bible passages, and one that I often refer to in my blogs, is found in Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (NASB)
The Christ-following parent who truly wishes to please God, will take these words to heart and obey them diligently. Let’s stop for a moment for a brief Bible study. Reread the above verses and let’s look at its individual components.
|Words||God’s words, the Scriptures. They are God-breathed (2 Tim 2:15).|
|Commanding||We must obey God’s commands; these are not suggestions. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commands” (John 14:15).|
|On your hearts||The heart means the whole man (mind, body, will).|
|Teach diligently||Means to impress, or to engrave something. Teaching our children must be proactive, intentional. We must engrave His words on their hearts.|
|To your children||Children are a gift, or inheritance, from the Lord (Ps 127:3). We must treat them as such—treasure them for the gifts that they are.|
|Talk of them when you sit||Talk about God’s Word at the dinner table, or in your family room. Family life must be communal, interactive, promoting spiritual health.|
|When you walk by the way||Speaks of daily activities, our way of life. We must reveal God’s goodness, His creative power, His love, truth and grace, to our children in every facet of life (school, play, church, home).|
|When you lie down||Before bedtime. A family time of prayer and Bible reading are a great way to end the day.|
|When you rise up||As we get started in the morning. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV).|
In other words, throughout our whole day, our children are to be our focus, our priority and responsibility. We should pray with our children as hard as we play with them, not just in November, but in every month of the year. This, too, flows from our relationship with God. Teaching children to walk in the light of God’s Word is to be our passion.
Yes, November is a great month for taking walks outside with our spouses and with our children and grandchildren. With the falling leaves the horizons open beautiful vistas to us, each one presenting teachable moments about God’s glory, His awesome creative power. Football games may be fun to watch, and eating pumpkin pie with a dollop or two of real whipped cream on top is hard to beat. But training up our children to walk well in the light of God’s Word outdoes these by far.
It’s a November priority that truly pleases God.