It should go without saying that the first person on the 'respect' list for the Christian is our Creator. It is only in Him that we "live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). That verse goes on to say that we are His offspring. The Bible has a whole lot to say about our relationship with Him and we can in no way study it all. We will just look at a few things.
In the Old Testament, God desired to be their king. The Law given to the Israelites stressed how they were to treat Him. The first 4 of the 10 commandments all dealt with how he wanted them to treat Him (Exodus 20:2-11). These were: 1) to put God first, 2) to not make any image to worship, 3) treat His name with respect or reverence and 4) honor the sabbath day.
That law was given to the Israelites. For the Christian today, Jesus summed up the first three commandments in this statement: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38) This is what we should obey now. What a difficult command to put into practice in each and every facet of our lives! The word 'love' there isn't just a warm, fuzzy feeling, it is an action verb. We should show Him our love each day. How? A 'simple' statement reveals it all for the Christian, again spoken by Jesus: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) Simple to say, harder to do!
Many times in the New Testament, our relationship with God is paralleled with a master/servant relationship. Jesus told many parables about masters and servants. These parables reveal how our relationship with God should be. We must all be servants, but we can choose whether we serve Satan or God (Romans 6:16-18).
As I've said before, there are many passages we could study about our relationship to God. Isn't that the entire theme of the Bible? The Bible focuses on the relationship of the creation with the creator. Let us direct our focus of today's study on specific things a mother should do to model that relationship as an example to her children.
1. Keep His Commandments! Children are discerning, they seem to be hunting for our failures. We need to be diligent to be doing the commands given in the New Testament. (John 14:15)
2. Study! How can we know His commandments unless we study? "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
(2 Timothy 2:15) Do your children see you in Bible study everyday or just during worship with the saints? Do you read his word to them daily? If the Old Testament is for our learning (Romans 15:4) then let us learn from Deuteronomy: "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 6:7)
3. Respect His word! When the scripture is being read, are we being attentive? Many times we teach that we should show respect when someone is praying. We teach children to be still, to stop walking through the auditorium when a prayer is being led, and to bow our heads during the prayer. Why do we not show the same respect when His word is read? The Israelites stood the WHOLE time as the ENTIRE law was being read (Nehemiah 8:5-7, 9:3). To show respect like that nowadays is unheard of! But it should not be so.
4. Weave the teaching of His word into your life! From the time they are little, we should be teaching them that God's word is useful in our lives. This could be simply saying that the family cat was created by God, to quoting and properly applying scripture to life situations. How many times are your favorite movies or songs quoted around your house? Shouldn't God's word be quoted above all? If we want them to study and apply scripture when they are teens and young adults, then the teaching and training begins as an infant.
5. Reverence His name! If we expect our children to honor God we must model that respect by not taking His name in vain and demanding that our children do the same. Even though this commandment is not taught in the New Testament, Jesus did mention it. When teaching the disciples how to pray, Jesus began His prayer with, "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." (Matthew 6:9) God's name should be 'hallowed'. Dictionary.com defines this word as, "regarded as holy... sacred." If you are saying things like "OMG" - even in typing - then you aren't regarding His name as holy, but instead treating it as common.
6. Worship with the saints! What better place to bring our children than to worship our God! So many times we let worldly things interfere with our attendance at all the gatherings of the saints. If we do not put a priority on attending EACH Sunday and Wednesday, then our children will see that respecting and worshiping God is not really important in our lives, but something we do when it is convenient. How sad it is when our children grow up and leave the church because we didn't show the proper attitude and commitment in our attendance! "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." (Psalms 122:1) "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) I hope and pray that you apply these principles to your everyday lives. Join us for next week's Momma Monday as we continue to look at respect.