I remember several year ago learning that fast food restaurants many times paint their establishments in bright colors because it has the psychological effect of making you move on faster. It makes sense, a part of fast food is moving people in and out so more customers can come in. The goal was to get you in, get you fed, and get you out. They put thought into all the detail… even the colors of the room and furniture. The reason is simple, environments matter. For instance, that’s the whole thought behind a greenhouse, right? You create the right environment for plants to thrive. Environments matter! They can help or hurt. It’s why at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom the parking lot is so far from where you enter the park that you have to take a boat or a monorail shuttle to get there. It’s helping create the perfect get away environment.
It’s the same way in our home. We can create an environment that is either more or less conducive to spiritual formation and spiritual transformation for our children. Deuteronomy 6 lays this out beautifully. As the law is given, it is introduced by the Great Commandment, to love God with all the heart, soul, and might. Israel is told how to go about teaching the law to their children.
Deuteronomy 6:7-8- 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (ESV)
Here we have a great example of creating an environment for spiritual formation. I see four principles at work here for creating such an environment in our homes today.
- Be INTENTIONAL about Spiritual Formation.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children,
You can’t teach anything diligently without INTENTIONALITY. Investing, shaping, discipling, teaching, training, disciplining… none of these things happen w/o intentional effort.
We plan for a lot! Career plan, retirement plan, paying off the house plan… What’s your plan for spiritually forming your child?
- Be RELATIONAL with Your Teaching.
talk of themwhen you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Talk, speak… notice how natural it sounds. At home, walking around, bed time, morning time. – It’s the flow of life. It’s natural, and the context is clear… its relational.
Some of the best talks about God, morality, etc… happen in the daily grind rather than family devotional time (as important as that is). Family devotional time at my house usually has me begging for them to just stop talking, wrestling, and running around. – It’s in the flow of the daily relationship the best stuff happens.
- Be IMMERSIVE w/ God and His Word.
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.
Notice the immersive nature of this…
- All places – When you sit, when you walk by the way
- All times- When you lie down, when you rise
There is never a time or place that is not a time or place to bring the truth of God to bear on your life, or your kid’s life. The big idea here is the RHYTHM and ROUTINE of life. For us, sometimes it’s something simple like praying on the way to school.
- Be OBVIOUS w/ the Truth and Who You Are.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Notice the picture here… placing the law on the body, on the hands, and the forehead … writing it on the doorpost of the house and on the city gate. Many of the Jews would later literally do this. But you can literally write the word everywhere and miss the point. Remember… it’s about the heart.
This is about embracing your identity as God’s people in a very visible, unmistakable, everyone can know kind of way. It’s about clarity. We are God’s people. We are Bible people. We believe this. We bring it into every situation. That should be a cultural value in our families.
Let’s all take up the challenge to instill these principles in our homes so that we can help create better environments for spiritual formation for those God has entrusted us with.
To hear a message on this very topic click HERE.