Sometimes knowing that you should do something is not enough. When it comes to family discipleship most parents feel extremely inadequate. We know that we should, but where do we even begin?
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.2 Timothy 2:1-19
If I am going to be able to disciple my family, I must learn from Godly men and study the Word of God for myself. This will require me laying aside worthless things that consume my thoughts and time. Things like politics, sports, hobbies, etc. can consume a man’s time and thoughts so that he is unable to adequately prepare himself to disciple his family. I must rearrange my personal priorities so that I can be fully equipped to disciple my children.
Before I can teach my kids, I must have something within me to teach them. I must be faithful in my personal devotional life. I must be constantly preparing myself so that I will be able to teach my children in all of life. Before I can show my children something, I must be able to see it for myself. Before I can expect my children to believe something, I must believe it. If you seek the Lord in His Word for yourself, you will be adequately prepared to teach your family.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.2 Timothy 2:20-26
I must also focus on more than head knowledge if I going to teach my children. I must ensure that my lifestyle is in accordance with what I am teaching. Many children leave the faith because of the hypocrisy they saw in their parents. One of the greatest ways to disciple your children is to model the Christian life for them. Far more is caught than is taught. Your children will do as you do, not as you say.
Although Paul is talking to Timothy about false teachers within the church, his wisdom here applies to our children as well. Fighting and arguing with them over things that do not matter only alienate your children. We need to humbly tell our children the truth as we pray for God to soften their hearts.
But speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine: that aged men be temperate, grave, sober-minded, sound in faith, in love, in patience: that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed: the younger men likewise exhort to be sober-minded: in all things showing thyself an ensample of good works; in thy doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of us.Titus 2:1-8
One of the greatest ways to prepare yourself to disciple someone is to be discipled yourself. Older men and women in the church should be willing to bring young parents under their wings and teach them. Discipleship should be a chain that spans the generations.