Gilland: A word on preaching what we practice

It was my great privilege to be invited to the recent D6 Conference in Orlando, a large gathering of church leaders, heads of ministries, and Christian publishing companies. For two days, I tended booth space with all my radio recording gear set up in the middle of the expo floor, and from that spot I was able to interview 31 leaders from across the country.

The tie that held them all together was the shared conviction that is the purpose, and the namesake, for this conference.

D6 derives its name from Deuteronomy 6, a well-known and often quoted passage of the Old Testament. In this chapter, Moses (the author of the first five books of the Bible) gives a simple but powerful directive to all believers in verses 5-7:

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“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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.”

Jesus Himself quoted from this very passage in giving His disciples an understanding of the greatest of commandments. The first, at its most simple core, is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

To do that is to fulfill the first of the Ten Commandments, which was a call to recognize the Lord, and to value Him supremely over any other thing. Nothing—no carved image, or idol of the heart—is to take His place in our lives.

Simply stated, that commandment—given first to the nation of Israel and later applied to believers in Jesus—flies right into the face of our culture today, as it calls believers to recognize the God of the Bible as “our God.” And that He is. He wants us to love Him with all that is in us, our very heart soul, and might.

But right behind that command was another. It is not enough for us to know this and obey. We are to instruct our children in this teaching as well.

From their earliest years, our children should be hearing the truth of God and His plan for us. We are to teach them from early morning to night, both as we are going down the street, or within the walls of our home.

Someone has rightly called our children as “our most important disciples.” Boiled down to basics…we are to “do” this command, to love the Lord with all that is in us. And then we are to “teach” our kids to do the same.

Make no mistake about it. There are those who would want to wrestle away this role with our children. But God has placed a high priority on not only a parent’s rights with their own children, but their responsibility to them as well.

Let’s heed this call. Do, then teach. May it be on our heart as something of first importance.

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