Just maybe our faith could go viral

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(This is another Bible Study Devotional from my memorizing/meditating exercise in chapters 4-10 in the Book of Deuteronomy)

“Going viral”–those 2 words to a marketer can bring overwhelming excitement if what is going viral is positive for the company. One such example of this was a tv commercial several years ago. A company just placed their website on the internet. As the seconds move on, once their site is live, they get excited by the clicks to their website, but soon they have a look of freaking out because they realize they can’t handle the continuing onslaught of responses coming through to their site.

For social media users today, I’m sure you have experienced seeing a video that went viral, something that just exploded as a must see video. Remember when Susan Boyle first sang on “Britain’s Got Talent”? Or what about “Charlie bit my finger? But why do videos like this go viral? Here is an interesting article called “why that video went viral”: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/20/science/why-that-video-went-viral.html

Long before the internet, long before phones, or telegraph lines, or the pony express, there was word of mouth. In fact, it still is an effective form of communication. Although companies spend millions of dollars promoting their products, it is word of mouth that tends to be the most powerful influencer in leading someone to try a new product. When you hear something from a trusted friend about their experience with some product or activity, you just feel safe to try it (think of the “Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS” not too long ago.

Back in Bible times, word of mouth was most often how communication happened. For example, the Gibeonites, a pagan people came deceitfully to the Israelites in a desperate move of self-preservation. Joshua 9: 9 They (the Gibeonites) answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. (NIV)

The Israelites also were to pass down from generation to generation the historical accounts of their ancestors and all of God’s activities among them and His teachings.

Within the 7 chapters of Deut. 4-10, the Israelites were encouraged to remember what they were witnesses to and to use those memories to encourage each other and teach their children about God’s involvements in their history (they were to use their word of mouth to spread the word of how awesome God is and the holy standard of living He was expecting.

Check out these verses that were meant to exhort the Israelites to teach their children about God’s involvements in their history:

4:9 —make them known to your sons and grandsons

4:10-… and that they may teach their children

6:2 — so that you, and your son, and your grandson might fear The Lord your God…

6:7-9 –teach them diligently to your sons, 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead, You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (in other words, you should be zealous and enthusiastic in every circumstance to keep my ways before you and to make them known to others)

6:20-25—when your son asks you in time to come, saying….

I’ve been a believer now for over 33 years and have been hanging around Christians for a long time. I have five children and because of my children hanging out with other children and their families, I have known a lot of parents. From my experiences with other parents and their confiding in me, I believe there is much room for growth in the area of parents talking to their children about God. Although it seems to be so clearly communicated by God of His desire for us to do so.

I’m talking about more than telling our kids who Jesus is and asking them a passing question on how they liked Sunday School, or Children’s Church. What I believe we can do so much better in, as Christian parents is to tell our children of our daily experiences on what it means to walk with God, good and bad. Yes, you need to be age-appropriate in how much you should share with them. But, our kids need to realistically know what our faith is all about. What does a prompting from the Holy Spirit look like? What does it mean to “die to self”? What does it look like to “pray in faith”? Why should we be reading the Bible daily ? Is Bible reading, or going to church just something to do like an item that is on a checklist?

Our kids need to know what our faith is all about–both the doctrinal truths, as well as the practical how-to’s of living it out. And, there is no one more trusted, no one more influential in their lives than their father and mother.

Fathers, mothers, let me encourage you to fulfill your responsibilities to share with your children your experiences with God and to inquire of them what their experiences are like. Let us seek to learn and encourage each other regarding our relationships with God through Jesus Christ, and His indwelling Holy Spirit. Maybe as we do, and our enthusiasm grows in talking about our mutual faith, well, maybe our faith will go viral!

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