by Dr. Voddie Baucham
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” – DEUTERONOMY 6:6
A proper understanding of biblical love is the foundation upon which a child’s spiritual life is built. However, that foundation is only the first step. If biblical love is the foundation, a biblical worldview is the frame. It is imperative that we prepare children to think biblically. A child without a biblical worldview is like a ballplayer without a playbook. He may have spectacular abilities that will allow him to make the occasional jaw-dropping play, but more often than not he will end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and worse, not knowing how he got there or how to get back.
A Lesson from the Gridiron
I played football in college. My sophomore year I went through a coaching change. I spent one year under the leadership of head coach Jerry Burnt and his staff. Then out of the blue Coach Burnt was gone, and my teammates and I were introduced to the regime of Fred Goldsmith. Chances are you don’t recognize either of these men by name. Needless to say, my university was far better known for its academics than for its football team, but to us it was a big deal.
From the outside coaching changes look simple enough. One man is on the sidelines yelling, “Come on, guys!” and it’s just not working. Therefore, you go get another man to stand on the sidelines and yell, “Let’s go, guys!” and hope that he gets better results. Of course, anyone who has ever played football knows that’s not the case. Changing coaches is a tremendous undertaking.
One of the most difficult components of a coaching change is adapting to philosophy and terminology. Football is a simple game, but there are several different ways to approach the art and science of getting that piece of pig across the chalk line (and stopping the other guy from doing the same). Some coaches emphasize speed; others prefer size. Some coaches want to throw the ball all over the place, while others want to grind it out on the ground with the running game. Moreover, some guys use words to describe plays, while others use numbers. In many ways learning a new coach’s philosophy and terminology is like learning a new language (and some are more complicated than others). That’s why some players can thrive under certain coaches but flounder with others.
In many ways salvation is like a coaching change. We go from one regime (the world, the flesh, and the devil) to another (Christ). Like a player faced with a new coach, we must learn our new play-book and our new coach’s philosophy and terminology as quickly and as thoroughly as possible if we hope to succeed. Unfortunately, many Christians are either oblivious to the larger implications of these truths or never take the time to incorporate them into their everyday walk.
We must change not only our allegiance but also our language and thinking. I believe this is what Moses means when he says, “These words … shall be on your heart.” This is not just a call to do what God says; this is a call to submit our very will to the will of God. As we saw in Chapter 3 [of Family Driven Faith,] the use of the Hebrew word for heart in this passage is used to indicate volition and will. This is a call to a complete worldview overhaul.
Peter Craigie notes:
The Commandments, which provide the framework within which the Israelites could express their love of God, were to be upon your heart–thatis, the people were to think on them and meditate about them, so that obedience would not be a matter of formal legalism, but a response based upon understanding. 1
John Calvin, commenting on the same passage, puts an even finer point on the matter when he writes:
He would have it implanted in their hearts, lest forgetfulness of it should ever steal over them; and by the word “heart” He designates the memory and other faculties of the mind; as though He had said that this was so great a treasure, that there was good cause why they should hide it in their hearts, or so fix this doctrine deeply in their minds that it should never escape. 2
Hence, the goal of Moses’ teaching was not to lead Israel toward rote memorization or wooden adherence to the Law. The goal was a change in the very way God’s people thought.
When we come to God, everything changes. We begin to use words like faith, salvation, andeternity. More than that, our behaviors and attitudes begin to be transformed. In short, coming to faith means changing worldviews. I believe this truth has at least two very significant implications as it relates to raising godly children.
First, if following the Lord means changing our worldview, we must acquire a basic understanding of what a worldview entails. Second, if our worldview must change, the biblical world view is not our default position. In other words, if biblical worldview thinking were normal for us, there would be no need to adapt our worldview when we come to faith. Thus it is essential that we learn what a worldview is in general and the biblical worldview in particular.
Researcher George Barna suggests that people do not get a biblical worldview simply by regularly attending church. He argues, “A biblical worldview must be both taught and caught-that is, it has to be explained and modeled. Clearly, there are huge segments of the Christian body that are missing the benefit of such a comprehensive and consistent expression of biblical truth.”3
This article is excerpted from Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God by Voddie Baucham, with permission from the author.
1. Peter C. Craigie, “The Book of Deuteronomy,” The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, R. K. Harrison and Robert L . Hubbard, Jr., eds. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1976), 170.
2. John Calvin, Harmony of the Law, Vol. I; http://www.ccel.org/c/calvin/comment3/comm_voI03/htrn/v.xv.htm. Accessed August 30, 2005.
3. The Barna Group; http://www.barna.orglFlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=156.