THE HOUSE THAT WISDOM BUILT
As you spend time with family this holiday season, look for the treasures that building a godly household provides. Since wisdom is seeing life from God's point of view and then acting upon that godly knowledge, Proverbs, the book of godly wisdom, is an excellent place to immerse our families with practical principles for living.
Read through Proverbs during family devotions and have each member list the characteristics of a godly home. Younger children may wish to DRAW their "characteristics," so provide paper, crayons or markers. Kids love to ACT OUT things, so let them dramatize a characteristic and you guess what they are doing and what biblical principle it illustrates. You could also keep a FAMILY JOURNAL of your "discoveries" from Proverbs.
Keep the devotional time short. No longer than 15 minutes, unless the kids are really "into it" and just don't want to stop. Hey, it could happen! Concentrate on one verse or principle at a time. Discuss how the wise characteristic can impact the daily life of each family member. Conclude your time together by PRAYING for God's power and grace to implement the characteristic for that day. You might even have a special surprise waiting for the child who is able to report during the next devotional time how he/she implemented the characteristic.
A TREASURE BOX of inexpensive goodies/trinkets/coupons that is only opened during devotions is a fun way to reinforce godly principles. Our family was blessed with a grandpa who loved to do wood-working, so he crafted us a beautiful wooden box (similar to a pirate's treasure chest) with a special brass latch that made the experience all the more alluring. Your box can be anything you want it to be! You might decide to let the kids help craft the treasure chest out of a shoebox, scrap lumber, or a plastic Rubbermaid container. Let your imagination be your guide!
EXAMPLE OF FAMILY DEVOTIONS FROM PROVERBS:
READ Proverbs 1:5: "A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel." (Try reading in different translations).
CHARACTERISTIC FOR TODAY: TEACHABLE
PRINCIPLE TO LEARN AND APPLY:
A wise person will allow other members of his family to offer constructive criticism or advice. He will listen, evaluate, and make a decision before God. But he is willing to be taught, to learn from other members, even if they are younger than he is. (How often I have gleaned a helpful insight from one of my kids! And how useful and good that makes them feel!) It benefits the entire family when members are teachable. The reverse is also true: it affects the entire family negatively when members insist on their own way and refuse help of any kind. DISCUSS further thoughts as a family and how the principle can be APPLIED to each life today.
Don't worry about "conquering" the entire book of Proverbs. Go at a pace your family can tolerate. Often small chunks are absorbed and remembered better than large chunks. So don't overdose!
Most of all, have fun! Laugh! Lighten up! God's Word should be a place the kids want to visit. A place of joy and rest. Even as truths bring conviction, as we submit to God's growing process, we discover joy and rest for our souls. Help your children understand that obedience to God yields the peaceable fruit of right living (Hebrews 12:11). Be an example of what it means to be a spiritually alive and growing person. Make memories around God's Word as a family!
Have fun discovering the house that wisdom built this holiday season as you work your way through Proverbs!