“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” - Luke 6:40

 A new school year is about to begin. It seems appropriate, therefore, to be thinking about things like teaching and learning. The word “catechism” generally refers to a systematic method of teaching, usually using questions and answers. As I was preparing to write this, I stumbled across something pretty cool. It’s called the New City Catechism. It was developed by The Gospel Coalition under the guidance of the late Tim Keller. It’s worth checking out online. We love to do things in threes, for some reason, so I chose three questions and answers to talk about just a little bit as we ready ourselves and our children for a new school year.

1. What is our only hope in life and in death?
Answer: That we are not our own but belong to God.

This one was taken from the Heidelberg Catechism. It has always struck me as something that should seem obvious, yet we frequently forget it, especially as it concerns our children. Parents, your children are not yours. They are God’s. They have been entrusted to you for the purpose of raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Remember that no matter how much you love them, God loved them first and loves them best. It seems a little tough to swallow sometimes, but it truly is our only hope and comfort. We belong to a Father who loves us perfectly and completely. As you send them out the door each school day, remember in whose hands they truly are, and commit them entirely to His care.

6. How can we glorify God?
Answer: By loving Him and obeying His commands and law.

We all love it when our children excel in academics or sports or music or art or whatever things for which they have found a passion. And it’s good to let them know we are proud of them. But no matter what our children accomplish, the most important thing is not what they do, but how and why they do it. Encourage their confidence, but also their humility and their obedience. All things, always, should be to the glory of God because we love Him, not because we love and wish to glorify ourselves.

20. Who is the Redeemer?
Answer: The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our children are growing up in a world that more often than not teaches them that they are just fine, that whatever they feel, think, or even do is entirely valid. We live in a culture of demigods who do as they please and scoff at the idea that they even need redemption, let alone that it can be found in only one man. No matter how you educate them—public school, private school, virtual school, or home school-- they will be exposed to this philosophy. It’s everywhere. Daily remind them that we all fall short of the glory of God and that we desperately need Jesus.

When a student is fully trained, he will be like his teacher. The chief teacher for your children, no matter how you choose to school them, is still you. Teach them well, nurture them in the Word, love them like nobody’s business, and know that they are the beloved creations of a loving Father who desires only their benefit. My prayers go with them—and you—in the coming school year.


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