Yesterday, we talked about how rules are an extension of our values. We want our kids to follow rules so they can learn the values behind them. Today, I want to extend that conversation and talk about how our values are guided by our hearts. Just like my kids can be motivated by a pack of Silly Bandz, what we seek in our hearts creates our values. We need to be sure that our hearts are set on the right things or our values, and thus our rules will be out of whack.
Matthew 6:19-21 says "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Our actions are always guided by that on which we set our hearts. The Bible is clear that our hearts should be set on God. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God.
We want God to be the first thing that our hearts are set on. When we put other things in God's place, our values become skewed. If we love money more than God, our priorities will be on the things that will make us more money. If we love our friends more than God, our priorities will be on things that bring us more popularity. Any time we put something in front of God, we make it an idol. Our heart becomes set on it, and it begins to have control in our lives.
Before you look to teach this concept to your kids, examine your own life to see if you have put anything in front of God in your life. Are you seeking after Him or has your heart led you down a different path than the one that follows God? Are you letting some other "thing" take God's rightful place in your heart? Do you have rules in place that reflect values that aren't important to God? If so, examine the reasons for those rules and see if you really want to enforce them.
You can use a quick demonstration to show your kids the importance of keeping your heart focused on God.
- Have your kids choose a point in the distance -- a tree, a fencepost, etc. You choose a point in the opposite direction. Have them walk toward the point you chose while looking at the point they chose. It will be really difficult for them to get to the point you chose in any sort of straight line. Talk with them about how hard it is to go in one direction when your sights are set on something else. Share Matthew 6:21 with them and talk with them about how when we set our hearts on something, that thing will guide our actions.
- Offer your kids a small prize for doing some action. Make them do something crazy that they wouldn't normally do. After you give them their prize ask them if they would have chosen to do that crazy thing on their own. Talk about how because their heart was set on the prize, they chose to do something outside the norm. While that's not always a bad thing, when our hearts our set on the wrong things, we can end up doing wrong things that we wouldn't normally do.
- Talk with your kids about setting their hearts on God. Explain that when we put God first, we are more likely to do things that are pleasing to God. Ask your kids what types of things they think they will be more likely to do if their main goal is to please God. Help them list off the types of actions that God finds pleasing.