Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spiritual Imprinting

This Summer, I have been reading & listening (audio-book) my way through Organic Church by Neil Cole.  In this book, he draws the connection between something that happens in nature among animals like ducks and geese and in the Church among people - Imprinting.  Imprinting's best-known form is filial imprinting, in which a young creature acquires several of its behavioral characteristics from its parent. He references the movie, Fly Away Home, and how there are times when the young may imprint on the wrong thing.  Unfortunately, the church has at times misguided a new disciple by allowing him/her to imprint on something or someone other than our Creator God and Jesus Christ.

This made me think about the Natural Imprinting that takes place within the home.  In child development, the term is used to refer to the process by which a baby learns who its mother and father are. This process begins in the womb, when an unborn baby starts to recognize its parents' voices,[1] and then continues when a child reflects the speech patterns, mannerisms, gestures, humor and character traits of the parents.

I believe strongly that Spiritual Imprinting also takes place in the home during the early development of a child.  As a Parent, I must recognize that my children are observing, imprinting and reflecting my own spiritual behavior.

I was asked recently, "How do I pass along a love for the Bible to my children?"  What a great question!  As parents, we want so desperately to pass along what we know "is Best" for our children in every area of life.  As we live out the every moments of our lives according to Deut. 6:5-7, we must intentionally display our own spiritual behavior so that our children can imprint properly.  We want our children to Love God and His Word, to remain in continual communication with God through prayer and respond to God's Word in loving Obedience because that is what "is Best".  So consider how much you as parents and leaders in your home and church demonstrate a love for God's Word, for Prayer, and to Obey God? Your children are observing and imprint on your love no matter the quality of that love.

It is so important that we practice reading God's Word around and with our children.  Pray out loud for more than just the meals, and invite our children to participate with us in prayer.  Above all, we must be intentionally obedient to God and other authorities, and when we fail, accept responsibility, seek forgiveness through confession and repentance, and embrace restoration through the blood of Jesus Christ by living out the reality of the Gospel because our children are imprinting on your Spiritual Behavior.

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