by Jani Ortlund
If you are a Christian parent, then you understand the awesome, sometimes overwhelming, responsibility and joy we have in sharing our faith in Jesus Christ with our children. Having not been raised to honor Jesus over self, I often wonder how I’m doing when it comes to raising children who delight in knowing God and loving Him. In His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy Jani Ortlund emphasizes that delighting in the Lord is caught more than taught. If I want my children to love the Lord with all of their hearts, souls, minds and strengths, then it is imperative that I love Him that much.
The psalmist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tells us that one of the keys to raising godly, mighty, blessed children is found in a man fearing the Lord and taking great delight in his commandments…His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy will invite you into deeper delight in God as we consider how he loves us through the Ten Commandments. The purpose of this book is to help you pass on that delight to the children in your world.
In the introduction, Ortlund asks the reader to consider her disposition to God’s word. She asks, What kind of theology are you living out before the children in your life? What kind of God do your actions, your words, your responses to daily life show them? She asks heart-probing questions regarding worship. Then she asks the reader to consider her attitude toward God’s law.
Either we will feel that God is too hard of a master, and we will withdraw into a moral universe of our own making where we write our own laws (Judges 2:12; 21:25), or we will turn to God, who offers us Christ as the perfect Savior for sinners.
God’s commands are a blessing in that they point us to our Savior. According to Ortlund, our children need to see and feel our wholehearted love for Christ by our caring, loving obedience to his law. Not a frowning obedience, but one that is motivated by love and delight because Jesus is our Savior.
Each chapter focuses on one commandment, what it prohibits and what it commands. In reading this book, I learned that the Ten Commandments are far more than a list of “Thou shalt nots.” Ortlund helped me to see that God includes far more “Thou shalts.” God’s people ought to be known by what they do more than what they do not do. And as Ortlund makes clear, what we do makes following the Lord’s commands a delight to parents and children. With every command, Ortlund emphasizes that we can never perfectly obey God’s law, that we must be made new in Christ, that the Old Covenant points us to the New Covenant in Christ.
The chapters are meant to be read by an adult rather than read aloud during family devotions. After reading the chapter, the adult uses the personal study and discussion questions, which are helpful for evaluating how well he or she is living out the commandment and preparing him for teaching and leading the family discussion.
Ortlund also provides the lesson plans for sharing the commandment with children. She lists the materials needed for that chapter’s lesson, instructions for use, and questions for family discussion. How each family utilizes these lessons is left up to the reader, but I think these lessons will take a full week for my family to accomplish. The number of questions/discussion points varies between five and nine for each chapter. It’s not too much, but more than our family can cover in one devotion time, as we have young children. The bonus for taking a full week for each commandment is that it gives both parents and children an opportunity to put the lesson into practice (which is going to include repentance). Ortlund also suggests memory verses for the family to memorize together.
I enjoyed this book and am anxious to utilize it for our family worship time. I am very happy to recommend it for you and your family.
His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy is available at these online retailers: