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Seizing the Teachable Moments

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
The Faith, Obedience and Sin Principles are three important truths we must teach our children.

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When we teach our children God’s Word, our goal is not simply to fill their heads with an accumulation of facts. We read in Scripture that knowledge, alone, puffs us up. Instead, we want the Bible to come alive for our children as we study it together during family worship time. In the 10th segment of a 20-article series, Dr. Dunlap tells us how we can better achieve this goal by seizing “teachable moments.”

Teaching is the fourth element of family worship. The goal of teaching is to make the scriptures come alive for our family. We do this by relating biblical truths and principles to specific life situations. As parents, we should be alert to “learner readiness” in our children’s lives. When they ask questions, we must be prepared to answer them and to seize the “teachable moments.”

Strive to teach your family to love God—not merely to accumulate knowledge.

There are thirteen life principles that parents should seek to invest in their children as they lead them in family devotions from year to year. The first is the Faith Principle. This principle states that the greatest goal in a Believer’s life is to live to the glory and pleasure of God. The writer of Ephesians 2:8-10 enlarges on this principle:

For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Children should understand that the key to real freedom is in cheerfully obeying God-ordained authorities.

The second life principle is the Obedience Principle. This principle states that the key to living a successful and blessed life is to learn to respond instantly and obediently to God and to those people in authority over us. Jesus tells us in John 14:15,

If you love me, you will obey what I command.


We cannot claim to love God if we refuse to obey Him.


The third life principle that Christian parents must teach their children is the Sin Principle. This principle states that when we do not utterly repent of a particular sin and remove it from our lives, it will increase and seriously hinder our spiritual growth.

Use family worship time as an opportunity to teach children to “reckon themselves as dead to sin and alive to Christ Jesus.”

The writer of Romans 6:6,7 declares,

For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.


Parents should speak often to their children of the reaping and sowing principle. They must not fail to teach their sons and daughters that even after God forgives us of a specific sin, we often bear the hurtful consequences of our sinful choices. Parents should be careful to communicate the vital truth that although God’s grace is gloriously free, it is not cheap.



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