First Mennonite Morton



  • Nov23Tue

    Traditions for Faith

    November 23, 2021 Aaron Yoder
    Filed Under:
    Faith, Disciple-making, Parenting

    You may listen to this 4-minute devotional by clicking here.

    JOSHUA 24:15 (ESV)

    “If it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”


    As I was growing up, there were several moments throughout our day that signified that we were a Christian family.  I was aware that my parents would read their Bibles and take time to pray for others.  But at mealtime, we would usually sing a Christ-centered song and pray in Jesus’ name.  Before bedtime, we would either read a Bible story or recite a portion of Scripture before taking time to pray.  In addition, there would be times in which we would watch faith-based shows or listen to Bible-based audio programs for kids.  Whenever the radio was on, it was always tuned to the local Christian radio station or playing some kind of worship music. 

    I don’t believe these habits were legalistically forced upon us.  Of course, we still watched network TV, read books from the local library and played the games that children like to play.  But faith flowed into our family because my parents had a living relationship with Jesus. 

    Now a parent myself, I recognize that these habits of reading, praying, singing, etc. took some intentional effort on their part.  They could have kept their faith to themselves, but they lovingly formed family habits to make Jesus central in our home throughout every day of the year.

    Of everything that I am thankful for, the environment of my home growing up makes it to the top of the list.  My parents were seeking to capture the heart of Joshua 24:15.

    When Joshua gave his parting words to the nation of Israel, he was making a declaration that regardless of what happened in the families around him, he and his family would serve the Lord.  This didn’t mean that Joshua had the divine authority to force his children and grandchildren to love God.  No one can change the heart of a person except God alone.  But rather it meant that his family would be marked by intentional habits of faith formation, much like that which is described in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. 

    They would talk about God’s good and holy nature while at home, at work and while traveling.  They would find opportunities to have faith conversations in the morning and evening.  Scripture would be memorized or recited as a normal rhythm of life.  They would daily point their children and grandchildren to the Almighty God while rejecting the cultural idols that were within their surrounding culture. 

    If we fast forward to Judges chapter 2, we can easily see that not many families were like Joshua’s.  Too many people did not have habits of faith formation at home.  Therefore, the next generation embraced idolatry and destroyed themselves.

    In our culture, Thanksgiving week marks the beginning of a month of ‘traditions.’  People will be gathering to eat, drink, shop, talk, give and be entertained.  All these habits can be a great source of joy.  But the question to ask is, ‘Will any of our habits be done for the sake of pointing people to Jesus?’ 

    As you enter into the traditional holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, consider looking for ways to establish old or new habits of faith formation.  Even if our surrounding culture doesn’t exalt Jesus, let’s let our small gatherings and moments at home be marked as moments which serve the Lord. 

    Jesus, give us creativity and wisdom to intentionally exalt you during this holiday season.  Amen!

    Leave a Comment