As parents we rightly focus on teaching our children to obey God. But, we must be more focused on teaching our children to love God first. This is where it is easy to turn away from the gospel in parenting. Whether you read Deuteronomy, Matthew or Colossians, the first thing that God desires is that he is to be loved. Too often, when it comes to raising children, loving God is tacked on as an after thought to obedience. The thought process may run like this:
"I can't force my children to love God, so I will teach them to obey, because I can require that."
Teaching obedience appears to be a more doable task than teaching the love of God. After all, reaching the heart of your child appears to be way beyond our capacity. Of course, it is beyond your capacity, but not beyond God's!
Think of the people of whom God required love as a condition of obedience:
The children of Israel were a hard-hearted, complaining bunch. But Moses tells them that their first responsibility is to love God with all their hearts (Deuteronomy 10:12-13; 6:4-7). In Isaiah 29:13 teaches that rote obedience is turning from God.