Teaching from the Lord
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
What are the four of the most important jobs a parent has?
- Provide for the health and well-being of your child.
- Love them.
- Raise them to become functional adults who can care for themselves and others.
- Raise them in the faith so they know Jesus.
In His wisdom, God chose to create human beings and wire them to flourish within families. The family unit provides shelter, stability, love, and people to teach and train the child. God teaches us and we pass it on.
Keeping the Child Alive
Most people naturally understand the first job. Your child depends on you to live. You must feed them, provide shelter, and protect them from danger.
The second job really sums up all the parental responsibilities. After all, feeding your kids and teaching them are acts of love. However, it also includes caring for your child’s emotional well-being, playing with them, giving hugs, telling them you love them, and, generally, making sure they know they are loved.
Raise Functional Adults
Our passage for today speaks to this as well as to the next one. There have been movements in the past that pushed letting children figure things out for themselves. There are two problems with this philosophy.
- It implies that there is no right or wrong, moral or immoral, or true faith. Clearly this is not the case. So, God, who defines right and wrong and wants us to live in relationship with Him through faith, tells us to train up our children knowing right from wrong and knowing Him.
- It’s bad science. God’s Word is enough for us to reject this concept, but even our own scientific studies have shown that children need boundaries and discipline to thrive. They want it…even if they think they don’t.
The Bible provides a great deal of guidance about life both regarding faith and day to day living. Proverbs, in particular, was written primarily for teaching the youth wisdom for life.
One last quick note on this – notice it says train, not teach. Training is more involved and involves practice and reinforcement. Training involves discipline, which the Bible speaks to as well.
“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” – Proverbs 13:24
Raise Children in the Faith
Lastly, and most importantly, parents are to teach their children about Jesus, raising them in the faith. This impacts all areas of life and, of course, their eternal salvation.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Parents have the primary responsibility to raise their children in the faith which is why having family devotions and finding other “teachable moments” throughout the day are important. However, they are not alone. The whole church plays a role in teaching our children about Jesus and helping them to live out their faith.
If You Do Not Have Children
If you do not have children, you can still be a part of helping to raise the children of the church in the faith. You may teach Sunday school, help with youth group, or just be a friend to our younger members. Often, you’ll find you learn just as much as they do.
“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” – Proverbs 23:22
God’s message to our children is to listen to their parents, but sometimes they don’t. Despite the best efforts of parents, there are times when children grow up and leave the faith. Ultimately, the faith of each person, our children included, is between God and that person. So, we do everything we can, praying, teaching, training, etc., but we must leave it to God.
So, let us pray for our children. Let us teach them and train them what we, ourselves, have learned from God.
Thank You for children. Please help us to love and provide for our children. Show us how to best train them up in the way they should go, especially to know You and love You.
In Christ’s Service,