Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Yesterday it was my birthday and I received a special present from my daughter. Oh, it was not a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers – nor my favourite perfume. In fact, it was not anything tangible – but rather she gave me a list of scripture verses. These were no ordinary Bible verses, but ones she prays over her children – daily. These 7 Scriptures are the dear desire of her heart for her two young, precious children. This is the prayer that all parents would be wise to claim and pray over their own dear ones.
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 up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 There is no more important lesson to pass on to our children than to love the Lord – not a half-hearted, 'take-it-or-leave' it love, but a deep-rooted affection for God.
Loving the Lord with every fibre of our being is not an option but His clear command, for God knows that all that makes for life and peace, wholeness and health is in Him. Such training should not be apathetic or half-hearted, but brimming with fervent joy. Such teaching should not be now-and-then, but each opportunity should be grasped.
This directive to love the Lord with our whole being should be our joy and delight, and were we to apply this in our lives, our joy would be complete – in Christ. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it". Proverbs 22:6
The way of the world is in stark opposition to the directive of our Lord and King, but this is a promise that we should both apply in life and continue to pray through. Every promise of God is 'yes' and 'amen' in Christ to those that are His children, but this is a promise from God that partners with our own responsibility as parents.
The wise parent starts to both pray-for, and teach their child in the way they should go. The word of God and the truth it contains is milk and meat in our children’s training. In both instruction and by example every child can be trained to follow the right path. In doctrine and duty the child can be taught to delight in the way that they should go, and the sure promise of God remains, that when they are old they will not depart from it.
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness". 2 Timothy 3:16 Timothy was an example of a man that was taught the Holy Scripture from childhood.. and what a wonderful heritage his mother and grandmother gave this youngster. He was pastor/teacher to a little flock and Paul taught him mighty scriptural truths. And Paul’s letter to Timothy opens our understanding of the God-breathed scriptures. The eternal significance of the bible for all mankind is demonstrated in this verse. How important, therefore to teach our children to love God’s word as a child.
"Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck". Proverbs 1:8-9 The importance of both parents in training a child in the way they go is seen here, and what a wonderful legacy is bequeathed to all children who are thus taught. There is no greater inheritance a child can receive than instruction in the Scriptures. There is no more vital thing for a child to digest than the guidance of godly parents.
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord". Ephesians 6:4 Though this is a Scripture that is directed to fathers – it has applicability to mothers. The father is head of the family and his help-meet has an equal yet submissive role. No child can learn the discipline of Scripture when parents vie for seniority. The joint role of parents, with fathers in their God-given role, makes for united families. Husbands should love their wives with the same love that Christ loved the church. Wives should be submissive to the head of their family, united under Christ – and then children will have a secure foundation on which to build their faith.
"All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace". Isaiah 54:13 What a wonderful thought is expressed in this verse – God will teach your children. Children taught in a biblically-based household will be found – at peace. We live in a time when the pagan mindset of the world is eroding Christian homes, but God will honour all that, in His strength, teach their children to love the Lord. He will bless all who, in His strength, endeavour to bring up their children to trust Him, He will keep His promise to protect your children from all the enemy’s assaults.
When you give your children to the Lord He will fulfil your heart's desire, for they love the Lord your God with all their heart – and develop a sincere faith – in Christ… and when they are old they will not depart from it. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth". 3 John 1:4
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