Can Godly Parents Rear Godly Children? Part II

by | Jun 1, 2011

Scripture: Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”

Synopsis of Part 1

Can you have assurance that your child will go to heaven, or is the decision to bring a child into the world a gamble with a never-dying soul? Although most people believe that Proverbs 22:6 is not an absolute promise, I have claimed it as a promise of God for the rearing of children.

True, all children are born with the self-centeredness of inherited depravity that inclines them to sin. But godly parents are challenged to counter this inclination by lovingly and faithfully training them in the way they should go—that is, in the ways of the Lord revealed in Scripture.

The first part of this sermon (God’s Revivalist, May 2011, page 17) focused on “The Mandated Training” which parents must implement.

While this involves many things, three factors were emphasized.

  1. First, you must “dedicate your child to the Lord.” This involves more than a formal church ceremony, for it must be demonstrated by an ongoing carefulness to stay in tune with God about the training of your children.
  2. Second, you must cultivate spiritual desires in your children. Surround them with spiritual influences, avoiding anything that would be harmful or suggestive of sin.
  3. Finally, you must incorporate discipline into their training. You must model Christlike behavior and be consistent and fair in all you do and say.

Now let’s continue our study by examining the “crucial timing” of Christian culture.

II. The Crucial Timing: “A Child …”

A. Begin at Birth.

Biblical training must begin at birth. Deuteronomy 6:4–9 indicates there are four strategic times each day parents are to teach their children:

  1. when they get up;
  2. when they travel together;
  3. when they sit together; and
  4. when they go to bed.

To be able to invest the time necessary to fulfill this responsibility, parents will have to curtail many other legitimate, pressing, and sometimes even necessary things.

For example, to interact with children in these four crucial times each day requires purpose and forethought. You can not do this with a TV on, or when you are reading a book, working on your hobby, working a second job, or when your children are with a baby-sitter.

Further, Ephesians 6:4 indicates the primary responsibility for training rests upon the father,

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Why not get together with other concerned parents in order to strategize about how to instill in your children biblical principles? Discuss what kind of things parents should talk about with their children at the four specified times each day that God says you must be teaching your children.

  • What biblical truths should we talk about in the “getting up” time?
  • What should we talk about as we “travel” together to school or to the store?
  • What biblical concepts should we talk about when we “sit down” together to eat or do other things?
  • What kind of things should we talk about at bedtime?

Be sure you make these times and talks interesting and fun. Don’t preach at your children or scold them by quoting God’s Word. For other ideas, go to trainthemdiligently.blogspot.com.

B. Be Consistent.

Biblical training begins with parental consistency of life and practice. Deuteronomy 6:5 requires parents to love the Lord with all their heart, with their whole being, and to the ultimate extent. Periodic backsliding, or “cooling off” by parents is a sure formula for spiritual disaster in child training.

When your child begins to ask you the myriad questions typical of curious minds, you must be able to give Bible-based answers.

Deuteronomy 6:6 requires parents to memorize Scripture so they will know which verses to use to answer the questions. God does not allow you to transfer the responsibility to train your child to think biblically to the church or a Christian school.

Faithful church attendance, frequent revival and camp meeting attendance, or sending your child to a Christian school may help, but it is only “supplemental” to what God expects parents to provide themselves.

It is your obligation to train up your children by precept and example.

You must show them how to do right and then supervise them, making sure they follow your teaching and example. If a particular church or attendance at revival meetings and camp meetings or a Christian school helps you teach your children how to be godly, that is good.

However, if one or more of these exerts a negative influence on your child, for whatever reason, you must protect your child from it. God will not do for you what He commands you to do for yourself.

If you devote your time to church projects or other projects that rob you of the time you need to be with your children, teaching and shaping them, such neglect may keep them from becoming the godly person you desire. In such situations, you have no one to blame but yourself!

C. Consider the Child’s Temperament.

God is serious when He commands fathers to rear their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nor is this responsibility to be transferred to the wife. She will be a helper, but the primary care and oversight of the spiritual well-being of the home rests on the father.

Further, fathers must take special care lest they provoke their child to wrath. The repetitive response of “because I said so” to an honest question is not “training” but simply a way of telling the child to be quiet and stop asking.

This frustrates and provokes a child because the parent is in essence telling the child, “It is not important for you to understand; it is only important for you to obey.” Children soon come to resent such treatment.

We are to teach our child how to make wise spiritual decisions by showing the child the thought processes and the Bible verses involved in our decision-making.

D. Be an Encourager.

Parents, don’t forget the power of your words. “Pleasant words promote instruction” (Pro. 16:21, NIV). “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Pro. 16:24). “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Pro. 12:18, NIV).

Encourage your children. Lavish praise upon them. Be sure to teach them they are destined for greatness. (Because all Christians share in Christ’s inheritance, we are going to be priests and kings to our God and reign on earth according to Rev. 5:10).

In a positive manner influence their opinion of themselves and their opinion of what it means to be a Christian. Don’t threaten them with God’s wrath or unchristianize them! You don’t want them growing up with an unhealthy, unbiblical fear of God, thinking they can never live up to His expectations.

If they do wrong, deal with their behavior, but don’t attack their character by calling them names or telling them, “Christians don’t act like that.” That is essentially telling them you don’t consider them to be Christians because they acted like that.

Such attacks are used by the enemy to quench their spiritual desire and to discourage their spiritual growth. Do not compare one child to another or your childhood to theirs.

Children grow weary hearing the phrase “when I was a child,” followed by a description of how your childhood was harder than theirs. This will not produce gratefulness in children; it will only irritate them.

E. Welcome Advice and Criticism.

Invite input from others and enlist their help. Ask people to tell you if they see wrong attitudes or behavior from your child. Don’t be touchy or defensive.

Devise methods for checking into what you hear without disclosing the source of information or falsely accusing your child.

Thank people for caring enough to alert you to problems.

III. The Promised Triumph: “And When He Is Old, He Will Not Depart From It.”

The word “old” (zaken) signifies great age. The verb, “he will not depart” (yasur), means “to turn away from, to leave, reject.” The outcome of proper training is a godly child that becomes a godly adult and a blessing to this world.

What a wonderful prospect! But what about parents who did not know how properly to raise their children to be the Lord’s? What hope is there yet that they will see their grown children converted and brought to Christ? If this is your situation, let me encourage you to persist in prayer and faithfulness.

Certainly James 5:16 offers great hope to those who will do this, for the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much. You should earnestly and continually pray for your unsaved children, remembering also Christ’s own promise,

“Ask and it shall be given you;

 

seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7).

Moreover, your own example of loving Christlikeness will go a long way in impacting your children for God. Let me urge you to share your burdens with other believers, knowing that there is great strength in united prayer and witness.

Conclusion

The Old Testament closes with a warning to fathers. God desires

“to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6).

If this fails to happen, He will strike the land with a curse.

May God help every father, along with every mother, to take seriously the Biblical prescription for rearing godly children!

Navigate