Training Up Children
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Susannah Wesley believed that for a child to grow into a self-disciplined adult, he/she must first be a parent-disciplined child. To her, the stubborn flesh was the hardest battle for Christians to fight, and godly parents would do well to equip their children to overcome it early.
To train up children, means that we as parents, must discipline our children, not necessarily in the way they would go, (in a sinful and corrupt manner) but in the way they should go. Directing them with a gentle, yet firm hand, while nurturing them and developing a heart of love towards God––––a parents mandate. As our children grow up, the prayer of a parent should be: “Please Lord, may our children never depart from the training we have invested in them through the teaching of the Word of God.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
It has been said, “Labor in childbirth is only the beginning–––genuine labor takes place when the teaching, discipling, instructing and the admonishing of a child occurs.” A child, in the early years of their lives, needs to be seasoned with salt as to retain the savor, excitement, enjoyment and delight of the things of God during those tender years. Salt preserves, protects and guards against spoil. We as parents must season our children’s lives with the quality and flavor of the Word of God–––to safeguard them against the cunning devices of Satan. We must be consistent in the disciplining of our children and as parents, we are to be obedient to the Lord in our own lives.
Raising children today is challenging. We must explain issues we wish they never had to face and our children will experience things we never had to address. Our world is threatened by terrorism and economic uncertainty. Some of us may have to guide our children through divorce, poverty, or even the death of a parent or loved one. Unhealthy influences from the media or peers beckon our children, pressuring them to engage in unsafe activities. Disease is on the rise and it seems everyone we know, that is sick, has cancer. Our fears for our children are grimly realistic, while the world around us only presents more frightening questions, with no truth in their answers.
The secret to raising children in this society is our daily dependence upon God. We cannot train our children up without realizing the high calling of God upon our lives as mothers and fathers. Susanna Wesley taught her children that when she put her apron over her head that was a signal to leave her alone. She recognized her daily dependence on God, and prioritized her relationship with Him. (I’m not saying you need to wear an apron over your head like Susanna Wesley did, but having a daily dependence upon God is essential in training up children in this world).
Thought: There is only one right way to train up children and that is God’s way. The book of Proverbs clearly defines in great detail, that early child training in the ways of God, secures lifelong habits and character building traits parents must insist upon. Teaching God’s Word and enforcing it’s teachings with loving discipline throughout the child’s life, is a practice parents must consistently adhere to during those challenging, child training days.
“You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately... yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur.” Quote by Charles (Chuck) Swindoll
Joshua 24:15 ~ And if it seem evil (disagreeable) unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Joshua was a model parent and an example to Israel admonishing them to serve the Lord, not false gods. He challenged his family and others to commit themselves to serving the Lord. They wisely listened to his counsel and followed his example.
Joshua 24:24 ~ And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.