Now, based upon these scriptures, we learn that we should train up our children in the way of the Lord so they can grow up to be Christian adults. Yes, sometimes our children will stray away from the Christian principles that are taught to them, but just like the prodigal son who strayed away from his father’s love and later came back home when he repented, if our children are taught the way of the Lord, even though they may stray away for a time, in God’s own time, they will come back to living the Christian principles that they were taught.
Before I go into the discussion there are two things I want us to look at-
1. When it comes to the raising of your children, one of the most important things that all parents must learn is that if you have more than one child, you have two very different people in your hands. Every child is different and unique. One child can be very gregarious and the other can be very quiet.
One can be very gifted in the area of music, and another will be gifted with her hands. One child will be happy to stand up and speak in public, and another would die a thousand deaths before they would ever stand up in front of other people. You learn very quickly that there aren’t that many hard and fast rules because children are individuals and children are different. And each child has to be treated as an individual.
2. What you do to raise your children is going to vary. It is going to change because your children are going to change as they grow up.
I will describe children growth in four phases: Phase one is discipline. This phase covers the period from birth until five years of age. This is when you establish that you love your children and that you care about them, but that you are the one who is in authority.
Phase Two is the phase of training. It takes place from age six to 12. To use a sports analogy, a trainer works with an athlete each day in different settings, going through drills and exercises, getting the children ready to play the game of life.
Phase Three is the phase of coaching. That is from ages 13 to 19. Now the children are in the game of life for themselves. We can send plays in from the sidelines and help during the time outs, but we can no longer stop the game and show them how it is to be played. They are now calling the plays themselves and moving forward.
Phase Four is the friendship phase.The relational goal of our parenting is friendship with our children. Although the parent-child relationship does not cease, both the parent and child eventually enter into a new season of life. So what starts out with discipline goes to training, coaching, and if all goes well when your children become adults, they will eventually enter the phase of friendship. The way you are dealing with your children today is going to be specific as to who they are as individuals. It is also going to be specific as to where they are along the age spectrum of life.
The verse of Proverb 22:6 can be divided into three parts:
1. Command: The command is to train a child.Take the food of life, the water of life, the truth of life, the instruction about life right to your child and put it on his lips. Feed him now so that later he’ll be able to feed himself. Show him the right direction to go so that when he is old he will stay in the same direction that you have started him.
What is it going to take to do this?
1. Sensitivity to your children, to understand their individual needs.
2. Discipline. It is the willingness to get involved in the affairs of life with your children, especially when they have done wrong.
3. Flexibility, because you are going to discover that what worked yesterday and the day before and last month no longer works. As your children grow up, the methods have to change and be flexible.
4. Diligence. Staying with the stuff in regards to your children, because raising children today is difficult. It is not a one day or a one month or one year job.
5. A great deal of time. A specific investment of your heart and mind.
2. The Direction: it is not train up a child in the way he would go, but train up a child in the way he shouldgo.” That is one reason God made parents, especially Christian parents, because Christian parents who love the Lord ought to know the way their children should go—the way of righteousness, truth, obedience, honesty, integrity, and values.
3. The Principle: “And when he is old he will not turn from it.”Our problem is not with the verse, our problem is with our kids.
What do you do if you’re a parent and your children are grown up, away from the Lord? I have four answers to that question, for parents who pray for 30 and 40 year old children.
1. Be honest about your feelings. Honesty is important. Admit the hurt and pain in your heart.
2. Never give up hope. Our God is the God of hope.
3. Love your children no matter who they are or where they are or what they’re doing.
4. Keep on praying. Don’t ever give up.
The first letter in the word “child” is the letter “c”. And the letter “c” stands for “Christ Jesus.” We must teach and train our children in the way of Jesus Christ because John 14:6 says that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man can come to the Father but by Him. We must teach and train our children the way of Jesus Christ because He is the Savior of the world. We must teach and train our children about what the Word says about Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, God in human flesh, who was born in a virgin birth of a virgin woman, who perform many great miracles, who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead so that we might have everlasting life. We must train and teach our children to put their trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation, and for their daily needs.
The second letter in the word “child” is letter “h”. And the letter “h” stands for “holiness.” We must teach and train our children to be holy because I Peter 1:15-16 says, “But as he which hath called you is holy; so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” To teach our children to be holy means to teach our children to be Christ-like in everything they do or say. But to teach our children to be holy, we must discover what the third letter in “child”.
The third letter in “child” is “i”, and “i” means “instructions.” To teach and train our children about Jesus Christ, and how to live holy, they must be taught and trained with biblical instruction. And, we find biblical instructions in the Word of God. 2nd Timothy 2:15-17 says “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scripture which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.” All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Now, how should we train and teach our children about Jesus Christ and how to live holy? Well the last two letters in “child” tells how us we can do it. The fourth letter in the word “child” is “l” and “l” means “love”. We must love our children enough to train and teach them about Jesus Christ. We must love our children enough to train and teach them to be holy in everything they do, say, or think. The scriptures say that if we do anything without love, including training up our children in the Lord, we have done nothing. So we must teach and train our children in love if we want to help them grow in their Christian faith.
Lastly, the last letter in the word, “child” is “d”, and “d” stands for “discipline.” Yes, we are to love our children while we are training them up in the way they should go in the LORD Jesus Christ, but that does not mean we should let them get away with every little thing.
Proverbs 13:24 says, He that spare his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth his betimes.
Proverbs 19:18 says, “Chasten thy son while there is still hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”
Proverbs 22:15 says,“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
Proverbs 23:13 says, “Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”
To train up a child in the way of the Lord we must train and teach them about Christ. We must train and teach them how to be holy in everything they do, say, or think. We also have to train and teach our children with biblical instructions from the word of God with love and discipline.
PASTOR OLUWAYIMIKA ANIBABA
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