RAISING OUR CHILDREN IN THE NURTURE AND ADMONITION OF THE LORD
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” [Prov 22:6]
How much time do you spend training your children in the way of God? Do you read your Bible with them, pray with them, listen to their questions and seek to answer their questions? Are you at home enough so that you are able to listen to your children and spend quality time with them? Is it not interesting that the houses that we build today are far larger than the homes people had in the past. Yet, very often, those very large palaces are empty. Home life is so little nowadays. That is sad. To see a family sitting around a table daily to have family devotions, to eat together, to pray together — what a delight and what a blessing! Yet, we find that that is not something that is commonplace today, not even in Christian homes.
Do you take time to make sure that your children know their catechism lessons, by reviewing the work with them? After the worship service on Sunday, do you discuss the sermon with your children?
We focus on parental Christian instruction because it is so important that we not forget this love for our children while we zealously do the work of missions, loving the stranger and even loving one another in the church of Jesus Christ. It all begins here — do we take seriously our calling to teach our children the wonderful works of God? Do we realize that we have been adopted as the children of God and we know the gracious covenant of God so that now in turn we look at these children and treat them as God has treated us?
God disciplines us, does He not? Do we discipline our children? God pities us, does He not? Do we pity our children? God loves us, does He not? Do we love our children? Is Christ the Head of our homes, or is it simply a show piece, you know, like a plaque on the wall, “Christ is the head of our home,” while we, as tyrants, seek our own whims and fancies, treating our children with indifference or, worse yet, with hatred and sinful anger? Are we gone from the home so much and leave our children for others to take care of, so that really our children are more a burden to us than a blessing?
Train up the child in the way he should go. Administer careful, loving discipline to your children, so that indeed the purpose might be accomplished that your child, your son or daughter, and perhaps also your children’s children, might continue to walk in the way they should go, even the way of God through Jesus Christ.
God promises that if we train up our children in the way they should go, then when they grow up they will not depart from it. Even worldly psychologists know that a child’s formative years are the ones that have the most lasting impact on a child. If a young child learns a certain way, when he is old he will go that way. If children, at a young age, learn the ways of God, as they grow older they will not easily depart from those ways. They will tend to walk that way. Not always. But as a general rule. Oh, they might loudly say that it is not the way they want to go. But ultimately they will go that way. For God is pleased to use godly Christian parenting for the gathering of His own. That is the way He is pleased to gather His church — even in the line of generations.
This is not a blanket statement, that if we do our part, God will do His part, as if somehow salvation depends on US. We must be careful with that, you know. Sometimes, even though we faithfully raise a child, he might turn out to be ungodly.
GOD DOES NOT PROMISE TO SAVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR CHILDREN.
The important thing is that we must have a good conscience before God that we have trained up our children in the fear of God. For God does promise that in that way He is pleased to gather His people. Then, if it does not please God to save all of our children, if some of our children walk in the way of rebellion, we must not be crushed. Even then WE MUST CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR OUR CHILDREN. Who knows if that child is a prodigal who will yet return? Who knows if that child will not in later years remember the things that he learned in his formative years and turn in faith and repentance? For, you see, this is usually the way that God is pleased to save His children. This is the way, through godly Christian parenting, through training, that He gathers His children in the line of the covenant.
Maybe you will be a great grandfather with a cane or on a bed of affliction, and then you will have these children and grandchildren sitting around you singing the praises of God. What a blessing and what a joy. May we, who have brought our children for baptism, walk in that consciousness and remember our vows. May we remember that the promise is to us and to our children. And may God give us grace to train up our children in the way they should go, so that when they are old they will not depart from it.
[Quoted from The Reformed Witness Hour]