Training Up a Child: 7 Steps to Raising Godly Children
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
My nine-year old son has endeavored to read the Bible from the Alpha to the Omega, from the beginning to the end, starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation.
I admonished him that the task would not be easy, but exceedingly worthwhile, something which he knew. I warned him that in some of the Mosaic books containing the finer points of the Law, such as Leviticus and Numbers, he should be prepared to encounter some difficult chapters dealing in extended genealogies and priestly instructions that can pose real challenges even for the learned adult. I told him that he should not be discouraged when he comes across such passages and that it would not be amiss to skip over parts that were unbearable for his young mind or would deter him from continuing. Sound advice?
“Oh, no, Daddy!” he returned with conviction. “I want to read every word of the Bible!”
Behavior that I described above does not come naturally to a young child; a parent must strive relentlessly to instill a love for the Bible in his or her child from the beginning. But it is also never too late to start, by God’s grace!
Here are 7 steps that will guide you along the right path:
1. You must model your own love for God and His Word to your children daily. You cannot instill in a child what you yourself do not possess.
2. Pray for your children daily. The Bible says that we ought to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Pray with them as you drive them to school; pray with them during meals; pray during family meetings; pray through both challenges and victories; say a nighttime prayer before bed each night. Take every opportunity captive to pray with your children daily.
3. It is not your church’s responsibility alone to teach your kids about God. Church and other Christian organizations, like private schools, should only be the vitamins that supplement the meat and drink you yourself prepare for your children daily. It is primarily your responsibility as a parent to teach your children about God.
4. Your spiritual interactions with your children must be genuine. Children will understand more about God and the Bible than you may realize. Don’t water down the message of the Word for their sake. Tell it like it is. The Bible is exciting enough on its own merits and does not need childish embellishments to make it interesting for young readers. The Word of God is sufficient in and of itself.
5. It is never to early to start teaching your children about God. As soon as you can communicate with your children, begin sharing the smallest morsels of the Gospel with them. If you wait until they are old enough to “make their own choice”, it may very well be too late and you will have already lost them to the world. It is never too early to teach children about the love and life of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
6. TURN OFF THE TV! For goodness sake, consider what kind of movies and TV shows you allow your children to consume! By far, the majority of TV shows are, at best, senseless, unintelligent chaos or, at worst, they teach your children that it’s cool to live godless lives, to value all the wrong things in life, and they encourage rebellion against parents and authority. Do not be afraid to restrict your children from TV shows and movies that do not glorify God. If you must watch something, try renting or buying older shows on DVD, such as Little House on the Prairie or Where the Red Fern Grows and watching them together as a family. At least the characters on these old shows actually pray to God and good ethics and hard work are taught throughout. Unplugging the cable or satellite may be the most transformative and effective change you can make for your family!
7. Above all, pray for your family, daily. Daily is the key word. If you cannot live your life daily for the LORD, you cannot expect your children to do so either.
May God bless you and give you strength in Jesus name to dedicate your life to serving your children and families all the days of your life!
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