by pastor david
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Every time I spend time with my children and grandchildren I am reminded afresh of the awesome and humbling task of parenting. Watching my children holding their children causes me to wonder if, by my example, I had properly prepared them to be good parents. Would they think back to their days as children in our home and glean profitable information from that experience or would they, without realizing the source, simply and naturally know what to do and how to love their children, or would they, like millions of other parents, be clueless about this task that has eternal consequences?
I could write a book recounting all the mistakes I made as a father and volume two could detail the high cost of those blunders. But rather than writing about all my faults and failures, it would be more profitable to try to share with you one of the things I was able to do correctly. My Pastor and mentor, Paul Thompson taught us to fall in love with the Word of God and having done so, I made it my intentional and emphatic goal to pass that truth along to our children. I knew this would be something that was both taught and caught. This was something our children would have to see in me and not just hear from me. To accomplish this, I turned for instruction to the very book I wished to communicate to the children.
There I learned that I needed to have a personal and private time each day with the Lord in Bible study and prayer. (Joshua 1:8)
Every relationship has a cascading effect upon the relationships below it. If my relationship with Christ were vibrant and vital, my children would be well aware of it. I knew I could not lead my children someplace with which I was unfamiliar.
From the pages of Scripture I learned that it was also my responsibility to teach my children God’s Word in an effective and efficient way. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
God plainly says, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
To accomplish this I began reading God’s Word to our children long before they could even talk. Reading a Bible story at bedtime and praying together became a nightly routine. Additionally, reading the Bible and praying also was part of our morning tradition. At breakfast time, before going off to school and work, we spent a brief period of time in God’s Word followed by prayer.
What was the goal? It was to saturate the children with as much truth as possible. This is such a daunting task that I knew I needed help. The solution?
The Scriptures clearly and concisely taught me that church attendance and involvement in various teaching environments must also be a priority. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
It was obvious that attending church and Sunday school could not be something we would do only when it was convenient or when there was nothing else on the calendar for that day. It had to be a real and fixed priority in our home. Keep in mind that the church cannot be a substitute for teaching our children but it is an invaluable supplement to what we are instilling in them. For many parents, church attendance and involvement are never high on their priority list and then they wonder why, when their children are adults, they have no interest in the church or in the things of God. If the Church, founded by and upon our Lord Jesus Christ, is going to be a priority for our children when they are adults, it must be an unchanging priority for them as they are growing up.
Following the example of our Heavenly Father, I made it my goal to love my children unconditionally. (Romans 5:8)
I have often said to the children, “I love you but I hate what you have done”. This expresses our “love for the sinner and hatred for the sin”. When we discipline or even spank our children, we are expressing our love for them. We are saying, “I love you so much I am not going to allow you to go astray!” Hopefully, the children never felt unloved or even questioned our genuine love for them.
When we brought the children home from the hospital, I realized that parenting is nothing less than discipleship.
It was my responsibility to lead them to faith in Christ and to disciple them during the few formative years they were in our home. This was a task I could not relegate to my wife, the Church, the Christian School, or anyone else. This duty was squarely on my shoulders as their father! By the abundant grace of God and the example of my own parents, along with the help of many other people and resources, our children have come to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and they are leading their children to do the same! For this, all the credit and all the praise must go to the Lord Jesus Christ!
For most of you reading this, these truths are not new. You have probably heard them many times but, as I grow older and my children grow older and have their own children, I am reminded of the incalculable importance of these God-given imperatives.
God, please help us to be the Godly parents you have called and commanded us to be.
Pastor David Boggs
I hope these occasional posts will encourage and challenge you as we grow in Christ together.
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