Thou Shalt Teach Them
In the thinking of some people, children are considered a burden and they do not want them in their life. In a self-centered desire to pursue pleasure, they look on children as interference. Even some parents who have children turn them over to be cared for by others and spend little time with them. Relatives, day-care workers, and even the television set have more influence on the children than the parents.
But God’s Word says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward… happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5).
Admittedly parenting is hard work. It requires knowledge, commitment and patience.
But as Christian parents seek guidance from the Word of God and—in dependence on the Lord—the strength and grace that they need, they can enjoy the blessings that come from bringing their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and provide for them the direction they need.
Some parents allow themselves to be intimidated by the thinking that is prevalent in today’s culture. They fear that if they adhere strictly to biblical principles they will not have the approval of relatives and friends. But it must be remembered that the fear of man is a snare and the ultimate desire should be to please the Lord and enjoy his blessing in training and guiding children.
The admonition to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17) certainly includes the way parents bring up their children.
No matter how reasonable some other approach may seem, the standard set in God’s Word should be the final test. It is evident that a system of authority must exist in every area of life or the result is anarchy and chaos. Sad to say, chaotic is the best way to describe the condition in many homes today.
Some parents have neglected their responsibility for so long they now fear to take back control. God has given authority to civil government and to the church, and has provided a structure in the home which requires the recognition of authority and a willingness to submit to it. All of this is designed for our good and for God’s glory.
It is not necessary for parents to get permission to be in charge of their children. God has given them that responsibility and authority.
The Old Testament emphasizes the need to discipline and teach them. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Then Deuteronomy 6:7, “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.” The New Testament confirms this responsibility, “fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Not only is it necessary for parents to train and teach children to be subject to their authority, they must also present the truth by way of their own example. If a father speaks disrespectfully of civil authority, reveals a spirit of antagonism against his employer or a lack of respect for the pastoral leadership in his church, he has conveyed to his children the idea that in some cases disrespect and rebellion are acceptable. If a mother, while trying to teach her children to be submissive, fails to submit to her husband, talks about him behind his back, and continually puts him down in front of the children, she has undermined what she tried to teach them verbally.
A lack of submission in areas required by the Lord is a display of pride and it must be remembered that “God resisteth the proud” (1 Peter 5:5). Certainly any Christian parent desires the blessings of God on their effort to train their children and none would want to think of going through life with God “resisting” them. So a humble spirit of submission is necessary even as the admonition is given to “[submit] yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21).
The authority that parents have over their children not only requires obedience from them but protects them from the influences of the culture in which we live. Often the excuse is made that since it is impossible to totally protect them then any effort toward that goal is futile and so little attention is given to the details of what children are reading and watching.
We must recognize that the world wants our children.
This world system wants to influence their thinking and attract them to pursue its goals. Of course parents have to guard against the influence of the world themselves or they will be unable to give their children the proper protection. The Apostle writes, “be not conformed to the world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). What does that text mean to you? Do you assume that you have resisted all worldly influences or are you caused to stop and examine your thinking and activities in view of that warning?
Much of what is presented in magazines and on videos today represents the father as a bumbling, inept character that should be ignored because he is out of step with present day thinking. If children are constantly being subjected to this kind of propaganda and to the popular ideas of the society in which we live, they will be influenced.
The responsibility to discipline, protect and teach cannot be delegated.
God holds parents responsible and, thankfully, has promised them the strength they need when they turn to Him. Sometimes is takes a crisis to awaken parents to the seriousness of these issues. Don’t wait. Start now, no matter what past failures you may acknowledge, and recommit yourself to fulfilling God’s requirement to train your children.