Often, young Christian parents are admonished to follow the scripture found in Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” It’s not just a good idea; it’s imperative that parents do this. Why? Because, at a young age, children adopt the beliefs and values that they will keep for the rest of their lives. It is up to Christian parents to make sure their children adopt godly values and that they are taught to follow God’s word.
We cannot allow others to do this. We cannot trust our schools to instill in our young people the values and standards that we hold dear. We cannot even leave this responsibility to those that hold the same values that we hold – like our Sunday school teachers, Children’s church workers, and pastors. Certainly, they can add to and supplement what we teach our children, but we as parents must be the ones who are responsible for the training of our children.
Why is that important? Well, there are countless examples in scripture that demonstrate the need for this. One of the best examples is found in the early chapters of the book of Judges. Going back to the book of Exodus, we see how Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt under God’s mighty hand, providing ten miraculous plagues against Pharaoh and Egypt to display His power and might. Finally, Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go, but quickly changed his mind and pursued them. God did more miracles for the people of Israel, including parting the Red Sea and allowing them to walk through on dry ground. But the miracles didn’t stop there. Because of their sin and rebellion, the Lord led them through the desert for forty years. Yet, in that time, they never ran out of food or water. Their clothes did not wear out. They did not perish as a nation in that difficult climate. God protected them the entire way, miracle after miracle. Then, when it was time to bring them into the promised land, God used Joshua to lead the way. The Israelites were victorious against their enemies when they followed the teachings of the Lord. They conquered the land and had rest from their enemies. God provided countless miracles for this nation and kept every one of His promises to them.
Yet, what happened? We see in Judges 2:10, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” How is that possible? Well, the only logical explanation I can think of is that the parents of that generation did not teach their children about these things. Perhaps they thought that it was someone else’s responsibility. Perhaps they believed that the children would have heard about such amazing miracles from others. I don’t know. But this I do know: no one from that generation had any idea of how God provided for their ancestors from the time they left Egypt through the time they settled in the promised land.
We need to train our children in the ways of the Lord. It is our responsibility to show them the right way to go. And not just in talk, but also by example. Are we telling them that “God answers prayer”? Good, but are we displaying that in our actions? When hardships come, do we go to others first? Do we put our faith in doctors and medicine before the Lord? Do we whip out a credit card to fix things? Or do we go to the Lord in prayer? A family that prays together, stays together. Take time daily to pray with your family – your spouse and children – so they can see your faith in action. And how do we manage our finances? Do we truly trust God with our money? If you do, it is important that you demonstrate to your children how you give your tithes and offerings each week. Let them see that faith in action. Saying these things to them is good but demonstrating them is optimal.
The enemy is very much interested in capturing the hearts and minds of our children. If we do not take charge of their education, we may experience something like what happened to the children of Israel after Joshua’s generation. We cannot take that risk. We must take responsibility to diligently train up our children in the ways of the Lord.