Friday, April 20, 2012
TRAIN UP A CHILD
Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
I was just innocently sitting with my cup of coffee thinking a little more about the iniquity of passing on our sins to our children: I have a woman friend who is much on my mind as she serves a term in prison. Recently I met her brother whom I had not met earlier because he was in prison and I was remembering that her oldest son has also spent time in jail It seems that the family “bent” of iniquity, has come down to spending time in prison or jail.
But then I remembered her precious children who are currently being raised by others: One by a family in the church and two by Grandpa, who brings them to church like clockwork and seeks simple support from those the boys are close to and who care dearly about the boys. And that happens to be a pretty large crowd of people in our church, praise the Lord.
So I guess it was natural for God to pop Prov. 22:6 into my head, at that point, and for me to ponder it because I have not been sure exactly what that meant. I have always been sure that it does not mean that your child will never sin nor ever fall short of the Glory of God. But I think it does mean your child will be in a place where God can work with him. That thought suddenly excited me.
I know all too well how far a Christian can go when angry and rebellious. I know too well the pain and suffering that goes with that: Not because my parents raised me up in the way I should go, but because I had been a child of God for many years, training myself in the way I should go, and took it upon myself to rebel and be angry. It can happen. But I was, by my own studying and searching, trained up enough to know that what I was doing was dangerous and absolutely wrong. I could not live that life with a clear conscience. And a guilty conscience is a very weighty thing. It can destroy a person body, soul and spirit.
But this child was never allowed to rest in what she was doing. God used the tools I had been given and kept me troubled and feeling guilty and lost. I knew, all the while, that I was not at home where I belonged.
If a child has been given the tools she needs for God to work with, she will never be able to sin without a guilty conscience. God will use what you have taught your child to bring that child to Him and to train that child up even further in what He expects. Suddenly I see that giving a child to God is not at all like setting her loose in the forest and walking away. It is prayerfully giving the child up to God’s constant care and direction while having given the child a heart and mind full of God.
May we all participate in this “training up” of children by being willing to be life coaches by example and by instruction in God’s Word. It seems to me that at our church, there are very nearly as many children (birth to 21) as there are adults. Our cup runs over. Praise God for guiding us to be the ones who have the responsibility for so many of His children. May our lives touch their lives with His Glory!