Let me tell you about my amazing daughter. “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!” I could tell you the same about my son as well. Does this describe your child too? We all want to brag on our kids, to be the parent in the stands, watching the football game, basketball game, soccer match, track meet, swim meet, and declare to other on-lookers, “That’s my kid!” We beam with pride. But what does God tell us about our children? They are a blessing, and it is our task to teach, train, and encourage them in the ways of the Lord.
Psalm 127 tells us, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” As difficult as they can be at times, children are a blessing. It is worthy to have them and have many of them (as many as God gives). It is a blessing to have children, to raise them up, to celebrate with them and discipline them when needed. Parent, you have been entrusted with bringing up a new life, and we as Christians bring them to Jesus and bring them up in the ways of Jesus.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Moses instructs God’s people about who God is and what He says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” We are to teach our children who God is and how great He is; He is worthy of all our love and devotion. We teach our children about God diligently, with every effort, as we relax at home or got on our way to school or work, before bed and breakfast. It is an honor to have such a great task!
The author of Proverbs in Proverbs 22:6 advises us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” It is not enough just to teach, but we also train. We give opportunities for our children to practice what they have learned of the Lord: Do not steal, do not lie, love others and treat others as you would like to be treated. So when your child picks up the candy at the store checkout and walks out without paying, that would be an opportunity to train, to talk about stealing and to return the item or pay the owner. This is part of your role as a parent of that precious child.
More than teaching and training, we encourage our children, bringing them up to follow the Lord and to show them He is the best way. Paul says in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We don’t discipline for discipline’s sake, out of anger. We don’t exasperate our children, making life harder than what it really is. We don’t expect our 5-year-old to chop a cord of wood and lay it in for the winter, but we give bite-sized tasks, appropriate for their age and maturity. We focus on the positive, supporting them in their walk as they grow and develop into adults.
My kid is the smartest, prettiest, fastest, strongest kid in town, and I bet yours is too. We love our kids and want the best for them. The best is Jesus. That’s why we tell them about Jesus. He is the way, truth, and life. We teach, train, and encourage them to be like Him in every way.