before the sun goes down

"Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Training Children in the Truth

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (III John 4).

How can we train our children in the Christian faith, to walk in the Truth?”

This question came from a father and mother who really desire that their children not only have salvation, but that they grow in faith and follow Jesus Christ with all their hearts.

I know many parents who have this same desire for their sons and daughters. Though it is true that each individual is responsible for his or her own decisions and can accept or reject the truth and training they receive, there is a definite general principle that if you “Train up a child in the way he should go...when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). There are many way in which this principle can be implemented, but I will zero in on three major parts:

[Important note to consider - Have your children trusted in Jesus as their personal Saviour yet? All the training in the world will have no eternal worth if your child doesn't have salvation.  When your child understands he is a sinner and Christ's payment for his sin, he can be saved. I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ when I was three and a half.]

From what I have read in the Bible, I would counsel that parents do the following three things:

1. Train their children to love the Truth. 

Instill in them a love for good books, especially the Book of books, the Bible.  Read the Bible to them and with them every day.  Starting young is important.  My parents starting reading the Bible to me when I was still in the womb. 

Remember what Paul said about Timothy--that from a child, he had knows the Holy Scriptures (II Timothy 3:14-17).  Teach your children (even your young ones) how to read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Bible (Psalm 1; Psalm 112:1-10; Psalm 119; II Timothy 2:15).  God promises rewards of wisdom and understanding to those who meditate on His word.   
Also, you can read the exciting biographies of great Christians like David Livingstone, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Brother Andrew, and George Muller.  Help your children find heroes that are pleasing to the Lord. Have you read Ten Peas in a Pod, by Arnold Pent? That is a great book to read as a family. 

Being in the word yourself, and applying the Scripture to you personally, will give your children an example to follow. Share videos and books on creation and truth, so they will have answers, and be able to share with others. 

2. Train them in the way of the Truth. 

Help your children find good friends that will build them up in the Lord (Proverbs 13:20).  Teach them to fear the Lord (Psalm 34:11).  Encourage them and nurture them in the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

Live out for them the truth of redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).  Make sure right priorities are demonstrated in your home, and show them how not to waste time on things that are not profitable.  Video games or other independent play can become a time waster--if not balanced with family time, Bible reading, hiking in the great out-of-doors, learning valuable skills, and other beneficial past times. 

Find ministry that you can involve your young children (giving away tracts, helping teach Bible clubs, writing letters to missionaries, singing in nursing homes, visiting the elderly, etc.). Be faithfully involved in your local Bible-believing church, and bring your children along to share in the church's ministry (Hebrews 10:25).  Help them learn the importance of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). 

3. Love them in Truth. 

Be there for them (Proverbs 29:15).  Play with them.  Use teachable moments (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).  Show you love them by your words, your actions, your attitudes, and how you relate to your spouse.  Be a godly example (Titus 2:7).  Children pick up up a lot more than many people commonly think. 

Make sure you are open and loving and joyful in the Lord and your children will see the sincerity in your lives.  This also includes being consistent in godly discipline (Hebrews 12:6).  Hold them accountable for their actions (Proverbs 20:11). 

And pray, pray, pray for your children (I Thessalonians 5:17)!  Prayer is vital. Remember how fervently Job prayed for his children (Job 1:5).
If these steps are taken and applied, I am convinced that it will produce good fruit, and help your children “walk in Truth” in their personal lives when they are older (Proverbs 22:6).

There is still time to win a battle before the sun goes down.

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