Our constant prayer, as parents, must be: "Father, help us to be wise in the formal and informal education of our righteous seed. Help us to carefully guard our children's minds and to screen out, whenever possible, those influences that do not give life to our children."
TEACH THE WORD TO THE YOUNG Isaiah the prophet rebuked "the drunkards of Ephraim" (Is. 28:1), who led the nation of Israel. Noting that their love for strong drink caused them to err in their vision and stumble in judgment, he mentioned the necessity of teaching God's Word patiently and simply to the very young.
He wrote: "Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept. Line upon line, line upon line. Here a little, there a little" (Is. 28:910).
Wise and righteous leaders can be raised up only through this type of thorough grounding in God's unchanging Word. We are not to neglect to teach our children.
The seemingly endless repetitions of elementary lessons lay the foundation for sound doctrine and the fear of the Lord that is so necessary for successful living. These things combine to form a spirit in our children that is naturally turned toward spiritual things, providing for a holy lifestyle and a rich spiritual inheritance.
Some time ago, while in Europe, I attended a baptism service conducted by a friend for the 19-year-old son of a minister. I had to wonder, Why had he waited so long?
I learned that the boy's parents, although they were ministers of the gospel, had not introduced their son to the scriptural truths about water baptism until his teens because they felt that "this decision-making activity should be postponed until the child was much older."
He was now 19. His parents and teachers had waited until this young man had reached a certain level of maturity to introduce some truths requiring individual decision-making. "In his own time, he would make his own decisions," I was told.
This sort of reasoning sounds very noble and sophisticated, but it is contrary to God's Word and to common experience as well. The spirit of a young child is naturally open to spiritual truths. His or her ability to grasp the things of God has little to do with stages of intellectual development or with the acquisition of social maturity.
The enemy wants to steal your righteous seed. Satan will do all in his power to steal your child's soul long before he is 18 or 19--the time when we expect him to have come to some developmental age of accountability. The enemy has no problem advancing his particular worldviews or "religious" views on our children.
It's time for us to stop apologizing for our beliefs and faith in Christ. Either we are right or we are not. It is time for us to take a stand and raise our children accordingly, without apology. We need to be alert to the tricks of the enemy.
The Word of God is straightforward and totally clear: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6).
One of the meanings of "train" in the Hebrew is "to touch the palate." This word may also be used to describe the technique used by mothers to train infants to appreciate and swallow solid food. Furthermore, the concept of "touching the palate" refers to the process of introducing new types of food to an infant--or "touching his palate" with what he needs.
Whatever food is first introduced to a baby and given faithfully to that child will often become that child's food of choice. My baby granddaughter has not been fed very sweet foods. She is comfortable with the taste of vegetables and appears to be nauseated when fed highly seasoned foods.
Whatever a baby is constantly fed will often become that child's favorite food in later years. For example, Italian or Mexican or Jamaican babies grow to love the foods that are associated with their culture.
The same principle is true in the spirit realm. Give your child a diet of spiritual milk in infancy, and you will ensure a lifelong preference for spiritual food!
RAISING RIGHTEOUS OFFSPRING God spoke in detail about child-rearing through the psalmist in Psalm 92:13-15: "Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."
This means that we are to plant our children in the Word of God. The problem with many children is that they are not rooted or planted anywhere.