Training our Kids
By David Cox
[fam06] v1 ©2006 www.coxtracts.com
This tract may be freely reproduced for non-profit use.
The Bible in Malachi 2:15 mentions that God hates divorce God “seeks a godly seed.” God commands us very clearly about our children, that we should guide them in the way of God so that they would be saved and serving God. This is not optional, and the manner of doing it is likewise not optional. Some say that they will wait until their kids are adults and let them choose for themselves. This only lets the world educate your children as Satan and our sinful nature would have it.
The obligation to train them
Eph. 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
This verse commands us to bring them up, doing it the correct way against the incorrect (provoke to wrath). “Nurture” means the act of providing direction to live responsibly in this world. “Admonition” means to counsel about stopping or avoid incorrect or improper conduct based on what God has said in His Word. It is a warning in what should or should not be done. Paul commented that Timothy was wise through his knowledge of the Scriptures (2Tim 3:15), and that this is exactly what the Scriptures do when we study them and apply them to our lives. We should do this as adults, but parents equally should do this for their children until they are able to do it for themselves. The OT is full of examples of these types of exhortations (Deu 4:9; 6:7; Psa 78:3-6).
Love demands Discipline
Pro 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7…for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? The principal point here is that the parent receives the child as his own only if he disciplines the child. The motive for correcting and disciplining our children is not just to chastise them, but to correct their lives so that God doesn’t have to punish them more severely later in their lives. It is love that forces one to discipline, and that has to begin at a young age Pro 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. The child should always hear “we discipline you, because we love you.”
Goals in Disciplining
This instruction is not information only, but it is information about the will of God through the Scriptures (2Tim 3:15) such that it changes his being, his character, his attitude, and his will. This teaching is to help him stop sinning, and it should come from his parents (Pro 1:8-10), and be focused on his fulfilling the will of God (Pro 4:1-4), and recognizing the parents moral values and obeying them by following the pattern of their lives. In the Bible this is “living” so as to obtain eternal life. Isa 38:19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.
Psa 78:3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God. The end or purpose of training our children is so that we pass our Christian faith to them, so that they may be saved, and not forget God, so that they will keep the commandments of God and walk in faithfulness with God.
Respect for Authority:
Exo 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. God promises us that if we honor and respect our parents that God himself will extend our lives on the earth. Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 1Pe 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme. In other words, the will of God is that we have respect for all in authority, especially the elderly and our own parents.
Control of One’s Self:
Pro 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. The person who cannot control his own spirit is a threat to society, and is condemned to suffer under the hand of God and the civil authorities. Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. What God imposes in our lives (and in the lives of our children) is that we deny ourselves, and suffer the hard things in order to comply with God’s wishes. Pro 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Human character without the influence of God is totally devoid of moral character, and this is seen by the foolish things of the world in his life. Men dedicate themselves to make the biggest ball of rubber bands in the world, as is seen constantly on Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” presenting time after time. Where is the eternal value in such foolishness? What importance will today’s sports have in 100 years? None. Most people hardly even remember it a year later.
Resisting bad influences.
1 Cor. 15:33 says “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The goal here is to teach our children to recognize and resist bad influences in the world, their friends, fashions, television, what they see, etc. It is good to remember that the saved are a remnant (Rom. 9:27), and we will never be in the majority or the popular.
To be a server, not selfish
Phil. 2:3 Do nothing out of strife or vainglory; rather with humility, each one estimating the others as superior to himself; 4 not looking each one for his own, but each one also for the others. Part of finding God’s will and staying with it is seeing what God wants from our character. It is Satan’s spirit (Isaiah 14:12-15) to exalt oneself. Prov. 27:2 Let a stranger praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips. To be a mature adult Christian who is pleasing to God, one has to focus one’s life on serving others and not being served, seeking to saturate oneself with sensual delights and pleasures.
Spirit of not complaining, but doing everything with a good heart, as for the Lord: Here we see the attitude of the child. Many times your child may agree to do what you tell him to do, but he does not do it in a good spirit, but with murmuring and conflict. Phil. 2:14 Do everything without grumbling and disputing. Col 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. Here we see that God fixes the attitude of our hearts when we do something, even things that seem insignificant to us. Our Christian faith shines through even our “insignificant” activities in our lives because we have joy, peace, and encouragement in everything we do.
We must include here also Job 9:27 “I will forget my complaint, I will leave my sad countenance, and I will strive.” Part of having the right attitude is not to float when it’s something you don’t want to do. One must do what he does with joy of heart, and this joy must be manifested outwardly.
How do we do it?
We must focus on some methods that God has sent for us to instruct our children. The first is for being the spiritual example for our children. The truth is that everything one can say or instruct a child is for nothing if the person teaching him is a hypocrite in his own life before God. The vision that God gives us about this is to take them where we are going. Genesis 18:19 For I know that (Abraham) will command his children and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord, doing justice and judgment… Abraham’s example is that an obedient believer will always command his own house in the ways of God. This is about the most important thing there is (apart from his own salvation). The influence of a holy life is what changes people. Joshua 24:15 But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. We also see the good example of Joshua in showing dedication and decision in following God and in training his children in the things of God.
Second, we must see that training our children has a moral character. In other words, we are not only dealing with behavior, but also what causes this behavior. Prov. 22: 6 Train up a child in his way, and when he is old he will not depart from it. The word “instructs” comes from the word “palate”. It refers to the custom of mothers when a newborn does not want to drink milk from her breast. He puts honey or sweets on his palate, and if he wants more, he drinks his mother’s milk. This is probably the first thing such a creature learns. Thus the training is to deal with moral principles and rules. This implies that no father can train his children well without going to the Holy Scriptures, studying and teaching them. Sometimes people try to impose morals without reference to the Bible, and this always fails.
Third, we must understand that God commands us to discipline our children in order to impose these moral teachings on them. The point is not to punish them for their bad behavior, but to change their spirit and appearance to obey God. Prov. 3:12 For the LORD punishes the one he loves, as a father punishes the son he loves. Prov. 13:24 He who spares punishment hates his son, but he who loves him corrects him early.
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Author Pastor David Cox