Train Up A Child In the Way He Should Go
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
It is not merely the duty of fathers to provide for their families, attending their events and spending time playing with their children. This is certainly honorable and necessary. It is also not the duty of the father to only make sure his wife is teaching the children. Instead, it is the responsibility of fathers’ to teach their children the Bible, how to pray and live for God. The Bible says to fathers, “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The word “bring up” from the Greek means “to rear up to maturity, to cherish or to train.” This shows us that the bringing up speaks of teaching and training to live for, walk with and understand the truth of God. This shows there should be a targeted and specific plan to teach and train them. Train them as though you are a professor with graduation in mind. You have a specific intention in your day to day activities to raise up your children to know how to serve God. A plan and specific intent are critical in raising our children. Just as Jesus led and trained his disciples for a specific plan that they would take this Gospel into all the world, so do we as parents have a specific intention as we train our children up to maturity.
Next, we see that we are to train them to maturity in the nurture of the Lord. The word nurture from the Greek means “tutorage, that is, education or training; by implication disciplinary correction.” The verse starts with “provoke not your children to wrath,” and as such we understand that our teaching that includes correction is not to be unreasonable or in anger. It is specific, targeted, using wisdom and tender love. When your child tells a lie, tenderly take them aside and show them in the Bible where it is wrong and administer an age appropriate punishment. If your child steals then show them in the Bible where it is wrong and punish them according to wisdom. It is always best to pray before punishing them. This is to make sure we do so in the right spirit.
The nurture or education or training of the Lord shows us that there is purposeful teaching that takes place. Yes, you take them to church and you get them involved in church events from an early age. You start them as babies learning how to sit quietly through church and start to enter into worship. This can be a long and frustrating process, but it is necessary. Children are often loud and don’t understand the implication of their actions, but done consistently they will learn to sit quietly through church at an early age. You may have to take them out to the baby room a few times during a service, but do your best to teach them to sit quietly and not use leaving church as a “reward” for them.
The word admonition from the Greek means “calling attention to, that is, (by implication) mild rebuke or warning.” Our training of our children includes calling them to attention of their behavior and giving them a mild rebuke or warning.
At this point I want to make a point; too often we have seen parents force their children into certain behaviors. Some of these behaviors are for young girls keeping their hair long, wearing skirts and dresses, etc. This doesn’t mean we allow them to dress ungodly or let them come to their conclusions. What I’m saying it is critical that we teach them the right way in this regards. We can teach them in such a way that gives them the idea that their salvation and their right standing with God relies upon their outward behavior. They must understand first that they are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ shed at Calvary and that it is through faith that this blood is applied to us for the forgiveness of sins. Then, as a result, we respond in obedience to Christ. This misunderstanding can come even when you do teach them the right balance. I recall my girls speaking to a neighbor girl that was around their age. She had short hair and my littlest girl, Mina, said, “Do you love Jesus?” The girl said, “well, I don’t know really, I think I do.” Mina replied, “Then why do you cut your hair? Jesus wants your hair to be long cuz you’re a girl.” This is correct and accurate, but her evangelistic mission was based only on outward appearance. I told Mina, “what you said is true, but I want you to understand that God is more concerned with that girl’s heart than she is with her hair. If we can reach her heart and show her how much Jesus loves her, then obedience will follow.”
Take the time to explain these things clearly to your children. Help them to understand the truth of the Word of God and how to apply it in their lives. Teach them why women don’t cut their hair or wear make-up, show it to them in the Bible. If you struggle with this, we have two booklets that give an excellent background to these simple truths. Both of them are available at ptmresources.org. One is Holiness to the Lord, and the other is God’s Basic Instructions.
Another point that I didn’t learn until I had children for about six years and that was to have a daily time of family worship. That is; to read the Bible, each of us prays and sings songs of worship to the Lord. Brother Branham said:
You fathers, you mothers, are you ready to establish an altar in your house, and take that television out? Are you ready to take that deck of cards off the table? Them comic books that your children’s reading, preparing their little mind for a blast that the devil’s going to give them. Are you ready to establish the old family altar again?
I wasn’t raised in a home that did this, yes, we were Christians, but we didn’t have regular, daily worship as a family and no one ever taught me about it after I came to the message. I learned of it in a booklet that I read from a Baptist pastor with an explanation of how to do these things. We personally do it in the evening before we go to bed.
Prayerfully take these steps to start training your children to maturity in the education and instruction and mild warning of the Lord. God has called you to do it, not your pastor or Sunday school teacher. This may be one of the biggest problems we have faced with young people leaving the message. Parents that have not clearly and purposefully trained up their children in maturity in the basic foundations of the teaching of the Lord.