Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Are We Effectively Training Our Children In The Way They Should Go?

I'm not trying to be negative, but let me share what's on my heart. This is not intended to be a "doom & gloom" message. I truly feel however, this is a timely and serious message that everyone (especially with young children) should pay attention to.

The truth is, we live in very troubled times. I have walked with Jesus long enough to begin to know God's Word, and to see it coming to pass in these last days. I have lived long enough to see how our society has deteriorated slowly over the decades. We live in a time in which the spirit of the anti-Christ has become rampant all over the world. And...it is getting stronger. It is easy, or maybe more convenient to brush off the reality of the last days we live in by saying "Things have always been bad." Yes, as long as sin has been in the world, things have been bad. But things are getting worse. Not just the stuff that is happening, but the stuff that is happening, aimed at God and His people. As we go through time, it will get harder and harder to live a moral, scriptural life as the world pushes harder and harder against those who live to testify of it's deeds, that they are evil. And never forget, the world is not stronger than God. But the world is stronger than those whose lives are not anchored into the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ.

I have 13 grandchildren, and one soon to arrive. I am a blessed Papa! But one of my greatest concerns is the world they will grow up and live in one day very soon. If you are concerned about the world, and the direction it is heading, let me ask you: What are you doing to prepare your children? And what are you preparing your children to do? Please forgive me if I sound a bit controversial. But are they more familiar with the latest Disney movie, TV show, gaming app, or video game than the Holy Scriptures? The Bible, the Word of God is the blue-print for life. Are you teaching them the Bible through family devotions? Do you pray with them regularly? I have to ask you these questions.

Listen to this: "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) The "way he should go" is with God, through a real relationship with Jesus. When they are grown, and on their own, they will not depart from Jesus. When they grow up, they will have grown up in the Lord Jesus, and they won't be swayed from Him. It's that simple. They will continue to serve Him because their parents trained them from a very early age. Many  parents think the Bible is too complicated for very young children. But what amazes me is their ability to operate computers, tablets, and smart phones! God made young children to be very impressionable for a reason...to be trained in the nurture and admonition of Him! (See Ephesians 6:4)

The world "train" in Proverbs 22:6 means to "dedicate, initiate, and discipline" them to know and walk with God. It's great that they are going to church. But parents, are YOU training your children to live wholly for Jesus through a life totally surrendered to Him? Most parents consider it "over the top" to prepare their child to be a radical servant of Jesus. But, in these times, that's what will cause them to live for Him now, and NOT drift away from Him when they go out own their own. If many of the world's religions (who serve no risen God) train their children early on to serve and even die for their god, how much more should we Christians train our young to radically serve Jesus. Jesus should not simply be a part of their lives (and ours). No...He should BE their lives.

Parents, let me ask you another question. How do you stand with Jesus? Is He your life? Or is He a part of your life? "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3) If He IS your life, then with the help of the Holy Spirit and God's Word, He can BE your children's lives too!

The good news is that Jesus stands ready to help you, through the incredible presence of the Holy Spirit. We can train our young people to radically serve Jesus, even in the midst of a crooked and perverse world. We must first understand that we are in the world...BUT not of the world. Only then can we convey this to our children. We must understand (as parents) that we are dead to sin, but alive to God...in Jesus. If we get that, we should convey this to our children. In order for your child to live for Jesus, they must die to sin. Of course, this happens when they receive Jesus into their life. From the beginning they must understand that Jesus died to sin for us, and now He lives to God. So with our lives hidden in Him, we are dead to sin and just like Him, we are alive to God. That's what makes us all His!

There's a verses in James that says "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4) Some very strong statements are made here, but they are true. My point is that if I (as a parent) am friends with the world, making me hostile toward God, that makes me responsible for doing the same for my children. I don't want to raise my children in such a way that they become hostile toward God, and an enemy to Him one day. No one in their right mind would desire to do this. However, NOT bringing up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is doing the same thing. Something to pray about.

Yes, things are getting worse. However, for those who belong to Jesus, the most powerful, glorious times lie ahead. Those who are a part of the body of Christ in the earth will shine brighter than ever before, in the midst of the darkest of times. Please remember, no amount of darkness will ever overpower the light of those filled with Jesus. Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. Our responsibility is to discern the times, and respond accordingly. Preparing our children for living a life for Jesus will never be more important and crucial than right now. Jesus is there for you. He stands with you. Stand with Him!

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