The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 122

“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. (Proverbs 22:6).

Much of the instruction in God’s word has to do with proper godly living in this world! Jesus’ words, “I came that they may have life, and have it to the full.”(Jn.10:10) have too often been confined to eternal life. In reality that ‘life’ begins with triumphant living here and now. Christianity as a way of life has become so spiritualized as to make its applicability to daily living irrelevant. No wonder people ‘feel good’ about going to church on Sunday, but are not in the least bit worried about the way they lives during the rest of the week! Christianity is a practical way of life. For example, the outworking of the spiritual law ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’ is not only spiritual, but natural too, affecting our quality of life here and now on planet earth!

The Book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings (instructions, really) that gives practical advice for godly living. One such piece of advice is for the way in which parents should bring up their children. There is hardly a household that it does not touch. Parents, grandparents, teachers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters - all have an interest in it. There is a proper way to train children, and it is never too late to learn. Most people can influence a parent in the management of his family, or affect the training of some child by suggestion or advice. But what direction should this training take? In other words, what is a godly way?

Firstly the training is to be in ‘the way he should go’ not ‘the way he would go’. This implies practical guidance and instruction in the things that are right and it involves our attitudes. All of us are born with a natural tendency towards evil. Therefore, if we are always left to choose for ourselves we will choose wrong most of the time. “A child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Prov. 29:15).

Secondly, but not less importantly, I believe that training should keep in mind that the soul of the child is of greatest importance. This means that Christ is the Object of our training. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul”? (Matt 16:26) Training in moral goodness is necessary but not sufficient. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Thirdly, parents are not to exasperate (to discourage; to irritate; to provoke) their children (Col. 3:21). There is the need for children to be taught the importance of prayer, of reading the Bible, of regular church attendance and fellowship, and so on. But parents are instructed to temper their discipline with love and patience. After all we only reap what we sow! Still, it’s never too late to make amends!



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