To raise responsible children you must be a responsible parent! To raise a responsible adult you must know and obey God’s precepts, or laws, yourself. Then you must teach your child to do the same. The primary duty of a parent is to train a child in God’s precepts. The vital task for you as a parent is to teach your child about God, who will instruct your child Himself and fill in any gaps you leave in the process. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 provides a plan. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Parents have the responsibility to teach their children about the goodness of God. Our talk should revolve around God, our minds should be constantly fixed on Him and our actions should reflect that devotion. We are to fill our hearts, our homes and our hours with Him in such a way that our children cannot help but notice—and perhaps emulate. Although our churches are a great support in this endeavor, it is the parent who has been given the responsibility for what a child knows and understands about God.
The Apostle Paul gave a good description of the labor-intensive enterprise of teaching others about Christ in Galatians 4:19, My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you… Paul compared training others to be a disciple of Jesus to the physical task of childbirth.
Let’s draw some analogies. If physical childbirth begins in the womb, then spiritual birth begins in the heart. Likewise if physical childbirth takes some time, we can’t expect spiritual training to be a quick enterprise. We know that children often have growth spurts. If you think about it, the first year is an astonishing time of growth. We could naturally assume that someone might be especially prone to a spiritual growth spurt the first year they receive salvation.
I believe these are the key precepts we should be teaching our children. Aside from honoring one’s parents, consider the following verses to determine some of the virtues that God wants you to impress on your children as they mature.
- Hebrews 5:14: To learn the difference between good and evil.
- Hebrews 8:10: To put God’s laws in their minds and hearts.
- Proverbs 13:20: To choose good friends.
- Ephesians 5:3: To keep themselves sexually pure.
Obviously, the commands of God extend far beyond this. But if you can impress these values on your children, you will be preparing them well for adulthood.
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