Yahweh makes a consistent point that if we have the gift of children, we are to teach and train them according to the Word of God. One of the first commandments that Yahweh gave to Adam and Eve was to be fruitful and multiply. Being fruitful and multiplying means to have children.
Genesis 1:28a God blessed them [Adam and Eve]; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth,”
It was not enough just to give birth to children and let them raise themselves. One example is when God intervened with the first son of Adam and Eve, Cain. God told Cain that sin was at his door and waiting to pounce on him.
Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Ah, the problem of mankind is revealed – mastery over sin. Our children have to be taught about God and Jesus Christ along with being trained how to walk according to the Scriptures in order to have mastery. In this way, they are taught to do well. Yahweh wanted Cain’s love, not Cain’s own version of it. Teaching children to love our Heavenly Father and desire His presence in our lives is of paramount importance.
But do children really matter? Shouldn’t they just be “seen and not heard?” Or the opposite – aren’t we supposed to let a child grow up as he wants to? Parents are giving decision making to young children even to the point of selecting what gender or non-gender to put on the birth certificate.
One reason why parents have such a hard time raising their children is because they lack love for God, and a knowledge of God, Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures. Even when we do have such love, parents struggle with what exactly to do with this little person with a unique personality and needs. Hopefully, in the next few articles, we will cover some helpful ways for parents to successfully accomplish this daunting task.
What did Jesus think of children? He was childless. Were they in his way and bothersome with their crying and demanding?
Mark 10:13-16 Then some people came to him bringing little children for him to touch. The disciples tried to discourage them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant and told them, “You must let little children come to me—never stop them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Indeed, I assure you that the man who does not accept the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and laid his hands on them and blessed them. (J.B. Phillips New Testament)
Jesus appreciated children as being very important. They were held up as an example of how we are to be with our Heavenly Father. I think of the joy I feel when my grandchildren run to the door to greet my husband and me. The love and care they show with their hugs, kisses, and laughter fill our hearts. Jesus shows us that we are to emulate children in this way with Yahweh. He is our ultimate parent.
Parents set the tone for the home environment. Each home is unique and suits the lifestyles, personalities, and needs of family members. Within this diversity, the Scriptures have specific overarching elements of what the body of Christ, which includes the family, should be like.
1 Peter 3:8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
“All of you be harmonious” in the Greek means to have the same thoughts. Does that mean we are all robots and parrot one another? No, not at all. This is a summary verse after a description of how a family needs to have organization and clarity, not confusion and chaos. We are to know that all of the family belong to our Father, Yahweh, and Jesus Christ, so that all have a common love and purpose.
Having sympathy for one another in a family goes a long way. We look at what the other person is going through, what his or her needs are, and come alongside one another to help or just to listen. We are brotherly to one another such that we assist one another, build each other up, and live in unity with love. There is a sense of mutual love of parents and children, wives and husbands. We help each other out; support one another in the good times and the difficult ones; and are courteous and humble minded.
How do we accomplish this task? Here are some suggestions:
1. Our personal relationship with Yahweh is a loving, consistent relationship. Matthew 22:37
2. Our relationship with our spouse is loving and consistent according to the Word. Ephesians 5
3. We continue to study and teach God’s Word and apply it to our own unique households. John 5:39
4. Walk in love by being tenderly compassionate. The world gives us enough of the rough talk, rude gestures, hurtful words and actions. We need to guard our homes so those things are never present. Ephesians 4:32
Keeping Scripture in the forefront of our minds, along with loving God and His Son throughout the day, gives us the edge we need to combat the cultural and evil influences that pound at us relentlessly.
Remember back to the records of Israel and how they heard from Yahweh just exactly what, where, when, and how they were to do something. It was very clear. No ambiguity. The blessings for obedience were clearly stated, and the consequences were accurately and explicitly stated. His expectation was that His loving children would obey with love and gratitude. Sometimes Israel obeyed and enjoyed blessings, but Israel over and over rebelled and did not do as they were told and received dire consequences. This pattern of doctrine, reproof, and correction is explained in the church Epistles.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
If the doctrine is not known, if we do not know how to reprove in love, and are not consistent to make sure the correction is followed, we fail at raising our children. We will have set them upon a merciless world fraught with multiple traps and obstacles with no armaments to combat them. It is only by developing a loving relationship with Yahweh that one can even hope to successfully endure to the end. Our job as parents is to teach and train our children to love Yahweh. We do this by our example of living Christian doctrine, changing what is wrong in our lives, and applying these principles of life correctly. When we tell children what to do in a situation and then they see just the opposite being acted out in our lives, our behavior gives them a hypocritical model. In the long haul of life, children will follow what parents do, not necessarily what they say.
Deuteronomy 11:18-20 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,”
The passage in Deuteronomy 11:22b goes on to say that we are “to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him.” Teaching our children about our loving Heavenly Father, Yahweh, to love Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, are the greatest gift we can give to them. Our job is to teach and train our children in the way that the Scriptures inform us so that we can do this effectively. Our next article will focus on how to apply godly principles to raise our children in a Christ-like manner.