TRAINING CHILDREN FOR GOD
(Proverbs 10:1; 15:5,10,12; 13:24; 19:18; 22:15,6; 19:13; 20:11;23:13-16; 29:17)
INTRODUCTORY QUESTIONS TO CHEW
What should be my motivation in disciplining another?
Is the "right" to discipline my child something I need to "earn"?
Am I as open to *being* trained as I am to *doing* the training?
How does God measure the success of my child training?
What should be my attitude toward those parents who train differently than I do?
WHAT SHOULD BE AMONG OUR CHIEF AIMS IN CHILD TRAINING?
Scattered through this collection of verses from Proverbs, I see these long-range objectives in child training:
- acquisition of wisdom
- development of prudence
- openness to reproof
- selection of the right way
- rejection of foolishness
- demonstration of pure and right work
- deliverance from hell
By the way, why does God train us?
THAT'S WHAT IT SAYS IN SPANISH?!
Consulting my Spanish Reina-Valera 1960 Bible will at times give me a perspective quite different from what my English King James Version gives.
Take Proverbs 19:18."Chasten thy son while there is hope,and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
"Castiga a tu hijo en tanto que hay esperanza; Mas no se apresure tu alma para destruirlo."("Punish your son while there is hope;but don't let your soul hasten to destroy him.")
Quite a difference in the second section of the verse, eh?!
Using the Spanish rendition, we could conclude that we shouldn't discipline in haste or we will ruin the child. Also, having a hasty soul may mean being...
- angry or frustrated.
- unjust (not getting all the facts or jumping to conclusions) .
- driven by autopilot (for example, saying "No" for no good reason).
OK, you can pursue that further without additional input from me.
Now take Proverbs 22:6.
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
"Instruye al niño en su camino,Y aun cuando fuere viejo no se apartará de él."("Instruct the child in his way,and even when he be old....")
Now you're wondering why I didn't finish my translation. Well, I'll tell you why: the Spanish verbiage goes fuzzy at that point! What I left untranslated above ("no se apartará de él") can be translated --correctly -- these two ways:
"...he will not depart from it."
"...it will not depart from him."
The first option clearly parallels the thought conveyed in the King JamesVersion. But the second option changes the thrust of the promise!
So what do you think God is saying to us in that verse?
* * * * * * * *
I took a lot from that this morning, but one thing keeps standing out...WHY do we discipline, or WHY does God discipline us?
We are to discipline, bring under submission -- not break the spirit -- of our children and ourselves so that we become useful to God. So that we become open to what He wants of us in this life. We aren't here for our own vain glory, you know. The only reason you or I even exist is FOR THE GLORY OF GOD.
I have the authority of right discipline given in the Bible...same as I am under the authority of right discipline in my own life. If I don't learn to be submissive in my spirit toward the things I clearly see God leading me to (and it could be anything!), I am useless to Him and have certainly not brought Him the Glory He created me for.
Same with my parenting. If I slip with the discipline of my children and they are not brought under submission to the authority of me as the parent, they will struggle always with submitting to others throughout their lives...employers, spouses (either submitting, or being able to properly lead) and ultimately to God Himself. They will walk the life so many professing Christians do now...submission only when it serves their own purposes.
I am clearly walking away from God, living a life directed by the world rather than The Kingdom, when I slack off, or completely ignore/avoid my duty as parent to discipline rightly and be disciplined myself.
I look with wonder at the parents who are always saying they 'choose' their battles with their children. They lay some claim to this or that being small if they can get thisor that in the long run. They actually barter with their children.
When was the last time God bartered with you? I just don't see that in my Bible. Guess that style of parenting requires a different translation.
God is clear, black and white. Man created the gray areas. There is no pleading from God for us to do His Will. It's clearly explained by if we love Him, we will follow Him. Period. There isn't any of the nonsense parents play tucked in there like if we love Him, we can go to church Sunday and talk a good talk then avoid Him all week knowing He is still there waiting.
There isn't any deal-making, as these 'choosing' parents often do...God simply says if you love Him you will follow Him. Period. No picking and choosing involved. Following means following...not picking out what areas of The Path you want to follow...or allowing your children to select what they wish to follow.
His Word is His Word.
You want to be a parent who 'chooses' their battles? Be prepared to be the parent who stands before The Throne wringing their hands as those black and white areas are read again, by The Father Himself, and try explaining why you colored in all that gray.
I want that struggle to be spared my children...and myself. I pray that is the direction every footstep of mine makes.