Sooner or later every Christian parent will become discouraged (or just plain baffled) and wonder how to raise their kids in a way that honors the Lord. Godly parenting is not easy and teaching kids the Bible in today’s world is a huge challenge. We thought it might be helpful to provide some words of encouragement from the Lord Himself regarding the all-important parenting task.
As a child, I remember times when this passage was quoted to my Dad and he would chuckle. Just in case this particular text is not one that you have committed to memory, it says…
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
so are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5, NASB)
As a child I didn’t understand that the quiver was actually a reference to a bag that contains arrows. Being one of seven children, I just thought the reference had to do with a house full of kids with one working bathroom. I can testify that our home was most definitely “full.” Although my family’s “quiver” is not quite as full as my parents’, I certainly understand one message of these verses is to count my children as blessings.
What is a quiver anyway? Basically it is a bag or a container that holds arrows. So God is creating a picture in our mind of a warrior ready with his bow and a bag full of arrows. So at the risk of creating a bad pun, the point here is not only to consider your children a blessing, but also to take aim, take deliberate action towards the goal of loving God. In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
This familiar verse teaches us to…
Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov. 22:6 HCSB)
As parents, we are encouraged to instruct and teach our kids the basics. This begins with a personal commitment to teach kids the Bible and set an example for how to live according to God’s Word. It’s hard to overstate the responsibility this places on the Christian parent. It calls for us to be thoughtful, creative, and deliberate.
When you look at some of the biblical mandates given to God’s people, we see that we are to be intentional when it comes to teaching our children. It’s not an easy task. We have to work at it, but God expects us to take the job seriously and the pay off in the lives of our children will be well worth the effort.
These verses are set in the context of some of the most important words Moses ever spoke to the early Hebrew people. In referring to the words God had given to the people through divine revelation, God said…
These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deut. 6:6-7 HCSB)
Although Scripture reading and memorization is important, the Moses isn’t instructing us simply to quote Scripture all day and all night. We are, however, to take seriously the task of instilling the Word of God into our lives and the lives of our children.
This certainly means we are to be examples of the Bible’s teachings. In short, our children should see Jesus IN us and not just hear Bible verses FROM us. What are your words and actions teaching? Your example carries more weight than any lecture you could possibly give. Live a way in which you want your children to live.
Christ himself loved children. This simple fact should encourage any parent. In Mark 9:36 we’re told…
Then He took a child, had him stand among them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in My name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me, but Him who sent Me.” (Mark 9:36-37 HCSB)
Can you imagine what it must have been like to be that little boy? How would it have felt to have the strong, loving arms of Jesus wrapped around you as He spoke to His disciples? That child may not have realized until he was older just how significant that moment was, but the same is true for kids we love. How many of the kids we teach or parent need to feel our arms around them in a simple show of affection? Many of them may never see the significance of the act, but the simple, pure love of an adult in the life of a child can be a powerful thing.
All of us want to believe the best about our kids. The reality is that some kids are easier to raise than others. Even the best children, however, live with the same selfish human nature that plagues all of us. The Preacher in Proverbs gives us this sobering truth…
Foolishness is tangled up in the heart of a youth; the rod of discipline will drive it away from him. (Prov. 22:15 HCSB)
When my oldest was about 10, we took him to a Mark Lowery concert. Years later, my son and I still laugh when we remember how Mark explained the way this verser was lived out in his home. Although we laugh now and even jokingly refer to it as my oldest son’s favorite verse, however you look at it, discipline is not fun. I don’t enjoy disciplining my children and I certainly don’t enjoy being disciplined myself. Discipline, however, is necessary to develop Godly character.