My friend sent me a video link this week that had shocked her. Now, I’m used to this friend sending me really encouraging and inspiring videos, so I was even more shocked when I started watching. It is a sermon by Josh McDowell listing the growth in pornography usage due to technology. He gives lots of statistics, and his main focus is on access by children.
I’m writing a post about it because it both grieved and scared me, especially as a soon-to-be mum. The truth is – I tend towards idealism. This doesn’t mean that I’m ignorant to what is going on in the world – I just choose to block it out from daily life. I have a wonderful world dubber Shannon Land where I spend a lot of my time. But this video served as a wake up call from God. Not only on the issue of protecting my children from pornography, but to the new responsibility Glenn and I will carry as parents.
God’s Word says: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
We must teach our children of God and His ways. This wisdom from Proverbs I see as having many facets. Some of the facets that come to mind include: introducing them to God as Father, Son and Spirit; teaching them to commune with God – both talking and listening!; demonstrating a life well lived by walking daily with God and following His commands; modelling obedience to the Spirit; and, of course, teaching them Scripture – not just how to read it, but also how to study and apply it.
It is easy for us to blame the world, since we are immersed as never both in its culture and teaching. It is easy for us to decline responsibility (just look at the growing theme of parents seeing teachers as the sole person accountable for their child/ren’s education). But God gives us an awesome – aka fear inspiring – responsibility with the blessing of children. We are to steward them down the right road. We are to educate them by word and deed. No matter how evil the world around us, we are the ones that must lead them in righteousness. We must introduce them to God and His ways, so that they can then navigate the world faithfully.
Multiple times Paul called his readers to be imitators of his life:
- I urge you, then, be imitators of me. (1 Corinthians 4:16)
- Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
- And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)
Can we, like Paul, call others to imitate our lives?
There is another important factor when raising up our children in the way that they should go, especially if we want them to imitate our example. That is loving relationship.
Josh McDowell makes the statement: “Truth without relationship leads to rejection [of the truth].”
- Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
- Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)
Thankfully, my parents have provided me with two very good role models – both in regards to raising children in God’s ways, and raising children with love. It is my prayer that I will be able to continue with my children they way they guided me. Parenthood is a daunting responsibility, but a beautiful one, too. Sure I need to open my eyes now, and live a little less in Shannon Land, but I have His grace to see me through.
If you’re already a parent (rather than looking forward, like I am doing), how are you modelling Christ to your children? And how are you showing your children the Father’s love everyday?
Those of us who aren’t quite there yet – let’s pray for Christian parents in our church, asking God to guide them in training up their children.