Last week, I wrote a fair amount of the obligation parents have in training their children for righteousness. I know of no greater obligation parents have: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Consider the alternative: If parents do not train their children for righteousness, those precious souls may very well spend an eternity in hell simply because their parents were more interested in their own pursuits instead of their children’s spiritual well-being.
Today, I wish to offer some suggestions parents can take to help train their children to walk in the ways of God.
Model right behavior before your children.
A proper example goes a long, long way in leading your children in righteousness. Instead of simply telling them the way they should go, you show them the way to show. As Luke opened Acts, he wrote, “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). Notice carefully the order of Luke’s wording—Jesus did and taught. I doubt seriously that order is accidental. Jesus modeled right behavior before he taught right behavior. Can parents do anything less?
Teach the Word.
As you model right behavior before your children, you need to teach them the reason for that right behavior—the will of God. Paul wrote to Timothy: “From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). How could Timothy have known the sacred writings from childhood unless he were taught by Lois and Eunice?
How can you go about teaching the Word?
Tell your children Bible stories from their earliest childhood.
My elder son loved for me to tell him the story of Abraham’s sacrificing Isaac every evening when I tucked him into bed. I’m not sure why he loved for his daddy to tell him about a father attempting to slay his son every evening, but RJ wanted to hear that story and hear it he did.
Make sure your child has an age-appropriate Bible.
Your child need not be shackled trying to read Scripture from a translation you yourself can barely grasp. Give your child a Bible that he can read for himself. (You should carefully check children’s Bibles, however, for many will contain error).
Have regular devotional times.
Read and teach Scripture as a family on a regular basis.
Encourage private Bible reading.
Give your children an “assignment” to read a certain section of Scripture and come back together as a family to discuss it and learn from God’s Word.
When the church comes together, make sure that you and your family worship together. Don’t attend a ballgame or band concert or school activity when the church assembles. Teach your children that the enticements of the world never come before worship to the Father.
Serve together as a family. Visit the sick and shut-in. Take food to a need family. Show up and help on church work days. Teach your children that service to the church and to brethren and to the needy are vital parts of Christianity.
God bless you and your family this day!