Last night, my wife and I went out to dinner. Alone. With four boys, this is quite a feat, but since the grandparents took all four, we decided to go to a restaurant that we wouldn’t have been able to afford had all four of our boys been with us. In the course of the night, we noticed a little boy with a tablet. Almost the entire evening, it seemed like he wasn’t even there, with the exception of the time that the tablet stopped working and had to be fixed. I realize that maybe it could have been date night and this was the only way to get it done, but still, it got me thinking: how often do we do that? How often do we outsource our parenting to someone or something else?
Over my years in ministry, one of the most tragic recurring events is when parents are in my office, sobbing, and saying things like “What went wrong? I did everything for them, I raised them in church, I gave them such a good life!” The majority of the time, if we go back far enough, parents were more concerned with giving their children everything, making sure their life was good, making them the center of their lives, but not taking Proverbs 22:6 seriously: “train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I’m not here to make a blanket statement on parenting: even the best childhood and parents, and everything done right can still see kids making huge mistakes and falling away from Christ. Yet, the majority of conversations I’ve had, the parents were more concerned with earning favor and love than raising and training.
Make no mistake, parents, the world is after our children. Corporations have come and said it, those with radical agendas have said it, the media has said it, some within the education system have said it. If we do not raise up and train, someone else or something else will. We need to unplug our children from the tech and media and engage them. When we stand before God, it is us, their parents, that will be responsible for the time we had with them. What will we say? I don’t merely want good boys: the devil is not opposed to good and moral people, He’s opposed to Jesus Christ. So I want to give my boys Jesus. What will you do with the time you have left with them, parents? Children do not fall in a single day, do everything you can to bring them to Jesus so that this fall becomes less and less likely.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 - 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Joshua 4:20-24 -And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
Psalm 127:3 -Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Proverbs 13:24 -Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Proverbs 22:6 -Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 29:15 -The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Proverbs 29:17 -Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
Ephesians 6:4 -Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 -Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Titus 2:7 -Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,