To raise our children to be Godly men and women is one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding duties of the Christian parent. The Lord entrusts our precious children to us so that we might, by example and instruction, raise them up to love and serve the Lord.

Let’s start by reading Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” It is improbable and most likely impossible that we will never cause our children to get angry. As they grow and their sinful nature begins to manifest itself, our corrective measures will likely cause them to get angry many times over the course of their growing years. Notice that we are not told to avoid making our children angry. We are instructed to not ‘provoke’ them to anger. This is addressed to the father, who is the head of the home. It is easy to exert authority just to show that you are in charge. This serves only to provoke our children to anger. Using terms such as “Because I said so,” or “As long as you live in my house, you will do what I say!” are not helpful remarks, but only serve to make our children angry and resentful. Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, LEST THEY BE DISCOURAGED.”

Rather, we are instructed to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The word ‘nurture’ literally means ‘disciplinary correction’. It is translated ‘instruction’ in 2 Timothy 3:16, and ‘chastening’ in Hebrews 12:5. The word ‘admonition’ means to ‘rebuke or warn’. The thought here is that the parents are to instruct their children about the Lord. To teach them of His existence, His perfection, His love, His claim on their lives. These are positive truths that must be taught out of the Bible. Parent must also warn their children about their responsibility to the Lord, to love Him, accept Him, and live in accordance to His Word. I’m reminded of the old saying that says, “If you do not teach your children to love the Lord, the world will teach them not to.” Serious thought, indeed.

Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This tells us as parents that we must be hands-on with our children. Training them in the ways of the Lord. Training them in such a way as to appeal of them on their own level and understanding. My wife and I have six children. Each one is different. We have to recognize those differences so that we might train them “in the way he should go.” We must learn our children so that we can appeal to them according to their intellect, their emotions, and their unique personality. We must not try to raise ‘cookie cutter’ children, thinking that each child will think and act alike. If we take the time to do that, and we train them well from the Word of God, the lessons will not depart from them, although there may be times when they stray from the Lord.

The scriptures are full of instruction for the parents of children, so that we might raise them to be Godly men and women. Let’s consider a couple more ways that we train our children.

We train them by our own actions. We constantly teach our children by the things we do. Not all our actions teach positive things. We MUST seek to live our lives as examples for our children to follow. Christ is our example as we read in 1 Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” As parents, we have to constantly examine our example to make sure we are good models for our children.

Prayer cannot be over-emphasized. We must stay on our knees before the Lord, seeking guidance for ourselves and His will for our children. Let’s consider David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:19, “And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes…” This prayer should often be on our lips as we constantly pray for our children. Psalms 127:3 says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” May we all value these inheritances of the Lord and seek to raise them for His glory. (295.4)