How Do I Spiritually Prepare My Children To Stand?
by Rayola Kelley
Q: I am a parent who is struggling with how to raise my children to be spiritually prepared to stand in these precarious times. Do you have any suggestions?
A: My heart certainly goes out to parents. We are living in dark times, and unless our children take hold of their spiritual heritage and personally own it for themselves, I feel they will be swept out with the tidal wave of darkness, delusion and destruction that is sweeping the world.
The best suggestion I can give parents is to look to Scripture. Even though many do not regard some of the Old Testament teachings, they are priceless. We need to, not only take note of its instructions, but its examples as well. If we want our children to stand in these end days, they need to purpose in their heart to do it right as did Daniel when he was taken from the palace of Judah to the palace of Babylon to be trained in the ways of the Babylonians. Scripture tells us that Daniel had developed an excellent spirit that allowed him to stand and withstand some trying times (Daniel 1:8; 6:3).
The truth is we cannot make our children purpose in their heart to do right in regard to God, nor can we instill an excellent spirit in them so they can withstand the lion’s den. However, the Bible does clearly give parents an excellent example to consider and live by when it comes to influencing the hearts and minds of their children.
Most parents know Solomon’s instruction in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Train has to do with influencing a child’s behavior. In order to influence a child’s behavior, you must encourage and establish proper attitudes towards how they are to conduct themselves. Attitudes influence character and integrity.
Parents have a tendency to try to influence a child’s way of thinking about something to get them to line up to their opinions or personal take on something rather than address wrong attitudes and behavior through cultivating what is right and disciplining that which is foolish and deviant. Children need a contrast in order to come to proper conclusions so they will make the right decisions when faced with temptation.
This brings us to the proper way of training a child in the way that he or she should go. We see in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 that the Lord instructs the parents as to how to train their children in the way they should go. He begins with the reality that if His ways are not a natural inspiration or extension of their heart or life, it certainly will not be part of their children’s life. If the parent does not take personal ownership of their Scriptural responsibility towards God, neither will their children.
To me the greatest problem I see with our young people is that they cannot see how the life the Bible speaks of could possibly be applicable, attractive or realistic for them to function in the world in which they live. The reason for this is that the parents have separated their spiritual life from their everyday life, which includes decisions, priorities and the way they conduct their daily affairs. They have not only failed to teach them of the satisfaction of the excellent ways the Christian life can afford them in their daily living and practices, but they have failed to value the principles of this life and live it as a walking, viable testimony before their children.
For many young people the Christian life is a ritual you do on Sunday morning instead of a life that is to be lived on a daily basis, which influences every decision, as well as helps in guarding their heart, and giving them the necessary wisdom as to how they must conduct themselves in every situation that they confront.
To me, the hardest vocation in the world is being a parent. Without God’s Spirit, wisdom, strength, and Word, there is no real hope for each succeeding generation. I hope this will give you a compass in which to seek God for His abiding wisdom and strength to encourage your children in the righteous ways of the saints such as the great prophet, Daniel.