Thursday, March 2, 2023

The Way He Should Go (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6)

"Train a child in the way he should go …" (Prov. 22:6a).

One of the most damaging consequences of the pervasive acceptance of humanistic psychology in our culture is the disintegration of proper training of children. Fundamental to the psychological approach to child-rearing is the presupposition that humans are no different than animals. Much behavior research is done on animals with the results applied to explain human behavior. This approach ignores the reality that children are rational, moral, and immortal creatures, endowed with the image of God, though tainted by sin in every aspect of their being. Animals possess none of these characteristics. Treating children as if they were merely fleshy creatures runs counter to God’s unique design of His creatures.

God has given parents the weighty responsibility to train children. Everything the child will encounter in life hangs on this training. Two paths lie before him—the way he would go, which is headlong to ruin and the way he should go, which is the pathway to heaven. While salvation rests solely on God’s sovereignty and grace, He has ordained the family as the primary means of bringing children into His kingdom. He has also commanded parents to train children according to His ways, not according to worldly wisdom. For parents to train children as God would have them trained, they must know God’s Word and live according to His ways.

Inherent in training is preparation and formation of character. Such training can certainly begin too late, but it can never begin too soon. “Begin, as Hannah did, with the dedication of the child to God (1 Sam. 1:28.),” Bridges wrote. “This done—train him as God’s child, entrusted to your care. Ask guidance from day to day … Train him, as a baptized child, in the principles of his baptismal engagements. Pray for him. Teach him to pray. Instruct him ‘from a child in the Holy Scriptures,’ as the sole rule of faith and directory of conduct.”

Unless you give the child biblical principles to live by, you abandon him, utterly helpless, at the mercy of his own sinful nature. Do not leave children to go their own way, certainly to ruin and despair. Train them according to sound biblical principles that they might be prepared to take the path that leads to life.

The application is obvious—are you training your children according to God’s ways? Whether a parent or not, are you shaping your own life according to biblical principles? Think of decisions you have to make today, no matter how small. What would God have you do? Pray about it and go to the Word for instruction.