Building up believers and the New Testament church

Training Children

Training, Preparation for God's Working

Perhaps lurking somewhere in our thinking is an idea that if we fail with our children, God will correct it somewhere down the line. The mercy of God is everlasting, but we cannot try the mercy of God in that way. God has given us instruction, and it is for a reason. We cannot make Christians out of our children; only God can do that. But our place is a place of preparation. Remember that one of the main points of training is teaching proper response to authority. This is mainly to prepare our children to recognize and respond to the authority of God when He speaks.

If through neglect we have trained our children to ignore authority, then they are also likely to ignore the authority of God. When they touch God's authority, will they also say, "Why?" or "I know," or will they have a quick response of "Yes, sir!" in their hearts? Our training will have a considerable bearing on this. We cannot make that decision for them, but we can prepare them. We can train them.

We may have a question about the difference between character that is built into a child, and character that is built by the Holy Spirit in the sons of God. Only the life of God within a man can bring the true character of God in fullness. But character can be built to a certain point by the training of parents. A child can be taught to be honest even without the life of God. The Holy Spirit brings a further dimension of honesty in spiritual matters and in the heart. We cannot train our children into being Christians, but the character that we are able to teach will be consistent with the life of God.

A word should be said about the relationship between training children, and qualifications for labor in the church. God ties them directly together. If we do not know how to manage our own households and command our children, we are not qualified to labor in the church (I Timothy 2:5). There are many similarities between the two. We carry our "qualification cards" with us at all times. Our families are observed on a continual basis. The success with which we manage our homes will either open the door for a further witness or close the door to any further words. Life goes before words.