These are three words that every parent must have in their vocabulary. The goal of every God-fearing parent is to raise their children to honor the Lord and walk with Him. This work is not accomplished accidentally. Rather, it is the result of years of diligence, trial and error, and ultimately, trust in the Lord.
1. We must TEACH
If we are not careful, parenting can become about survival and merely checking off the boxes of to-do lists. We must be on guard to ensure that we are doing more than taking care of homework, ball practice, and laundry. We need to teach our children the Bible. Sometimes this is "caught" and other times it is "taught." What are your children learning about the Bible from you?
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
2. We must TRAIN
As we teach them biblical truths, we must see to it that we are also training them on how to live these lessons out in their daily lives. Training means we do more than merely lecture them -- we actually show them how to be Christians. Further, we watch them and encourage them as they make choices that reflect godly character, and we correct when they make decisions that do not.
Coaches certainly must teach their players how to run the offense. This includes watching film, drawing plays on the board, and talking to them in the locker room. That is not enough, however. Every good coach knows that after teaching them the plays, they must then train them to actually execute the offense. The players must get on the court or field and put it into practice.
This may be the most overlooked part of parenting. Too often parents get distracted (or exhausted!) and they neglect the spiritual development of their children. Then, when they realize their mistake, they get busy giving lessons and instructions (or, just old-fashioned lectures). That is necessary, but it is not enough. The teaching must lead to training. Lectures must give way to real-world actions. We must train them how to apply their salvation in all life situations.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
3. We must RELEASE
If the "training" is the most overlooked, the "releasing" is the hardest. The objective of Christian parenting is not to hold on to your child as long as you can. The purpose is to teach them the Bible, train them to walk in godliness, then release them to live their own life for the glory of the Lord. Obviously, this does not mean that as a parent we stop being involved in their lives. It does not mean that we cease to pray for them or no longer seek to encourage them. It does mean that we recognize our goal is to release them into the world to be a difference maker for the cause of Christ.
Prepare your children to one day be unleashed on this world. They will make mistakes, but they can shine their light in a dark place. We must parent on purpose. Teach your children the Bible. Train them to live out their faith. Release them and trust the Lord to take care of them.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth
Make those arrows sharp and release them unto the glory of God!
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