In the beginning, amid all that God was bringing into existence, He created a man and a woman. The first of their kind. God had made them special. He planned for them to fill the earth with souls and bodies just like theirs. God said: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). And God “saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). God saw perfect beauty in what He had made. God designed the human race to be able to bear children. In a manner of speaking, God allowed and enabled humans to be “creators” of children. He fashioned the male and female bodies to function as the source of conception, development, and entry into this world. It is an awesome privilege and a fantastic blessing to have a part in the life of a little soul. And after nine months of excruciating patience, there is hardly any greater joy in this life than that of greeting a little precious being. Those eyes. That nose. The smile. Those tiny hands. Feet so soft. The birth of a child is the greatest wonder of the world.
This is what Solomon said about the blessing of having children: “children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalm 127)
Bringing a soul into this world is the “easy” part. It’s what happens after birth that God has entrusted us with. It’s more than the diaper changes. More than the milk. It’s more than the mush they call food. It’s more than the toys. It is the training of our children to give their lives to the Lord. With the great joy of birth comes great responsibility. God didn’t make us to just fill this world with little beings. He has put their hearts into our hands. To love. Protect. Raise. Train. So that, in the end, these souls that started with innocent little hearts will give their lives to the God who created them. It has been said that children are God’s gift to us and that our gift to God is giving them back to Him. Parents have the awesome task of leading their children through this dark, sinful world. And it ain’t easy. But if we work hard at it and fight for righteousness, then our children can make it.
The best way to prepare for parenthood is to approach it the way that Samson’s father did: “teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born…what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” (Judges 13). Perfect! No better way than to ask God our Creator what HE wants us to do with the children HE gives us. Teach us. What are we to do? How should we live? What is his purpose for living? If we plan to be a parent, or if we are already one, then put your nose in the book. What book you ask? It’s not a psychology book. It ain’t Oprah’s. Not Dr. Phil. No Hollywood star bio. And it sure isn’t a book written by Kevin Heaton. It’s the ABC’s of the B.I.B.L.E. You know how bookshelves or toys or cars all come with instructions? Well, thankfully God has given us the instruction manual for children. So look at these lessons from the big “B” book.
This is what the Lord said of Abraham and his children: “I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice” (Genesis 18:19). Joshua made the outstanding declaration for his way of parenting and what their family motto was going to be: “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness…me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14-15). If this isn’t our “parenting style,” then we have a big problem.
Since parents have been around this world for a while and have the experiences of life, God wants them to teach their kids what it is all about. And how to live the right way. “You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His rules, and His commandments always. And consider today (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), consider the discipline of the LORD your God, His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm, His signs and His deeds…For your eyes have seen all the great work of the LORD that He did. You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today…love the LORD your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul…You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 11).
God’s design for parents is to train the children He blesses them with so that they grow up to live righteous and holy lives. If we do not teach our children, the world of sin will. Moses said in the previous passage of Deuteronomy 11 that he was speaking to the parents and not the children because the parents were the ones who had seen, heard, and known what the answers were and they were to show their children. Another example is when Israel was finally allowed to enter the promised land. Moses told the people to set up twelve stones to be a memorial of the Jordan crossing (Joshua 4). It was meant to be a teaching tool that when Israel’s children asked about it, the parents could teach them what God had done for His people so that they too would fear and believe.
Solomon, in the wisdom that God gave him, said in Proverbs 22:6 that we are to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Without teaching and training in righteousness, children will depart from the Lord their Maker. “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
So parents, give serious thought to your responsibility. It will have an eternal outcome. When you look into your child’s eyes, please see her looking back at you, longing for your love. When you count his fingers and toes, ask yourself what he will be doing with those hands and feet when he grows up. Parents, when you hear the silly words and the laughter that comes from your little one’s mouth, look into the future and listen to what that child may or may not be saying one day. Taking care of our children’s physical needs is wonderful. But if we really love our kids, we will take care of their precious souls. God bless all parents. God bless our children. Praise be to God our Father who is the greatest example of a parent’s love.