Tuesday: The Joy and Responsibility of Parenting

Read Ps. 127:1-5. What is the basic message of this short psalm? What important principles should we take away from it for ourselves and how we live?
When you wish to cook your favorite dish, you follow a recipe. If you add all the needed ingredients and follow all the steps, the majority of the time you get the desired results. Parenting, though, is not like cooking. No child is exactly like any other child, and even if you do everything just as you have done with other children, they can turn out different. This may have to do with their gender, the order in which they were born, their temperaments, or a host of other reasons. In God’s plan, parents would lead and teach their children to love and obey Him (Deut. 6:4-9, Ps. 78:5-7). The directive from God to parents is to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6, NKJV), not to hover over children to make sure they never make any wrong decisions.
While we want to see our children go from cuddly, defenseless, little people to independent, successful adults, our ultimate responsibility is that they come to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ. As parents, we can follow the plan for the spiritual development of our children outlined in Deuteronomy 6. There are four important prerequisites: That we recognize “the LORD our God” (Deut. 6:4), that we love Him fully from the heart (Deut. 6:5), that we treasure His Word (Deut. 6:6), and that we share with our children what we know about Him (Deut. 6:20-23).
Deuteronomy 6 continues on to provide two important principles. First, the “teach-talk” principle (Deut. 6:7). Teaching refers to formal education, while talking refers to informal instruction. In both cases, the communication of biblical truth takes place within the setting of the parent-child relationship. Formal times of teaching can happen during family worship as we study God’s Word with them. Informal teaching arises spontaneously in the circumstances of day-to-day life and is even more important. Everyday incidents can become effective vehicles for communicating biblical truth (Gen. 18:19). The second is the “bind-write” principle (Deut. 6:8-9). Spiritual truth must be bound up in our actions (“hand”) and attitudes (“head”), but it must also be inscribed in our private (“doorposts”) and public (“gates”) lives. It must move from our hearts into our homes and from our homes into the world.

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