Children are important. Not only to their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends, but also to the world as a whole… to God Himself… to His Kingdom. The children of today shape the world they live in more than any generation past. This season speaks louder than any other before, because the time draws near. Children are not going to be seen and not heard as they were once expected to. They are speaking out. They have the opportunity to shape the world as no other generation has done before!
These children need to be raised by parents and their communities to follow in God’s footpaths. They need to be taught Kingdom principles, so that they can shake nations for His glory! They need to be uplifted and prepared for the joys and trials to come!
Each of us, no matter if we have children or not, grandchildren or not… we need to be a light, an example of the love of God. We need to provide an inheritance. An inheritance of faith. Of love. Of righteousness!
Train Up a Child…
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The importance of this one verse cannot be overstated, for it not only serves as a Scripture that parents, grandparents, and guardians can stand on as their children grow and perhaps turn away from God… but it also serves as a guideline for us.
It does not claim that children who are not raised as they ought to will ultimately fail to ever follow God. It does not say that children who are raised well but not perfectly are subject to sin. It says that God’s ways are what should be the groundwork for raising any child, and that, when such groundwork is set in place, He will draw them near to Him when they grow up… and keep them as they do.
“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.’
Then said I:
‘Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’
But the Lord said to me:
‘Do not say, “I am a youth,”
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord.”—Jeremiah 1:4-8
Our actions—as parents, grandparents, guardians, spiritual elders, etc.—serve as deep teaching tools. Deeper sometimes than the spoken word, particularly when our actions contradict our words. We can take children to services, have them watch online, memorize the Ten Commandments, and a host of other things that are accepted as ‘training up a child,’ yet, without a real love for the Father in us, without a firm foundation in our faith, what we say and what we do will not overlap. Taking a child through the motions of faith, but not the actions that come with true faith is hardly training a child in ‘the way they should go.’ It is all pomp and circumstance that can shift at the slightest shaking…
There exists no cookie cutter formula for raising up a child in God’s ways. No ratio of Church services, Bible studies, charitable acts and giving, and special programs. Training up a child in the way they should go consists of a desire to serve God out of love, faith, and hope, not obligation, or worse still, fear. However, it is true that no one is perfect except for the Perfect One, Yeshua. We can only lean on God, trusting Him to guide our steps and to, through His serving as our Perfect Father, echo His parental skills in raising up the children around us…
The main tools to echo God’s behavior are found in the relationship we build with Him. Time spent in prayer, worship, and praise, in fellowship and giving, in forgiveness and the Word of God… all serving as building blocks of relationship with Him. Teaching us to walk in love, faith, and hope. To be able to hear the voice of Holy Spirit within us and then go a step beyond in obedience. In action.
To raise up children in the way they ought to go, we ourselves need to discover more about our God. Trusting Him to fill in any gaps we leave, but also realizing that we need to become spiritually fat, so that only the yoke of God can rest upon us. So that, through growing spiritually fat, we can not only speak in faith, but walk in it. Combining our words AND actions into a powerful force of teaching and training for the children who are to be raised up in God’s pathways and all others God puts in our path.
Let the Children Come…
“…Jesus called them to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.’”—Luke 18:16
Sometimes we mistakenly believe that children, not having the wisdom of years, are not a spiritual force. That God cannot work through them. Or give them supernatural wisdom. But Yeshua Himself understood that children, being open to His presence and teaching, could be used mightily for His Kingdom. He understood that as open vessels, they need to be fed spiritually, just as any adult needs to be…
The Holy Spirit lives inside of us. He lives inside the children of the world. He speaks to them, just as He speaks to us. Consequently, He works through children, just as He works through us.
While we do not know the age of Jeremiah when God first called him to prophesy, we do know that he was a youth (see Jeremiah 1). Jeremiah did not think himself old enough to do what the Lord asked, but God was not uncertain of His choice. God could have chosen anyone to be a prophet for Him, but He chose a youth… He chose Jeremiah.
Now, this is not a claim that God only chooses the young to do wonderful things for Him. He uses people of all ages. Both men and women. What this is, however, is a wake-up call. That whom God chooses He provides for. He protects. He readies. Be they a child or not.
The call on each child’s life is different and some may not begin as early as others. There are prophets, and teachers, and apostles. There are those that need cheering on, and those who stand quietly assured by God. And each serves a special Kingdom purpose…
Teachers, parents, grandparents, guardians, and others need to specifically seek the Lord’s will and guidance to raise up the children in their care. And all of us, no matter if we regularly have children around us or not, need to serve as Godly examples! Not perfect, but ready to humbly turn to God at any moment when our actions, thoughts, or words fail to align with the Lord’s. Standing strong in our faith. Loving in our actions. With our focus firmly on the face of our God!
Perfection is not a requirement to raise up this next generation, or else no one but God Himself could. Only a God-focus is required. The desire to fulfill all God has written in our books as we build up His Kingdom.
So, let us raise up children in the way they should go. Let us stand in faith that they, having been filled with God’s ways, will come before the throne of God. And let us believe that they will do great and mighty things for the Lord! In their youth and on into every day of their lives!