As children of God, we must have courage to show the world how our lives are filled with shalom/peace, because Jesus, the King of peace (Isaiah 9:5), surrounds us. Besides, Jesus is also the Word that became flesh (John 1:14) who teaches us to live in the path of truth. What does Proverbs 22: 6 say relating to an upbringing? "Train a child in the way that he should go when he is old he will not turn from it." - NET)

There are three groups who are involved in that verse, they are the advisor, the person who receives the advice to be passed on to young people/children that the advice is handed down/forwarded just like the great commission of Jesus to be handed down through discipleship that all nations become His disciples (Matthew 28 : 19).
It turns out that speech – whether it educates or not - affects the future of those who hear. One’s way in accepting advice may be different from the others’. For example, parents will probably use different way in advising each of their three children. But most importantly, each advice must be in accordance with the word of God.

We further discuss the verses above and divide it into three points, namely:

1.    Train a young man/a child

Kids are taught to honor their parents in accordance with the fifth law (Deuteronomy 5:16; 8:7) while fathers should not provoke their children to anger, but raise them up in discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
In fact, fathers are often too harsh and without realizing it, they have provoked anger in the children’s heart that results in revenge when they are older.
Why do children need to be disciplined in the instruction of the Lord? Because man is unable to give proper upbringing and parents have limitations due to their culture, experience and also time, whereas the discipline from the Lord is intended for us to partake in His holiness (Hebrews 12:9-10).

Keep in mind every verse from Genesis to Revelation contains God’s discipline which is good. Therefore, do not be picky by having favorite verses and ignoring the other verses which do not please our heart. The liberals feel that the Bible is not suitable for young people and children, so they make their own Bible using funny pictures to attract youngsters which is not biblical at all. It is because Jesus is characterized as a super hero, whereas Jesus is actually the Mesiah, the living Son of God (Matthew 16:16).

Take note, parents should bring up their children well in the eyes of God because it deals with holiness. Do not use the holiness of man’s point of view because the holiness of family A might not be the same with the holiness of family B but we have to go back to the holiness of God if we want to meet Him (Hebrews. 12:14). Indeed, now we can not see God but then when the time comes we will meet face to face with Him who has saved us (1 John 3:2-3). Therefore from now on our life has to be sanctified by the Word of God (Ephesians. 5:26), by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16), and by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7).

When do parents start disciplining their children?
In bringing up chilren there are several phases: baby, toddler, teenager, grown up then married.

Newborn babes need pure milk to be able to grow healthily and the spiritual babes need pure ‘milk’ as well that is the pure word of God that can make their soul grow healthily to gain salvation (1 Peter 2:2).

Did not the doctor say that breast milk is the perfect food for baby because it contains no preservatives, sweeteners, etc.? Besides having high nutritious breast milk, a baby who drinks breast milk will get a strong warm bond with his mother in her cuddle. That's why the apostle Paul illustrated the struggle of his ministry to the Thessalonians as a mother (nursing mother = breastfeeding mother) who nurtures and takes care of her children (1 Thessalonians 2:5-7).

Pastors, elders and deacons should give the congregation warmth, friendliness, closeness (with no hidden motivations). Is there a mother who breastfeeds and takes care of her sick child just to make a name and to be praised? The service of a mother for her child is based on a sincere heart, full of love and personal experience of eating healthy food to be passed on to her children.

Parents must have personal experience with the word of God first before giving advice to their children, not just pick some verses like giving formula milk. For example: when the father-mother have maintained the holiness of their marriage by staying away from sexual immorality, their advice to their children to resist the temptation of sex, will be heard. 

The Apostle Paul reminded us not to add man’s philosophy to the Bible. Experience with the word of God is like nutrient that makes healthy children grow spiritually and gain salvation. Notice, God never uses plan 1, 2, 3 and so on if plan number 1 or 2 failed. He never changes his perfect design.

Parents are obliged to discipline their children from infancy with gentleness, according to the will of God with the pure ‘milk' of the word of God until they grow to be toddlers - teenagers - adults. What will happen afterward?

2.    In the way he should go

Parents’ prayer and advice will never be in vain even when the child is already a teenager/adult but behaves bad due to improper social relationship. Do not be quick to judge as Adam and Eve did when they fell into sin. They blamed and vilified others. Do not be in despair easily – take a good example from a mother who persevered in prayer and fasting for his son, Aurelius Augustinus hipponensis, who was immoral – liked to  get drunk and live in fornication. Even until she died, she had not seen the change in her son’s life, but her prayer was not in vain because her son finally repented and became the famous father of the church.

Parents should discipline their grown up children in the way he should go, that is to provide moral education in the form of constructive rebuke not destructive one. What is Paul's counsel to young Timothy? "... .flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22)
Parents should give trust to young people while reminding their weaknesses, such as lusts (sex, eating and drinking excessively, etc.). Indeed God created good ‘lust/desire' but since the fall, man is no longer able to control his lusts resulting in the rampant rise of crime, then he becomes far away from God. That is why parents must drive their children to go back to the way he should go.

Furthermore, a young man should be taught to be able to control his emotion by avoiding controversies that can ignite strife (2 Timothy 2:23). The fact is a young man’s emotion is easily ignited. A discussion and debate is good to broaden our knowledge but do not take it into a quarrel.

What is the parents’ advice to their son/daughter who is going to get married? "Marriage must be honored among all and the marriage bed kept undefiled, for God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers. Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? " (Hebrews 13: 4-6)

Do not consider it taboo to educate our children about sex as it is good for their marriage! Explain about the holiness of sexual relationship that is only for husband and wife, so that they will not live recklessly. Certainly marriage can not be separated from the issue of money because they will have to live independently, no longer beg his parents for money. Therefore, do not get married if you do not have a job yet as it will embarrass the name of the Lord!

3.    …when, he is old he will not turn from it

If parents discipline their children from early age to love the word of God and introduce God who created man perfectly in every way, they will not deviate from the path of truth in their old age because the Lord leads the step of the righteous. Even if he trips, he will not fall headinglong, for the Lord holds his hand. (Psalm 37: 23-24). God does not let their children beg for food; on the contrary, they are blessed by Him (v. 25).

It is a joy for parents to see their children and grandchildren love the word of God since their childhood, proven with having respect to the elderly, living in holiness in their youth, marriage and even in their old age they do not deviate from the word of God. Eternity will be obtained when they meet the Lord Jesus. Amen.

By Ps. Paulus Budiono

Transalator : Samuel Sirait
Editor      : Ida Rosita


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