Parents & Children Mal. 4:5-6 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Youth work involves working with parents and children. The reason is that parents have the greatest influence over their children’s:
Hearts – Mal 4:6 – fathers need to love their children – fathers must turn their hearts to their children in hopes that their children will turn their hearts to their fathers – according to Titus 2:4 even mothers need to be taught to love their children; their love is not as natural as you might think – parents must take their example from the Lord [1 Jn 4:19], we love him because he FIRST loved us – if our children don’t give us their hearts there will always be a limit to how much we can influence them – as we see in Prov 23:24-25 we certainly want to be able to rejoice and be glad when our children are older and that all begins with our love for them and their love for us.
Wills – children have free wills just like we do – our relationship with the Lord is best when our wills are surrendered to his – so our children’s relationship with us is best when they are in subordination to us, when their wills are surrendered – Prov 6:20-21shows us that we are to command our children and, according to Eph 6:1, they must obey – in the perilous times in which we live, children are disobedient to parents – so God gives you ways to deal with their disobedience – Eph 6:4 speaks of bringing them up in the NURTURE and admonition of the Lord – the nurture of the Lord is the rod which is applied early [Prov 13:24] and while there is hope [Prov 19:18].
Minds – as children grow, parents are able to transition from nurture to ADMONITION [Eph 6:4] – you can instruct them and reason with them and answer questions that are sincere inquiries – Prov 4:1-4 shows us that fathers instruct their children – and these instructions often come in the form of reproofs [Prov 6:23] which are the WAY of life – Prov 29:17 tells us to correct our children and if they understand and respond to these corrections, we will have helped them.
Ways – if you have a good and strong influence over your children’s hearts, wills and minds, then you can influence their ways – Prov 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the WAY he should go” – in Prov 23:26 the son who gives his heart to his father also should observe his ways – in Prov 8:32 wisdom tells her children to “keep my ways” – note: it is going to be harder for your children to walk in “his” ways if your walk in his ways is superficial – if you don’t have a spiritual walk with the Lord it is going to be hard for you to show your children how to have a spiritual walk with God – another note: even when your ways please the Lord you cannot determine your children’s relationship with the Lord – they decide for themselves.
Conclusion: Honour – if your children will yield their heart, will, mind and ways to you, not so you can look good but so that you can truly train them, then you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship – your children will honour you and you will help them to prolong their days in the earth [Eph 6:1-3] – that’s good for them and that’s good for you – ultimately you would like to arrive at Prov 17:6 not because you made them do it but because they wanted to – remember you are training the parents of your grandchildren.