Observe My Ways Prov.23:26 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In Prov 23:26, Solomon said, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” In their youth, sons generally give their hearts to their fathers and also observe their ways. That’s the time to instill in them the training that you hope they will desire to follow when they are adolescents. You also hope they will make your ways their own when they are adults.
I know that Prov 22:6 “train up a child” is not a promise but rather a principle – in other words, you may be training your child to be an Abel [he learned to sacrifice from his father] yet he may turn out to be a Cain. However, if you don’t train him, then the principle is not going to work. He may still turn out “good” but if he turns out “bad” it shouldn’t be for your lack of trying. Here are some things that you will want your children to observe:
Observe my ways with the Lord – Parents, you must be involved in every aspect of your child’s training and development – particularly their spiritual development and particularly when they are very young. Timothy’s unfeigned faith was first in his mother and also in his grandmother [2 Tim 1:5]. Tony said he had a drug problem – his parents drug him to church. It may be that your parents are not as spiritual as you desire to be [particularly when kids return from youth camp]. You are not limited in what you can do by what they do or don’t do [Ezek 18:14-18].
Observe my ways with life – you must remember that how you live your life is going to influence how your children live their lives. They may desire to be like you because they love you or they may desire to be different than you because they despise you. Your attitudes will often become their attitudes. Your conduct will often show up in your children’s conduct. The priorities in your life will often become the priorities in your children’s lives. With this level of influence we should be very purposeful in training our children. Parents should be in agreement with each other about how to train their children and what you preach in public you should live in private. You often get out of them what you put into them.
Observe my ways with authority – if you are unruly and disobedient to authority you may find your children rebelling against your authority. If you are respectful and honor authority in your life, you may find your children honoring you. The “tendency” in these last days is for children to go contrary to their parents. Matt 10:21-22, “children shall rise up against their parents;” 2 Tim 3:4 “disobedient to parents;” Prov 30:11 “there is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.” That’s why Elijah’s ministry in the Tribulation will entail turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers [Mal 4:6].
Observe my ways with business – Jesus was subject unto Joseph and Mary [Lk 2:51-52]. He even went into the same trade as Joseph – Joseph was a carpenter [Matt 13:55] and so was Jesus [Mk 6:3]. How often sons go into the same business as their fathers. I know many sons who are in business with their fathers and others who now run the family business. What a compliment to dad. My business ethic I learned from my father
Observe my ways with sin – Children pick up the good and the bad. One son we visited dipped snuff and his father said, “I know where he got that from.” Rehoboam followed his father’s sins. He had many wives and concubines [2 Chr 11:21] and took Solomon’s idolatry even further than his father did [1 Kings 14:22-24] and the sexual sins became perversion. When you harbor secret sins, you think that they are not affecting your family, but spiritually there is an effect. By contrast, look how the Rechabites obeyed their father and refused to sin in Jer 35:5-10.
Observe the ways of your pastors – that is your pastors pray for you and your children and spend a great deal of time preparing lessons and sermons to help you and your family. If you miss more services than you attend, you are not helping your family. We don’t interject ourselves into your family but our love for you and your children is like a father’s love. Paul told the Corinthians [1 Cor 4:15-16] that they could have 10,000 instructors but that they didn’t have many fathers wherefore he told them to “be ye followers of me.” Paul called Timothy “my own son in the faith,” [1 Tim 1:2] and Titus “mine own son after the common faith,” [Titus 1:4].
Conclusion: can your children follow your ways in these areas of your life? If not, change your ways so that they can. The great responsibility of rearing your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord rests with you. Our prayer is that this sermon will help you realize the magnitude of your responsibility and to do all you can to help your children to observe ways that are excellent examples for them.