I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois, and your mother, Eunice. And I know that faith continues strong in you
(2Timothy 1:5 NLT).
It is a blessed child indeed who grows in an environment where he or she is shown love, and raised in the ways of the Lord. Most children who are the product of single parenthood, broken homes, or homes where God is not acknowledged as Sovereign, have made a shipwreck of their lives. Some are strung out on drugs, others are languishing in jail, others are held in slavery to alcohol, others have taken the despicable lifestyle of prostitution, while still others with twisted personalities have resorted to rape, serial killing, sexually abusing minors, and committing suicide.
We often are alarmed at the rate of escalation of the moral decadence that is fast becoming the norm in our society. Parents are afraid for their children because of the negative and ungodly influences that have flooded the media. All manner of lasciviousness are been portrayed as normal. When violence is seen on TV as been cool, when immorality is seen as fun, and perversion such as homosexuality is now being clamoured for, what is the way out?
Given the fact that some children who had the best parenting still end up as juvenile delinquents and deviants from accepted norm, it still follows that godly parenting has a tremendous impact in shaping the character of our children. It has been proven time and again that children who were raised in homes where Christ is taught and modeled are more likely to make it in life than those who were not so privileged.
That being so, it is of utmost importance that we do all in our power to set them on the right track. It is no accident or happenstance when King Solomon admonishes to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. When parents fail to bring up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, the street does the training. The TV set gives them life lessons that often lead to perdition.
Timothy was privileged to have a godly heritage. We were not told about his father. From history, we know that his father was Greek while his mother was Jewess. However, what we do know is that the two women who actively participated in his upbringing were godly women. Timothy did not pick the godly lifestyle he had from the streets. He was immensely influenced by both his grandma and his mom.
It is safe for me to suggest that grandma Lois shaped the character of his mom Eunice, who in turn transferred what was deposited into her to her son. It is equally safe for me to suggest that grandma Lois lived long enough to make an input in the young man's life.
Just like we saw with Timothy, it is not only the fathers that can train their children in the ways of the Lord. Specifically, his grand mother and mother were named as the tutors who help shape his character. This should be good news to those who are widows among us. Just because you were left alone to put food on the table, clothes on your children's back and provide a roof to shelter them, doesn't mean you don't have what it takes to model what Christlikeness is to your children. God's grace is abundantly available to you.
Paul's's work was made easier because Timothy already has that godly heritage characterizing his life. He didn't have to start the process of tutoring him to be godly. We can make the pastor's work less burdensome by ensuring we equip them with the truth that set them on the paths of righteousness. That way the pastor concentrates in discipling them straightway instead of first trying to cast 'demons' out of them. Hence the question is where do you belong? Do you help prepare your children for discipleship or do you present delinquents who are nothing but nuisances to the body of Christ?
Our responsibilities as parents and guardians include providing food, clothing and shelter as well as education to our children. However, if that is all we do, it doesn't stop them from owning guns or becoming drunks or venturing into prostitution. Education alone does teach them to become responsible people in the society. In fact, education may help him read the manual of 'How to Build a Bomb'. Education may teach him how to use the Internet to scam people. Most of the armed robbers we encountered, are they not educated? But the knowledge of God will build in him or her integrity, courage, and truthfulness. It will help manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit in them.
Teaching our wards the ways of the Lord becomes imperative. It is the best legacy we can ever leave them. It is good to leave houses and lands, and shares and bank accounts filled with money. However, the best gift we can give them is teaching, coaching, mentoring and guiding them in the ways of the Lord. And this doesn't just happen when we gather in the morning to read the bible and sing hymns and pray as a family.
As important as these aspects of worship are in our homes, we must go beyond that. We must live what we preach. We must strive to exemplify the godly lifestyles we desire to see in our children. Let them not just learn to obey what we instruct them, but also to emulate what they see us do. In other words, let them see us walking the talk. Again, let's watch what they watch. Let's be actively involved in our children's upbringing. We must make the effort to remove from them any negative influence that has the potency of corrupting the good deposit we have worked into their lives. In the book of Acts chapter one, Jesus instructs that the disciples begin witnessing in Jerusalem. Our Jerusalem is our homes. If we will effectively preach the word in and out of season, we must first begin at home.
May the power of Christ which is able to keep us, as parents and our entire family, from falling and to present us faultless before the Father, be our portion now and always as we strive to live and leave a lasting legacy of a godly heritage.