THE INFLUENCE OF GODLY PARENTS
[Genesis:18:16-19]; [Deuteronomy:6:6-15]; [Joshua:24:14-15]; [2 Timothy:1:1-5].
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” [PRO:22:6]).
An old adage, “Just as the twig is bent the tree is inclined,” is quite true. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The influence of parents on a child begins as soon as he is born. If a parent is true and never deceives a child in any way, that child will grow up to have implicit confidence in the parent.
The mind of a child is very tender and easily influenced toward God and righteousness when a parent begins to instill those truths from birth. There is no heritage so valuable to a child as a godly, Christian home. It implants in the child a love and reverence for God\'s Word.
We have an example of parental influence in the life of Timothy. Paul speaks of Timothy’s unfeigned faith, which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and then his mother Eunice. The groundwork for Christian character was sown in his heart by his mother and grandmother.
When the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached in Lystra, there was a ready response in Timothy's heart to the truth. He was converted to Christianity and became one of Paul’s faithful ministers. Paul tenderly speaks of him as his own son in the Gospel. Two Epistles written by Paul to Timothy are incorporated in the Bible and give us valuable instructions in righteousness. We have in Timothy a grand example of parental influence.
In speaking of Abraham the Lord says, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment” [Genesis:18:19]). Because Abraham commanded his household, the Lord felt He could reveal to him the secret of what He was about to do. It was a great tribute paid to Abraham in the way he was rearing his children. We are told in the New Testament that anyone desiring the office of an elder or bishop must be one who rules his own house well, “having his children in subjection with all gravity” [1 Timothy:3:1-4]).
Job was a man who, the Lord said, was perfect and upright, and who feared God and hated evil. He continually offered sacrifices and burnt offerings for his children, lest in their feastings their hearts would be turned from righteousness into the paths of worldliness and sin. He was faithful to his children but he did not worship or make idols out of them. When they were swept away from him in a few moments of time, he didn’t blame God or question why that should befall him. He bowed his head and worshipped and said, “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
There are times when a child needs correction, and parents need much wisdom to know how and when to administer that correction. Paul says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” [Colossians:3:21]). Then in [Hebrews:12:9], we read: “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence.” A parent should never get angry and in hate punish a child. It is punishments that are administered hastily and without discretion that provoke a child to discouragement. When it is explained to a child that he has done wrong and must be punished for the wrong or disobedience, it is then the child understands properly his punishment. He will in after years, if not at that time, give reverence to his parents. Many times the parent grieves as he punishes his child. “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” Parental influence on children determines to a great extent whether they will make Heaven their home or be eternally lost. What a responsibility!
a) Who are godly parents? Parents whose hearts have been transformed by the Blood of Jesus Christ and who live a life of victory over sin. [Psalms:32:1-2]; [Romans:8:1-2]; [Colossians:1:12-15]; 1 [John:3:4-10].
b) How can one be transformed by the Blood of Jesus? [Jeremiah:3:13]; [Proverbs:28:13]; [2 Chronicles:7:14]; [Isaiah:55:6-7]; [1 John:1:9].
Item 2: What are the characteristics of the home of godly parents? A godly home
a) is governed by the Word of God. [Genesis:18:17-19]; [Deuteronomy:6:6-9]; [Psalms:119:9], [Psalms:119:9];[Psalms:119:11], [Psalms:119:9];[Psalms:119:105]; [Joshua:1:7-8].
b) should have mutual understanding, love and respect for one another. [Romans:13:8-10]; [Colossians:3:12-24]; [1 Peter:3:1-9].
c) should be hospitable. [Romans:12:13]; [Hebrews:13:2]; [1 Peter:4:9-10]; [Genesis:18:1-8].
Item 3: What are the responsibilities of godly parents to their children? They should
a) teach them to be earnest in prayer and in reading the Word of God. [Deuteronomy:6:6-7]; [Proverbs:22:6]; [1 Kings:2:1-4]; [1 Chronicles:28:9]; [2 Timothy:4:1-2].
b) teach them dignity of labour and a sense of responsibility. [Proverbs:10:5];[Proverbs:12:11];;:13:11; [Genesis:2:15]; [Proverbs:31:13-22]; [Proverbs:22:29].
c) correct them when they go wrong. [Proverbs:6:6-8]; [Proverbs:29:17]; [Proverbs:13:24]; [Proverbs:19:18]; [Proverbs:22:15]; [Proverbs:23:13-14].
d) not provoke them to anger, but to love and provide for their needs. [Ephesians:6:4]; [Colossians:3:21]; [1 Timothy:5:8].
e) be worthy examples. [Job:1:5]; [1 Timothy:4:12], [1 Timothy:4:16]; [2 Timothy:2:15]; [2 Thessalonians:3:7-9]; [Titus:2:7-9].
The Bible is quite explicit in regard to duties of parents to children and children to parents. The home is a divine institution. God ordained it to be a unit. The Lord saw in the beginning that it was not good for man to be alone, and He gave him a helpmeet. We are told that children are a heritage of the Lord.
A great responsibility rests on parents. The parents should be the source of wisdom, support and guidance for their children. Children should be shown the pleasure of parental love and affection. They need reproof but they also need encouragement. “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother” [Proverbs:10:1]). “Fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” [Ephesians:6:4]).
Remember the old adage, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” “As is the home, so is the nation.” The home is the bulwark of the nation. If our homes are broken and divided, we will soon have a broken nation. If we build up strong Christian homes, we shall have a nation no enemy can overthrow.
CHALLENGE: Are you alive to your responsibility as a godly parent?