(In view of this week's DVBS for children)
Though most Christian parents understand that parental guidance and nurture are instrumental in shaping their children’s future, many fail to give their children’s spiritual nurture the predominant place Scripture demands. Generally, parents are distracted from that primary duty by their overriding anxiety concerning children’s secular education and material success. Hence, children’s spiritual education and success have often been set aside. This is a very lamentable situation.
The Holy Scriptures repeatedly insist on the importance of spiritual nurture by believing parents (cf. Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:7; Psalm 78:3-6; Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:15). The hopes of the present generation and the next hang upon this most important rule – “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Charles Bridges (1794-1869), a great biblical scholar and churchman, commented thus on the importance of spiritual nurture of children: “… the religious training must not be the border of the garment, which might easily be cut off. It must be the pervading substance throughout. Begin, as Hannah did, with the dedication of the child to God (1 Samuel 1:28). This done – train him as God’s child, entrusted to your care. Ask guidance from day to day – ‘How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?’ (Judges 13:12). Train him, as a baptised child, in the principles of his baptismal engagements. Pray for him. Teach him to pray. Instruct him from a child in the Holy Scriptures, as the sole rule of faith, and directory of conduct.”
To this end, we regularly hold special Bible programmes for our children. Pray for the blessings of DVBS (30 Nov–2 Dec 2022) that the Word of God will effectively work in our children for their salvation and spiritual growth. May the entire church be in prayer for the DVBS. Please attend this week’s prayer meeting, which will be specially devoted to praying for the DVBS. May the Lord strengthen and bless all who serve in the DVBS with zeal and dedication.
“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:21).
The advice given here for “fathers” is also for “mothers”, as the Greek word patēr is also translated as “parents” elsewhere in our English Bible (Hebrews 11:23). What is said here should be received by all who are parents.
All parents are commanded not to provoke their children lest they be discouraged. They should immediately refrain from any attitude, word or action that would cause irritation and emotional outburst. They must also be careful not to cause discouragement in the children. Parents must spend time daily with their children, instructing, teaching, correcting, encouraging and even entertaining them. They must make every effort to point children to Christ and His will.
The following unwise actions, which can cause severe provocation in children, should be carefully avoided by parents: