TRAIN UP A CHILD IN THE WAY THEY OUGHT TO GO
Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (The words, ‘train up,’ mean to ‘hedge up’ or ‘hedge in.’ It is like building a fence around a child; however, what are to be fenced in must be two things: the child and the Bible. This is the ‘way he should go.’)”
As many of you know, Jill and I welcomed our new baby girl, Caroline Frances Swaggart, into this world on October 15, 2013. There has been much excitement over the birth of Caroline Frances in the Swaggart household especially with her big sisters, Samantha and Abby. Watching both girls interact with their new baby sister has brought Jill and I much joy and happiness. Holding Caroline Frances in my arms is such a tremendous feeling of love that it really cannot be expressed properly with words. As someone once told me, “You really do not know what unconditional love is until you hold your child in your arms,” and I can say that he was right.
If there were an important time to discuss this simple subject, it would be now. I can proudly say that I grew up in a Christian home with family members who knew God and who had experienced the Power and Presence of God. Oftentimes growing up, I’ve had those same experiences and feelings myself. Our girls – Sam, Abby, and Caroline – will grow up in that same environment, having the ability to feel and experience the Presence of God, even as children and, quite honestly, there could be nothing better than that.
The Bible teaches parents to “Train up a child in the way he should go: even when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). These words, penned by the Holy Spirit, but given to Solomon, are of extreme importance even now. The words “train up” simply mean to “hedge in” or “hedge up.” The idea is that the parents build and place a fence around the child, not to let any strange thing in which could bring harm to that child. As a parent, protection – both physical and spiritual – is vital. Of course, we are speaking of raising that child in the Ways of the Lord. When a child is “trained up” in the Ways of the Lord, which is by the Bible, and that child is faced with the temptations and seductions of this world, that child will not depart from its training. In reality, parents do hold the future and fate of their child in the palms of their hands. Jill and I have the responsibility of making sure that all three of our girls have an opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to Work in our home and in their lives and that they will make the same decision we made in making Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives.
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PARENTS
Parents today have a tremendous responsibility, but it seems that most are shirking that responsibility. As the old adage goes, “There are no illegitimate babies – only illegitimate parents.” There is little fear of the Lord in our homes anymore, and there seems to be very little “training up” of our children in the Ways of the Lord. Our children are growing up with no knowledge of God and no knowledge of right and wrong. It seems that it is turning into, “do what you see fit.” As a result of this, there is no respect for authority and no respect for values and morals. We are living in a godless society, for the most part, with children being raised in the ways of the world. However, there are still parents who believe that the Bible is the Authority on all matters, who believe in right and wrong, and believe in a God that still saves, even unto the uttermost.
With every generation that passes, and technology increasing by the minute, Satan is making an assault to destroy this present generation. Homosexuality is becoming more and more commonplace, and abortion is the world’s answer for pre-marital sex. These two sins are some of Satan’s greatest attacks on humanity. Since mankind is God’s Highest form of Creation, it is Satan’s goal not only to bring humanity down, but also to completely destroy it. Homosexuality and abortion are the enemy’s attempts to kill off the human race. Both bring death. Both bring about much suffering, and both are sin.
But even though Satan is making inroads to completely destroy the human race, God is making inroads to bring about a Move of God like never before – for this generation and generations to come. It is our responsibility to bring forth the Word of God – the uncompromising Authority of God’s Holy Word – to this generation. We must train up our children in the Ways of the Lord, and when we do that, we have the wonderful Promise that they will not depart from it.