In ancient China the people wanted security from the barbaric tribes to the north. They didn’t care how much work and effort it would take and they didn’t care how much money it would cost, they just wanted security from the invaders. So they decided to build the Great Wall. They put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into building this wall and once it was completed they celebrated because they finally found the security they had been desiring so much. However, history tells us that during the first 100 years of the Great Wall’s existence that China was invaded 3 times? How did they do it? This was an impossible task! It was too tall to climb over it. And it was too thick and strong to break through it. And there wasn’t even a remote possibility of going around it! How did they do it? History tells us the invaders bribed the gatekeeper. The fatal flaw in the security of China was putting too much effort into the Wall, and too little effort into the building of good character traits in the people.
This is a pitfall that Satan loves to use, especially when it comes to the family, specifically Christian families. Just like the people of China we want security for our children so we get them the best education money can buy. We clothe them, we feed them, we try to provide a nice home for them and we make it as pleasant as possible. We take them to museums and libraries and art galleries and places where their perspective can be broadened. We buy them the whole set of encyclopedias and videos that will help them with their education. And then...if we have any money left after all that, we send them to college. But too many parents discover too late that maybe in building security for their children, their main focus should have been on turning the hearts of their children to God. Sure we take our kids to church each week, but God says we need to do more.
In Deuteronomy 6:4 God deals with us as parents first when He says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.” God is saying “really love Me, genuinely love Me first of all and then you’re going to have something worthwhile to give to your children. Then He says and if you genuinely love Me, don’t hide the fact. Teach your children about Me, talk about Me when you’re at home, talk about Me when you go somewhere, talk about Me before you go to bed and then when you get up, talk about Me again. Then He says “bind them for a sign on your hand.” In other words, let your actions show that you’re a Christian. And He says let them be as frontlets between your eyes. That means our thoughts need to be submerged in Christ. And then He says even write your dedication to God on the posts of your house and on your gates. And you know what happens when we do all of this? God says in chapter 7:14 that “you will be blessed above all people.” Your home will be blessed your children will be blessed.
Now this doesn’t mean that if we raise our children in this Christ-centered environment that they’ll never rebel and they’ll never test the waters of the world. But it does mean that we will have access and a right to claim every promise in the Bible in regards to our children including the one that says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” That early training is so important because God can use what has been deposited in the bank. When they are being tempted God can bring to their memory something they learned at a young age to help them in that situation.
When my children were young I saturated them in Bible stories and tapes and videos, and on top of all that I taught them about healthy living and church history and things that they wouldn’t learn in school. Now my kids are just like everybody else’s kids. They haven’t always done the things that I wanted them to do as they were growing. But I do have this confidence that God is going to be faithful to His promise and He’s going to use that training that’s in my children’s brains all the rest of their lives. And He will use the training you pour into your children’s lives too. And if your kids are already grown and have left the nest, don’t despair, because God answers those earnest prayers that you’re praying for your children. We may not see what He’s doing behind the scenes, but God hears and He answers. So don’t give up. And don’t forget to look for those opportunities where you can plant some seeds in those grown-up minds letting them know who your fortress is and where your strength lies. Your kids need to know this and the only way they’ll know it is if you tell them and show them. Ellen White once wrote these words, “The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian.” So first of all love God, and let Him love you...and your children will not only sense the Presence of the Lord around you, they’ll sense your earnestness and your commitment to God, and that’s going to impact them in a big way! Leave God-shaped footprints in your home and one day those young feet will follow