Raising Our Children in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord

Teaching Children to Live for God

I love reading to my grandson, TJ. His mom, Brandie, and I are frequent browsers at the nearby used bookstore. It even has Bible storybooks! I enjoy getting those for TJ and Ava, his younger sister. I also get them for the girls in our Bible college to use in their Sunday school classes and their Saturday Bible classes. The children love looking at the pictures while the girls tell them the story in the Ilonggo dialect!

I have also bought TJ some Bible videos. TJ’s great grandma, my wonderful mother-in-law, got him a Bible puzzle book. Each page has a Bible story and a puzzle as well. That is one of his favorite toys.

I try to use these times of reading Bible stories, watching Bible videos, or working the Bible puzzle, to talk to TJ about the Lord. We are praying that he will get saved soon. We want him to know and love the Bible.

TJ’s Bible storybooks say that John the Baptist said things like this: “Turn away from your sins…stop stealing and lying…share with people who are poor and hungry…be honest and fair…be kind to the poor…if you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn’t have one…if you have food, share it…change your ways…don’t be greedy…do your jobs well and without grumbling.” This sounds like good advice for all of us!

I looked up verses about John the Baptist. Luke 3:11, 13, and 14 say the following: “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Exact no more than that which is appointed you. (This was spoken to the publicans or tax collectors.) Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages (spoken to soldiers).”

In a nutshell, John the Baptist said to share, be honest, be fair, be kind, and be content. Those are the very things that we are trying to teach TJ—simple, important things that we all try to teach our children.

Getting a good education is important, but there are things that are even more important such as our children getting saved and their walk with God; and the important basic things like John the Baptist taught.

John the Baptist’s parents were told by an angel of the special baby they would soon be having. Imagine John’s mother, Elizabeth, elderly and barren, hearing she would be expecting! I imagine that Zacharias and Elizabeth were good parents, bringing their son up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

It was very important how John the Baptist was raised—after all—he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness—preparing the way of the Lord!

I believe you and I have a job that is just as important as Zacharias and Elizabeth’s was: to raise our children with this thought in mind—that they should grow up to serve the Lord. There are wonderful attributes about John the Baptist that we should instill in our children:

1. He Was Courageous

Remember what he said to the Pharisees and Sadducees? “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7). We should be kind to people, but God’s man has to bravely preach what God tells him; he has to preach against sin. John reproved Herod for Herodias, his brother’s wife, which cost him his life. We should teach our children to be brave.

2. He Was Humble

Imagine this man, out in the desert, yet great multitudes came out to hear him preach. He wasn’t puffed up or proud though! The Bible said that when people mused in their hearts whether or not he was the Christ he said, “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose” (Luke 3:16a). Later, in John 3:36, John, speaking of Jesus said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

3. He Pointed People to Christ

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
John 1:29

We should teach our children that it’s not always easy to follow the Lord. John the Baptist was imprisoned and killed, but look at what our wonderful Saviour had to say about him: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11a).

The rest of that verse says, “Notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” What will Jesus say about our children? What will He say about us, who have the responsibility to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

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