Children are a treasure of inestimable worth. The psalmist declared, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). Our children bear the responsibility to carry on and advance the efforts we have begun for the cause of Christ.
Therefore, it is no wonder that Satan has launched a cleverly designed but diabolically ruinous attack to deceive the hearts and minds of our children. Lucifer has always targeted children because he knows their potential for good or evil.
The edicts of Pharaoh and Herod to slaughter baby boys in their day and the horrific practice of sacrificing children to Molech, the false god of the Canaanites and Ammonites throughout the Old Testament, as well as the common practice of abortion in our society illustrates that the devil understands the ultimate potential and capability of even a small child.
However, if Satan cannot take the lives of children, he will do his best to capture their minds. Today, children are being inundated with the counterfeit truths of this world through a multiplicity of technological devices and media. Indoctrination campaigns with vain ideologies in our educational institutions prey on impressionable children who are often beleaguered by their own dysfunctional families.
Increasingly, parents are failing to bring up their children in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” as taught in Scripture (Ephesians 6:4, KJV).
God says in Isaiah 61:8, “I, the Lord, love justice.” But Satan wants children to become obedient “social justice warriors” in the way the progressive Left would define the term, that is, accepting and promoting any lifestyle, even those that are contrary to God’s Word. But Christian parents and grandparents should want their families to become faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkley, avowed, “Learning begins literally from the time babies are born; and there’s even some evidence there’s learning inside of the womb.”
Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Russian Communist Party, stated, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” He also proclaimed, “Give me just one generation of youth, and I will transform the whole world.”
God calls parents to be the primary teachers for their children. Solomon wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Moses specified, “You shall teach [God’s commandments] to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 11:19).
Children must be taught to have a Biblical worldview from the beginning of their lives. The world has its permeating syncretism, its vain philosophies, false ideologies and spurious theologies, but a Biblical worldview is based on God’s unchanging Word, which provides the perfect path for helping all of us to shape our decisions and actions.
I’ve heard of parents who started reading the Bible and singing Christian songs to their children in the eighth week of pregnancy, shortly after their pre-born child’s heart began to beat.
Researcher George Barna, senior fellow with the Family Research Council’s Center for Biblical Worldview, says that a child’s worldview—where beliefs determine behavior—is typically formed by age 13.
“As we think about the future, our priority must be children,” Barna says. “Discipling children is the single most important thing that we can do with our lives.”
Teaching, coaching and mentoring young children in God’s ways can be a spiritually edifying experience for Christian adults as well.
Years ago, as I stood in front of the window in the hospital where newborn babies are on display, I wept for joy as the nurse pointed out my first grandchild, Hayley. I was in a state of euphoria and overwhelmed with the blessing of living long enough to see that little girl waving her arms as if she were glad to see me.
I knew that Hayley would grow up in a wholesome environment, because her dad is a pastor, her mother (our daughter) is the church pianist, and their home is characterized by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
My wife and I tried to reinforce the spiritual training Hayley received at home, because we realized that grandparents can have a meaningful Christian influence on their second generation and even their third generation, by God’s grace.
Today, Hayley and her husband, Taylor, are exemplary Christians who are investing much of their time and energy serving through their church. Their marriage is happy and marked by the bond of love. They, too, are raising their son, our great-grandson, in a Christian home. Since William’s birth about three years ago, they have poured their lives spiritually into that child to the extent that their preschooler already loves the Lord, quotes Scripture, sings about Jesus and looks forward to going to church.
My wife and I spend as much time with William as possible and are amazed at his ability to tell us about Bible characters and how they served the Lord. Each time I see him, I put my hand on his head and say, “Bless you, my child.” He typically returns the sentiment; and we understand that he often greets others in the same fashion.
Children must not only be taught the beautiful stories from God’s Word, but also the glorious Biblical doctrines that provide a solid foundation for understanding God’s truth and the spiritual disciplines needed for living in obedience to holy Scripture.
If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to. ©2022 J. Gerald Harris
Unless otherwise marked, Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. The verse marked KJV is taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version.
J. Gerald Harris served as a pastor for 41 years with churches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia. He also served as editor of The Christian Index, the state paper for Georgia Baptists, for 15 years until his retirement in 2019. He is the author of six books.