Have you ever considered that you can help your child to learn to have faith?
And He answered them and said,
“O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you?
How long shall I put up with you?
Bring him to Me!”
They brought the boy to Him.
When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him
into a convulsion, and falling to the ground,
he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth.
And He asked his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
And he said, “From childhood.
It has often thrown him both into the fire
and into the water to destroy him.
But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”
And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’
All things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said,
“I do believe; help my unbelief.”
Yes, God has placed upon us the great and mighty privilege and responsibility of teaching our children how to believe, how to trust, how to have faith. We can indeed be used by our God to help their unbelief. We will be used by God to train them up to a habit of faith… if we ourselves surrender to this habit of faith ourselves.
Train Up A Child Day Eight
8. Train them to a habit of faith.
I mean by this, you should train them up to believe what you say. You should try to make them feel confidence in your judgment, and respect your opinions, as better than their own. You should accustom them to think that, when you say a thing is bad for them, it must be bad, and when you say it is good for them, it must be good; that your knowledge, in short, is better than their own, and that they may rely implicitly on your word. Teach them to feel that what they know not now, they will probably know hereafter, and to be satisfied there is a reason and a needs-be for everything you require them to do.
Who indeed can describe the blessedness of a real spirit of faith? Or rather, who can tell the misery that unbelief has brought upon the world?
Unbelief made Eve eat the forbidden fruit, — she doubted the truth of God’s word: “Ye shall surely die.”
Unbelief made the old world reject Noah’s warning, and so perish in sin.
Unbelief kept Israel in the wilderness, — it was the bar that kept them from entering the promised land.
Unbelief made the Jews crucify the Lord of glory, — they believed not the voice of Moses and the prophets, though read to them every day.
And unbelief is the reigning sin of man’s heart down to this very hour, — unbelief in God’s promises, — unbelief in God’s threatenings, — unbelief in our own sinfulness, — unbelief in our own danger, — unbelief in everything that runs counter to the pride and worldliness of our evil hearts.
Reader, you train your children to little purpose if you do not train them to a habit of implicit faith, — faith in their parents’ word, confidence that what their parents say must be right.
I have heard it said by some, that you should require nothing of children which they cannot understand that you should explain and give a reason for everything you desire them to do. I warn you solemnly against such a notion. I tell you plainly, I think it an unsound and rotten principle.
No doubt it is absurd to make a mystery of everything you do, and there are many things which it is well to explain to children, in order that they may see that they are reasonable and wise.
But to bring them up with the idea that they must take nothing on trust, that they, with their weak and imperfect understandings, must have the “why” and the “wherefore” made clear to them at every step they take, — this is indeed a fearful mistake, and likely to have the worst effect on their minds.
Reason with your child if you are so disposed, at certain times, but never forget to keep him in mind (if you really love him) that he is but a child after all, — that he thinks as a child, he understands as a child, and therefore must not expect to know the reason of everything at once.
Set before him the example of Isaac, in the day when Abraham took him to offer him on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22). He asked his father that single question, “Where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?” and he got no answer but this, “God will provide Himself a lamb.”
How, or where, or whence, or in what manner, or by what means, — all this Isaac was not told; but the answer was enough. He believed that it would be well, because his father said so, and he was content.
Tell your children, too, that we must all be learners in our beginnings, that there is an alphabet to be mastered in every kind of knowledge, — that the best horse in the world had need once to be broken, — that a day will come when they will see the wisdom of all your training. But in the meantime if you say a thing is right, it must be enough for them, — they must believe you, and be content.
Parents, if any point in training is important, it is this. I charge you by the affection you have to your children, use every means to train them up to a habit of faith.
As a Christian parent I have come to realize that God is on my side. He has a way of backing my words and proving my point without me ever having to do a thing but trust Him. I have lost count of the times He has stepped in with what we like to call in our family a “God-slap”.
A small example is when the girls were little we could tell them to stop running in the house. And if they refused to obey and continued to run when we left the room, it would never fail that they would fall or run into something, then they would come to us crying wanting pity and sympathy, we would look and say “Were you running in the house after we told you not to?”
They would sheepishly nod their “yeses”
And we would remind them that God was watching even when we were not. And they needed to be thankful that their disobedience did not cause more harm than what they had already received.
When we tell them to do something or not to do something we are not trying to be mean or ruin their fun. We just know more than they do and we knew that this would eventually happen if they kept running in the house.
We have also learned that if we as parents will be faithful in prayer and fellowship with our Savior, the Holy Spirit will let us in on what is going on in our girls hearts and lives, even things they are trying so hard to hide from us. He will give us a heads up. He will let us see things that apart from His eyes we would have never seen. My husband and I both have learned and have often have reminded our girls that we are fully aware of the knowledge that God is on our side and we actually know more about them than what we let them know we know.
Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be prolonged in the land
which the LORD your God gives you.
This 5th Commandment is our stamp of legality to be able to say in full confidence “because I said so, that’s why!”
I have never felt the need nor the desire to “explain myself” to my children, neither has my husband. My parents never felt the need either. I learned to either take their word, believe it, and walk in it with a happy ending… or I could ignore it and suffer the consequences.
I can in all honesty tell you that I have absolutely no recollection of my parent’s ever being wrong. In my minds memory and my heart’s confidence I can only recall that they spoke truth to me at all times and every time I went against their truth I suffered greatly.
This is the awesome benefit of godly parents who choose their words wisely and speak honestly. I learned that I could take God at His Word because I had first learned that I could take my parent’s at theirs.
My parents spoke truth, they meant what they said, and said what they meant.
Now note my parents were not perfect. I know they look back and wish they had done certain things differently… but what they did do was in truth and in love, not pampering love, but perfecting love.
You shall be careful to perform
what goes out from your lips,
just as you have voluntarily vowed
to the LORD your God,
what you have promised.
This is indeed one of the hardest commands to keep with children where discipline is concerned. The old saying “this hurts me more than it hurts you” is really true, yet you just don’t get it until you become a parent.
You set your standard of discipline and then they break your commands, your rules, and you have to flesh out your words. You must administer the exact discipline you said would be the consequence and there is no turning back ever. If you slip the first time, if you cave, you are in trouble.
If you say it, do it.
Teach your children that your Word can be trusted and is to be obeyed.