The Book of Proverbs, the Hebrew book of wisdom that we often go to when we are looking for nuggets of guidance and godly advice. The one-liners that are contained in the book are helpful for us throughout our lives. However, one-liners aren’t the entirety of the book of Proverbs. The first nine chapters of Proverbs is a series of conversations between a father and son about wisdom. Examining those conversations helps us as we spiritually form our children. Let’s look at some key takeaways from those conversations:
1. The Father orients his child to key truths about wisdom (1:1-16): There is a war taking place for control of the souls of our children. Competing viewpoints, ideologies, and addictions pull and tug for their attention. Even thousands of years ago, this father knew that and made sure that his child was grounded in the immovable truths of God’s word.
2. The Father converses with his child (2:1-8): Not only is the world competing for our children’s attention, but it is competing for our attention as well. The father valued and loved his child enough to take time to speak with him. In midst of our busy schedules, our full calendars, and our deadlines, we must not forget that our most important responsibility is the spiritual upbringing of the souls God has charged us with.
3. The Father is vulnerable with his child (4:1-9): We don’t have to pretend like we have everything figured out. By opening up about our own struggles and past, we invite authenticity into the parent/child relationship. Our children need to know that they are not alone in their struggles, and by being open and honest with them, we allow them to see that we are walking with them.
4. The Father is willing to have the tough conversations (5:1-6; 7:1-20): I don’t know about you, but my parents never really talked to me about sex, pornography, or addiction. Shying away from these difficult conversations provides Satan with the room he needs to tell his side of the story on those subjects. If we aren’t willing to engage in these difficult conversations, at the appropriate times in our child’s development, then we risk them receiving an alternate perspective on these issues.
The responsibility of spiritually forming our children is not an easy task, but it is a task that God has called us to. I am looking forward to seeing how God can use me to train up Calvin in the way he should go. I look forward to seeing him articulate the Gospel to his friends, I look forward to him leading the congregation in prayer, reading of the Word, or worship, and I look forward to one day baptizing him. However, I also know the tremendous responsibility God has laid before me and Brittany, and I know it won’t be easy. Let’s be encouraged by the fact that God is at work in us, as we do the important work of spiritually forming our children.