TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN GOD’S WAY
which are important and others of which are more obscure and can- not be nailed down. God commands, “PROVE all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thes. 5:21). Your children must come to under- stand that this also applies to them.
This section is a little longer than some others so that parents grasp the big picture of the responsibility God places on their shoul- ders—so that they see the scope of what God expects their children to believe when He chooses to call and convert them. By now, you understand that you can leave your children either ready for this call- ing, or terribly deficient in a way that could limit God’s ability to deal with them for the rest of this age.
Here was God’s commission to the parents in ancient Israel to teach their children about His Plan, His attributes and His ways: “Give ear, O My people, to My law; incline your ears to the words of My mouth. I will open My mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing [telling] to the genera- tion to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wonder- ful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born: who should [subsequently] arise and declare them to their children” (Psa. 78:1-6).
This passage must become your guide. Start early, when your children are young, teaching them prin- ciples and lessons through means of Bible stories. While this can be done at any time in the week, the Sabbath (beginning Friday at sun- down and ending Saturday night at sundown) is an ideal time to do this. Done wisely, and with some preparation, your children will come to love these times. They will also look forward to hearing certain stories repeated as they grow older, with these occasions of- fering an opportunity to deepen the level at which you teach.
As they grow older, first be sure that your children know the overall picture of how God is working with mankind. They must know that He has a 7,000-year Plan to save all human beings, and that the weekly Sabbath and His annual Holy Days depict this Plan as it unfolds in sequence.
Related to this, be sure that your children have a grasp of all the major prophecies to be fulfilled prior to the Second Coming of Christ.
Teaching About God, His Word and Christianity
They must slowly begin to recognize and comprehend that a terrible time of world trouble is coming, called the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, with other worsening problems preceding these. But they must also know that if the family is faithful, they are prom- ised protection in a Place of Safety. (Be sure not to be too graphic in certain areas, telling them too much too early, before they can handle what they are hearing.) Our many books and booklets about proph- ecy—both those that are filled with hope and wonderful prophecies and those that reflect God’s coming punishment on a rebellious hu- manity—will help you in this task.
Teach your children about God’s Law, and how the Sabbath is His TEST COMMAND. They must understand that circumstances will test their willingness to obey the Fourth Commandment. They must understand that the world is not geared to obeying God, and that sometimes obedience will be difficult—even very difficult—to do.
Teach your children that Jesus Christ promised to build His Church (Matt. 16:18)—and that this means there is only one true Church—only one unified, organized Body of Christ—also called the Temple of God—where He is leading and guiding. They must also understand that this is inseparable from the only place where GOD’S GOVERNMENT is at work. They must realize that this is a Church that will not compromise any of the true and proven doctrines of the Bible under any circumstances.
Ingrain within your children that God sees all that they do. They must understand that character is often built and displayed when no one seems to be looking—except God! They should be taught to want to please God at all times, and that the Bible explains all the ways that one does this. (Take note that this will be harder to come to believe if they are never able to please you.)
Explain That They Are Not of the World
Your children must recognize that they are not of the world, its ways, its values and its customs. If they are learning and following God’s truth (John 17:17), they are living a very different way of life from all others around them. Unless you faithfully teach and remind them otherwise, your children will be naturally inclined to want to copy their peers instead of setting an example for them. Teach them that they cannot follow the world’s pagan customs and traditions, no mat- ter how “innocent” these things might seem.