Last week I wrote on loving your children by teaching them who love. That must be first and foremost, teach your children about God’s love for them and his salvation offered through his son Jesus Christ. Today and next week, I am writing on the significant task God has assigned to you as a parent of keeping your child’s heart “unstained from the world.” See James 1:27.
Solomon was a man blessed by God with great wisdom; his wisdom was far superior to that of any before him or any after him. In Proverbs Chapter 4, he is entreating his sons to listen and be attentive as he shares his counsel with them for their benefit. His desire is for them to gain wisdom and to “walk the path of the righteous” (v. 18).
Toward the end of the chapter in verse 23, he sums up his guidance in one sentence, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV)
Much of what we are instructed to do as Christians can be boiled down to guarding our heart or keeping our hearts pure for the honoring of God. The heart is the core of who someone is, the area from which flows feelings, decisions, and attachments. It puts on display who we really are; our actions flow forth from our heart.
The ESV translates the Hebrew this way “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” We are to protect our hearts with all vigilance, a strong word indeed.
What does this have to do with raising Children? Everything! Have you ever thought about why God assigned these children to YOU? He has given them to you as a heritage, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalms 127:3) He has ordained that YOU be the one responsible for caring for them; teaching them about him, and guarding their hearts while they are young. This is on your shoulders until they are old enough to guard their own hearts.
This is big stuff and a huge responsibility! I don’t say this to overwhelm you, but to make you understand the seriousness of what God has called you to for these fleeting years.
How do you guard your child’s heart? Proverbs 4 goes on in verses 24 -27: Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (ESV)
These are good directions on how to keep your heart pure and how to train your child to do the same. Put simply: speak carefully and honestly, do not deceive; your eyes need to be forward on Christ (whom you live for); you need to wisely choose your path and where your feet go; staying persistent in your pursuit of Christlikeness; and finally, stay away from evil.
When relating this to how you guard the heart of your children think of it this way. You are the gatekeeper of their heart. You are the one to decide who or what is granted access to the heart of your child. What their heart is filled with is largely up to you. You don’t want to allow anything in that may cause harm to them or their potential relationship with Christ. This sounds simple…. it isn’t.
It is a raging war and you are in the middle of it. Placed there by God himself. How well are you doing at fighting for the purity of your child’s heart? How have you prepared yourself to know what is good and what is evil?
Continue to read next week as we address some very practical ways in which we need to be guarding the hearts of our children.