Purity over Purell; the Priorities of Parental Archery
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” – Psalm 127:3-4
What great lengths some parents will go to in safeguarding their children from physical germs, yet fail to safeguard their children the germs of sin! They dutifully see to it that silverware and drinking cups are sterilized, and that hand sanitizer is readily dispensable. Yet all the while they fail to take similar measures in protecting their children from sin. They eagerly put a filter on their faucet to provide clean drinking water, yet see no need to put a filter on their internet or television. They install bed rails on bunk beds to shield their children from a fall, yet they fail to instill into their children’s hearts the guardrail of God’s Word, the ultimate shield from falling into sin. They teach their children the importance of a balanced diet and yet fail to stress the importance of feeding upon God’s Word. They cover their children with sunscreen to prevent burning, yet fail to teach them about the flames of Hell. They immediately destroy a hornet’s nest found in the beams of their child’s backyard playhouse, yet fail to prevent the hornet’s nest of the world from taking up residence in their own house. They will purchase a home security system in an effort to keep their children from thieves, yet fail to consider their children’s need for eternal security from Satan, the father of thievery. Oh the useless toil and spinning by so many parents! Think of all the effort and energy spent, only to be wasted in the end.
These days, there are many things a parent can do (at least from the world’s perspective) to be considered a good parent. Parenting magazines and trendy talk shows offer advice on what products to buy and what psychological methods to use in child rearing. But their suggestions for parental care fall short if they are not done with the ultimate goal of bringing a child to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The truth is, a parent must get their own heart in right standing with God first before they can truly raise their children God’s way.
What is God’s way in raising children? Well, before we answer this question by way of various scripture references, let us consider our opening passage above. The Psalmist compares children to the arrows in the hand of a warrior. It is an illustration reminding us that parents must draw back the bow of parenting and intentionally launch their children as arrows into the fierce battlefield of the world. Every time I hear this passage, I picture a “sending out” after a time of “sharpening.” When that departure time arrives, the parents desire their arrows (children) to be as sharp as possible. This involves teaching children the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6) living out the Word of God in front of them (Deuteronomy 6:7) discussing God’s Word with them (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and lovingly disciplining them (Ephesians 6:4). These are the responsibilities and priorities God has given to parents in the task of raising children. Parents must be about the business of launching their children as a warrior would launch an arrow out in the heat of battle! This means that good parenting is not measured by the current trends of child psychologists. It is measured by the time a parent spends rubbing their children across the sharpening stone of God’s Word. And when a parent truly has their priorities in order, they will be more concerned about their children being infected by the bacteria of sin rather than bacteria on a door handle.
I am not suggesting that the physical care of children can be somehow neglected; for it is a necessary ingredient in the recipe of good parenting. Yet a parent must have their priorities in order and know that tending to the souls of their children is of utmost importance. If you are a parent, ask God today to help you incorporate the right priorities into your life as you draw back the bow of parenting.
– Pastor Eric