Parenting, Proverbs and the Gospel
I’m not sure, is an increasingly popular response among a teenager and young adults when they have a decision to make. For example:
Will you be home for dinner tonight?
Where would you like to go to college?
What kind of friends do you want to have?
My folks are out of town; would you like to spend the weekend with me?
What do you want to do after college?
What did you think of the pastor’s sermon last Sunday?
Do you want to party after the game?
Would you like to go to a Bible study?
Are you ready for marriage?
While not every young person would answer all of these questions ambivalently, there is a growing lack of certainty about many areas and issues of life. By contrast, that the Holy Spirit intends for young people to have confidence about themselves and how they should live life.
Solomon’s clearly stated reason for writing the Proverbs was so that young people could live life confidently, knowing and following what God wanted them to do. He believed that it was possible, even mandatory, that youths could gain wisdom, insight and prudence. He believed that youths could grow in understanding and become wise; he believed that they must make choices that were wise and fair. He wanted them to be courageous thinkers and doers. He knew that their lives depended upon loving wisdom more than loving folly. Solomon knew that lack of wisdom leads to lack of clarity and, eventually, to enslavement to sin. There is a resolve that comes from being committed to the path of wisdom. The promise that the first six verses of Proverbs holds out to young people is powerful. It is also essential. Children who are unsure of what they should do can tend to become introspective and whiny. They will tend to look for the choice that offers the most benefit to them. In this specific sense, uncertainty is a mask for selfishness. Moral uncertainty will eventually lead to moral corruption. Thus Solomon says that a child is to know what is right and just and fair and then live that way. In short a child must learn to guard his heart.
Proverbs does offer a completely different way of life. It is the life of wisdom. There must be confidence and trust in God’s word if you and your children are to avoid being devoured by the ways of the world, or what Proverbs calls folly. Christ demonstrated the confidence of a wise heart when he refuted the subtlest and deadliest temptations ever offered to a man, when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Satan timed his attack on Christ perfectly, just as he did in the Garden. But this time, the second Adam did not fail. Christ did not fall into the trap of doubting God’s word, as our first parents did. Christ was confident in trusting God’s wisdom and refuting Satan’s ploys with the powerful statement, It is written. He was confident that God’s written word was all that he needed to withstand the attack of the enemy.
Imagine if Jesus had said to Satan, “I’m not sure,” or “I will have to think about it,” when he was tempted.
God offers you and your children a way that is sure —a way that leads to confident reliance on the truth of God. Ask God for this kind reliance upon his Word. Read the first six verses of Proverbs and ask God for confidence, so that you and your children will passionately cry out for wisdom.