Instruction for the Heart

Posted on · Posted in Gospel, Parenting

Biblical instruction is designed to impact the lives of your grandchildren. It is not about changing behavior for the moment.  It is about heart change.

Proverbs 6:22 defines the goal of biblical parental instruction. It is to change the hearts of your children. Look carefully at these words:

When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.

This passage in Proverbs mirrors Moses’ command in Deuteronomy 6:4-7.  Truth is to be passed on from one heart to another heart. The goal of biblical instruction is to have your children own the truth of Scripture for themselves!  This is what will make the difference for generations yet unborn.

Solomon tells children that this instruction is so precious they must make it part of their inner life. Solomon is saying this truth will adorn those who hear it and live it. Yes, commands must be taught. Yes, they must be obeyed.  But things must not stop here. The process is not complete until what has been taught begins to work itself back into the lives of your children. The process is complete when the truth that is learned begins to protect those who hear it. For example:

You teach your child not to lie. You help him to see that lying damages relationship and displeases God. But you will know that your teaching has taken hold when your child realizes how easy and destructive it is to lie to himself.

This is the truth that God wants you to give to your children. Your goal is to see your instruction protect your children when you are not there to observe.

Your middle-schooler will be tempted by drugs. She will be tempted with pornography on a classmate’s cell phone. These temptations can occur anywhere: at school, at church, at a home school co-op. Your teenager will be offered sexual favors. He or she will gain peer acceptance if they will mock the rule and law of God.

The full measure of the value of your instruction will not be seen immediately.  Behavior change is only for the convenience of the moment. Heart change is for life. Anger, frustration, and manipulation characterize attempts to control behavior.  Pleasant words, consistent loving discipline, investing the time necessary to really know your children, loving God’s word for yourself, humility; these are the things that distinguish biblical instruction. These are the things that make you a refuge for your children.

It is this instruction that will live on in the hearts of your children and bless their children in the years ahead. May your words, your instruction guide, protect and speak into the hearts of your children for decades to come!

Related Resources:

Instructing a Child’s Heart DVD


Get Wisdom!

Get Wisdom!


A Proverbs Driven Life

A Proverbs Driven Life


Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.