Protection from within

Posted on October 14, 2013 · Posted in Parenting, Sanctification, Wisdom

Christianity is about heart change. Truth must come from the outside to the inside. But for truth to be effective it must then work its way back to the outside. Too much emphasis can be placed on bringing truth to children. What really matters is if the truth takes root, grows and produces fruit that forces itself once again to the outside.

Proverbs 6:20-22 explains this outside-inside-outside process.

20 My son, keep your father’s commands

and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

21 Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.

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

Proverbs 6:20-22

Verse 20 shows the importance of valuing truth that is to given from one heart to another heart. Solomon is urging that parental teaching be taken seriously. He is stressing the value of truth that comes from the outside.

Then in verse 21 he tells children that this instruction is so precious they must make it part of their inner life. This truth is precious; it is to be displayed like fine jewelry. By implication, Solomon is saying this truth will adorn those who hear it and live it. But the success of the instruction is noted in verse 22 when truth begins to protect those who have heard it.

Yes, commands must be taught. Yes, they must be valued and received on the inside.  But things must not stop here. The process is not complete until what has been embraced begins to work itself back to the outside world again. The process is not complete until the commands of God begin to show the fruit of protection in the lives of those who have been taught. Look carefully at verse 22:

 

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

 

When God’s truth begins to function in children’s lives so that it begins to protect them then you can know the process is complete. You teach your child not to lie. You help them to see that lying damages relationships and displeases God. But you will know that your teaching has taken hold when your child tells you that they have realized how easy and wrong it is to lie to oneself.

When God’s truth serves to protect your children when they walk along life’s road, when they know the comfort of truth when they sleep, and when God’s word speaks to them in the face of temptations of daily life, truth has completed its mission. It has been presented, it has been internally embraced, and it has born fruit. Truth has begun to set captives free.

This is the truth that God wants you to give to your children. Don’t be satisfied just with having your children come quickly when they are called. Rather, your goal is to see a quick response to directions protect your children just as Joseph was protected by quickly obeying God when faced with the temptation of Potiphar’s wife.

 

 

 

 

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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.