Training Children to Refuse Evil and Choose Good
- Thursday, May 15, 2008
There it is. Where there is an abundance of milk there can be butter. Butter is a by-product of milk. Butter and honey is a step beyond milk and honey. In other words, if we want our children to know how to refuse evil and choose good, we should not just give them the best, but the best of the best.
Romans nails this down further. “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple [the word means ignorant] concerning evil.” This truth clashes with the prevailing philosophy of our day. People say, “Well, you know, you can shelter your children too much.” I want to tell you that you are not likely to shelter your children too much. You shelter them so that they get the best of the best, and then you go with them into the world to impact the world for Jesus Christ until they are strong enough to stand on their own and go out without you.
Now, let me tell you something that is very important here. A child will not automatically choose good and refuse evil. The Bible tells us that a child left to himself will bring his mother to shame. A child left to himself will automatically and naturally choose evil and refuse good—not the other way around. But if you will keep him on a simple diet of outstanding spiritual things rather than fleshly things, he will know how to choose good. He will develop such a taste for those simple, outstanding things in the developmental years of his life that the Bible says he will not walk away from that taste for the rest of his life.
I heard Elizabeth Elliott being interviewed once, and she shared some profound statements that I jotted down. She said:
“There were six of us children. I asked the others and none of us ever remember challenging our parents’ authority in our teen years. Our lives were so shaped before that there were no problems. We grew up in the Great Depression in a very modest home on a very modest salary. Often my father would call home in the afternoon and announce that dinner guests were coming home that night. I have the guest book from our home. I have 42 different missionaries that came to our home at that time.”
The interviewer said to her, “You know, you make raising children sound easy.” Elizabeth Elliott replied, “Not easy, but simple.” A butter and honey diet, the best of the best, with the influence of God.
Think about King David. He became
You must protect a child against developing the wrong appetites. If your child already has some wrong appetites, then remember this thought: The way to increase an appetite is to feed it. The way to decrease an appetite is to starve it.
Be careful of those things which hamper creativity and imagination, such as television and video games. Without these things, children will have the opportunity to read, stretch their creativity, interact with others, and exercise their young bodies and minds more constructively.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have some of the electronic devices of our day. But it is so incredibly easy to abuse them and develop an insatiable appetite to have more and more. We need to carefully guard our children’s appetites.
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