“The history of the world did not begin atomistically, with a group of isolated individuals, but organically, with a marriage and a family. (Herman Bavinck) Your marriage and the home created by it, is the seedbed of faith for the children God gives you. “The family is no fabrication of human hands, Bavinck writes in The Christian Family; “it is a gift of God, bestowed according to his good pleasure. There are many individuals, fortunately, who have been “plucked as a burning brand out of families who essentially hate God and then by God’s grace set on the path of faith; but God’s designed and planned norm for his chosen people is that the children of believing parent(s) will grow in the soil in which they are planted, a soil tilled and nourished by the parent(s) who husband the home God has gifted, as a vinedresser lovingly cares for his or her vineyard.
The parable which Jesus tells of the sower in Matthew 13 depicts various types of soil into which seed may fall as it is sown, one of which is the tilled, nourished soil which produces the fruit of faith. Which of the soils in Matthew 13 describes your home? The family is the incubator in which faith takes root in the souls of your children and this begins at conception and continues on through the very malleable first five years of life; then they are watered, nurtured, and pruned through the adolescent and teenage years, honed and sharpened to withstand the deadly, poisoned, shrewd arrows of the Prince of Darkness. It may sound like a fairy tale given the descriptions which come from God’s Word, but it is all terrifyingly real! And it would be completely and depressingly overwhelming if it were not for the truth, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! The battlefield is wretched, but the Christian’s armor (Ephesians 6) is sure . . . when it is put on.
One of the difficult truths for parents, which calls for faith and trust in what God says, is that the disproportionate learning and growth of those early years, in which a child learns more actually than in proportion to later years, happens unnoticed, automatically so to speak, gradually, uninterruptedly. It is scary in its “every-moment-character in which thousands of incidents, thousands of trivia, thousands of trifles all exert their influence, and yet so it is. Be reminded of God’s teaching philosophy, one which is true to our nature, “. . . you shall talk of them (his commandments) when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house, and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7-8) There is none of this “now we are going to talk about God, the Bible, or religious things, as though it is somehow segmented from all other life. All of life, all things trivial or profound, fun or serious, reflects the character in your soul and your intent to “walk in the light as [Jesus] is in the light.
This constancy of God’s school of truth can sound wearying from a certain perspective, but it is because who you are in all times is a perpetual teacher of what is authentically you to those eyes and ears which are drinking in everything about you, whether you are conscious of it or not. Denying it or trying to escape from it is like saying I don’t believe in gravity.
A person’s becoming human occurs in the family; here the foundation is laid for the forming of the future man and woman, of the future father and mother, of the future member of society, of the future citizen, of the future subject in the kingdom of God. Your family is the seedbed of faith in God or the seedbed of the evil one; it is the crucible of victory or the inflamant of failure.
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