The Value of a Christian Upbringing
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I cannot tell you how fortunate I was to have both parents in the faith. That in itself was a blessing, to have both parents equally yoked, doing their best to live by every word of God. My parents were converted in the late 1960s, and by the time I was born they were deeply rooted in this new way of life.
As one who grew up in the Church, let me tell you firsthand that I experienced some major struggles due to my own physical desires; desires that were not aligned with God’s will. I presume my path to conversion may have been a little easier than most because it was the only way of life I have ever known. Of course, I had to prove to myself that everything we were being taught as children/teens lined up with the Word of God, and my parents strongly encouraged us to study for ourselves.
Nevertheless, I was one of those that strayed away, for a short period of time, abandoning some of the godly principles I had been taught from a youth, especially the Fourth Commandment. I remember leaving college after about two years and eventually landing employment for a company that was the world’s fifth largest producer of aluminum. When I was offered the job, I was instructed that the position required working on the Sabbath. At that time the only thing I could see was dollar signs. I was pretty much broke at the time, a college dropout, and I really got tired of asking my parents for money, so I took the job, and, boy, that was a big mistake!
Instead of holding fast to the things I had been taught as a youth and had proven to myself to be true, I decided to concentrate solely on building a nice bank account and if possible, put myself in position for better job opportunities within the company. Well let me tell you, that decision was one of the worst decisions I ever made in my life.
Teach the Next Generation
My parents took the initiative to make one of the greatest spiritual investments a parent could ever make: the spiritual welfare of their children. My parents understood that God had laid upon parents, grandparents, and at certain times even the ecclesia (the Church) the great responsibility to ensure children are educated in God’s way of life. I cannot tell you how many times (Proverbs 22:6) was echoed throughout our home; “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
I quickly learned that this verse does not mean that teens/young adults will always make the right choices in every situation. Instead, the godly principles taught to the child will never completely leave him or her.
I speak from experience. I came to truly understand that being trained and taught who God is and what His expectations are for us are vital just like the air we breathe. From time to time, my entire family would read Psalms 78 together, focusing on verses 4 and 5 in particular, “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children.”
We saw the instructions here, not in regard to “hiding” the praises of the Lord, but rather, as admonishment to inform the generation to come about all He has done. Through God’s instruction and intervention, your parents help implant wisdom and life lessons that will help navigate your footsteps as you begin to mature into adulthood and venture out into a life of your own.
Danger on the Horizon
Why is it important that we teach the next generation about God’s way of life? Are there imminent threats or dangers on the horizon? It took a while, but I finally came to the realization that God instructed our parents, grandparents and seasoned faithful brethren to teach the next generation for a reason, not out of convenience. The Bible reveals what can happen if the ball is dropped, figuratively speaking.
In Judges 2:10 we read about a generation that arose who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. We see a generation that had a lack of testimony of the things of God, lack of direction, uneducated in the covenant agreement made by their forefathers to fully obey God, and not understanding of the obedience that would make them a peculiar treasure unto God above all people.
Now let’s look at the results of this generation that had no revelation of God or perception of His mighty works: “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger” (Judges 2:11-12).
Now we see the danger and reality of what can happen in our modern era. As a result of not being educated in all ways, expectations and promises of God, an entire generation did what was right in their own eyes. They served other gods instead of worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If God wills, one day you will have your own family to consider; so let’s keep the ball rolling.
A Merciful Miracle
Six years after I made the mistake of forsaking what I knew in order to pursue wealth, my conscience started to kick in. I felt as if God’s Spirit was working with me. The job that I chose for my own personal selfish reasons began to take a toll on me, becoming a heavy burden—all because I had chosen financial gain over God’s laws, His precepts, His way of life. I put money before God, and I literally felt as if I were drowning in the sin of idolatry. I lost plenty of sleep over the choice I had made.
By this time, I had gotten married and purchased a home. I had more to think about than just myself. Recognizing the severity of my actions, I began to question if God would provide for me and my family, after all I disobeyed God willingly. I had no excuse, no defense that I could submit before God because I had known better. Finally, I began to pray for God’s intervention.
To make a long story short, I watched God perform a miracle right before my eyes. I prayed diligently for a new job which didn’t require Sabbath work and He answered. I wish I could say I just up and quit that job, but the truth of the matter is my faith was not where it should have been, because I had neglected everything I had been taught as a youth. I didn’t take time to build on what I had been taught.
One evening as I was reminiscing about my father who had recently passed away, I started to recall many things that I had been taught in the days of my youth. I remembered that God was merciful, even to a sinner like me. I remembered He is just to forgive those who are truly repentant. I recalled that verse from so long ago that echoed throughout our home, (Proverbs 22:6) “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Today, I’m happy to say God has provided. Not only am I off on the weekly Sabbath and all of God’s annual Holy Days, I make my own hours. What a blessing!
I only use my experience as an example. The godly principles which I had been taught had indeed stayed with me and were brought to remembrance. God’s Spirit was working with me in such a way that change was more than necessary—it was inevitable. You may experience a different challenge in your life, but at the end of the day, the type of challenge doesn’t matter. The important thing to remember is to hold fast to the things that you have been taught. Trust me, doing things God’s way will alleviate so much pain, so much wasted time. You can always find consolation in the Word of God. My prayer and hope are that all will stay anchored in God’s way of life. CC