| from Suzanne Phillips |
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
God is a God who is both a promise maker and a promise keeper. Truth is not an idea but a person. I don’t know about you but the uncertainty of this world threatens to rattle me in many areas, but none more than it does when it comes to my children. As a parent, the enemy loves to cause us to question our own ability while wanting us to bite the apple of control and outcome. Have I done too much? Too little? Am I too early? Too late? Did I give too much? Restrict too much? On and on the line of questioning will go if we don’t trust God to both lead and redeem, break down and build up, protect and restore.
The bible holds within it thousands of promises propelling us toward hope and a future. When I consider my children, the promise that most leads me to peace and praise is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Notice the verse doesn’t say the child will “probably hang in there” or “will likely not depart.” No, this verse very clearly states a promise…he WILL NOT depart from the way he should go. Notice however that we as parents have a part in this pending promise. God invites us to train them up in the way they should go. So, sign me up and break down what that means, I’m all in.
After years of extensive study around this verse I found a remarkable freedom as a parent. You might remember Dr. Kathy or me talking about or writing about the fact that parent means to “bring forth.” The misinterpretation of this verse leaves many parents striving to “bring forth” righteousness which is a task set aside for Jesus Himself. As parents we can demonstrate righteousness, teach about righteousness, and share examples of righteousness, but only Jesus can produce righteousness. So, what then is this verse teaching us?
The emphasis in this scripture is on the word HE. Train up a child in the way HE (or SHE) should go means you must learn about your child, know your child, seek the Lord in how He created your child, and train each one to be the unique and purposeful individual God intended each to be. In other words, bring forth God’s full creation, and as your children become fully who Christ intended them to be, they will not depart from who they are in Him, as His specific and unique creations.
God celebrates your child and we can celebrate both our children and His promise! Our job is to discover and bring forth all of who our children are. His job is to keep His promise that they will not depart from His design. Let the striving go. Accept the responsibility to do all you can to bring forth the design rather than forcing a man-made idea. Celebrate your child! Remember, God reminds us that each one is a reward from Heaven!
Suzanne is a storyteller with a desire for connection, a teacher with a heart for transformation, and a visionary with a commitment to the family and discipleship. A season of trauma and the loss of a child led Suzanne to a radical conversion and a passionate pursuit of truth.
Suzanne is the co-founder of Ignite the Family, a ministry with a mission to help families live out God’s design for the family. She is also a co-founder of Legacy Community Academy in Atlanta, GA, a unique hybrid academy and model of education with a vision to launch mission-minded student leaders who shape culture. Suzanne is wife to Lane, mama to Ansley, Ward, and Lilly, and mom-in-love to Will. At any given time you will find Suzanne with a book in her hand, people at her table, an idea on her mind, and family in her heart. She is motivated by seeing others live out their unique calling and loves serving as an associate for Celebrate Kids.