“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 6:20)
Few if any would have more marital relationships than King Solomon, because he had 700 wives (see 1 Kings 11:3). He himself was born after his father, King David, earnestly repented for having destroyed a marital relationship. Israel’s much-loved leader had committed the tragic sins of both adultery and murder. Solomon’s father and his mother Bathsheba personally knew the heartbreak and shame of failing to live within God’s moral guidelines. This probably explains why as an adult Solomon wrote about parenthood with such deep conviction. He had already observed and learned from his own family’s tragedies.
In every century during mankind’s long history, good parents have sought to guide and protect their children. By instinct, they have typically attempted to help them learn how to avoid the failures of past generations. Kings, presidents, educators, and especially the Lord’s trusted under-shepherds, have shared the responsibility for providing a positive example. In fact, the Bible says those serving in places of spiritual leadership bear a higher responsibility for demonstrating spiritual excellence. James warns, “…we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1)
Setting the right example is one reason why the Apostle Paul said, “…discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” (1 Timothy 4:7b) In every home, family leaders either succeed or fail in communicating authentic God given values. Their chosen attitudes and lifestyle literally mean everything to their children and grandchildren.
Christian fathers and mothers model their convictions by the choices they make in daily life. Regarding marriage, Solomon said, “… rejoice with the wife of your youth…may you ever be captivated by her love.” (Proverbs 5:18b-19) In contrast he warned, “…do not be captivated, my son by an adulteress.” “… her speech is smoother than oil but, in the end, she is as bitter as gall …Her feet go down to death …She gives no thought to the way of life…” (Proverbs 5:3-6a)
Wholesome Christian living is contagious, so always dress with dignity, serve with humility, lead with kindness, and conduct your activities with the awareness that others are watching and listening. The apostle Paul dealt with this subject in a broad way when he wrote the believers in Ephesus saying, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:4) Parents set the tone and atmosphere by what they model, teach, and allow to take place in their homes.
It is a parent’s supreme privilege to love their children. This is demonstrated by intentionally showing them how to choose the right paths in life. Parenting is to be carried out in dependence upon God with full respect for His guiding purpose. The Bible explains His awareness of everything we do as parents, grandparents, and Christian disciples. It reminds us that, “…a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all of his paths.” (Proverbs 5:21) For the enrichment and protection of each new generation, they need to know that lasting happiness and personal purity go hand-in-hand. As a stern warning to men, the Bible says, “… the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from an immoral woman.” (Proverbs 6:23b-24a)
Since marital faithfulness and immorality are typically shared by one or both genders, therefore, what the Bible teaches regarding purity is for both men and women. All sin normally begins in a person’s heart. This is why the Bible says, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7a) An impure desire will usually affect a person’s mind long before it manifests itself in their outward behavior. This is why our personal Christian witness actually begins with what we choose to see and hear long before it influences what we think and do!
The daily challenge of Christian discipleship is keeping our minds on all that is noble so our walk and talk will be fully together. This is at the very heart of good parenting. The Bible says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
By Billie Hanks Jr.