(Wednesday 21st November 2018 Issue)
Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and men.” (Luke 2:52)
We live and grow by stages; childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. These stages fashion our mental capacity to live life from total dependence (as children) to independence (as adults), back to dependency (in old age). We graduate from drinking milk to eating solids. This is all progressive and incremental. Most of us however go through these phases unaware that it is a process we are going through and oftentimes without realising the fundamental changes taking place. We tend to flow with the tide or just follow the wind. We move with our senses and feelings, and let our emotions dictate the pace. Our level of intelligence to a large extent governs our experiences.
Humans are tripartite beings; that is, they are made up of three parts – spirit, soul and body. In essence, we are spiritual beings (the God part); we have a soul (made up of the senses) which is a built-in component of the body plus the body itself, (the operational wing).
These three parts should work in harmony, all things considered. Because our spirits are not fed from an early age, our souls take over and the body tags along. We know right from wrong but we have a tendency to satisfy the demands or cravings of the soul. The soul has an appetite for anything it is at ease with. And once the body gets adapted, or derives pleasure in these things, it becomes quite an ordeal to quit. In common parlance, it is said we ‘get hooked.’ These so-called desires influence our every being.
Actually, it can be traced to the influences we have succumbed to or that have taken hold of us during our childhood – what our soul man has been bombarded with. Whatever a child sees or hears his/her parents do or engage in becomes permissible and sets the standard. It becomes the way to go or the modus operandi. If it is a praying family, the child picks up these vibes as the norm. If it is a family where the parents are at each other’s throat day after day, the child grows up to be quarrelsome. Where the favourite beverage is alcohol or addiction to cigarettes the child is not immune to copying such habits. The same goes for timidity, lying, backbiting or just being a nosey-parker. Like the saying goes; ‘Like father, like son, like mother, like daughter.’ The reason is that the children have no reference other than their parents or the people around them to go by; so they model on what is available.
If the fear of the Lord is instilled in them at an early age, their conduct becomes exemplary -- particularly if in the family it is not ‘do as I tell you, but don’t do as I do.’ The signals are disturbing for the child when our actions do not rhyme with our words. The Bible teaches us to “Train a child in the way he or she should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it.” (Psalm 22:16)
This generation of parents has resigned from its functions as role models for their children, thus leaving the way open to be preyed upon by the devil. His sole objective is to “kill and steal and destroy.” (John 10:10) The devil has no
sympathy for human beings. He has embarked on a destructive mission trail and would put anyone through the mill to make as many victims as possible. It is our obligation as parents to expose the devil’s deeds to our offspring because the devil like a lion is roaming around looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 4:8)
Our duty as parents is to give our children quality life, to protect them from falling into the devil’s many snares, so that they will not be a part of the startling statistics in the devil’s annals of those who have become victims. Let us begin by calling things by their names and stop hiding behind ‘language’ that tends to protect our image, honour and integrity to their detriment.
Sin is sin; sin is lawlessness. It is an offence to a holy and righteous God. Parents have a responsibility to bring their children up according to the Word of God. So teach them the word, pray for their salvation. Take personal interest in their development. Pray blessings on their heads. Implant in their tender hearts that Jesus loves them and watches over them. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them.” (Mark 10:14)
“And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the Lord and with men.” (1Samuel 2:26)
Quality life is not in the quantity of earthly possessions you have amassed, as all of that you cannot carry with you when you die. Quality life is assessed by how close you are aware of who you are, that you are just passing through; that you are a spirit being moulded by the Word of God. Everything else is unimportant and non-essential. The world is striving to reach ends that material possession cannot give one access to. King Solomon, the richest man that has ever lived called all of that vanity, useless and worthless.
God has put eternity in the hearts of men and that is our cue for living. The senseless person who is accumulating possessions in this world has lost sight of the transitory nature of this life. She or he runs the risk of hearing; “You fool, today your life will be taken from you!” Why? This man was so impressed with the crops he had just harvested that the thought that came to him was to increase his storage capacity to be able to store a larger quantity. He was so self-centred, the thought never occurred to him to share what he had with others less fortunate than himself. He deliberately put aside the rule that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)