Yesterday I wrote quite a bit on what a Proverb is and what it is not. Today I wanted to go a little deeper into the verse I found myself meditating on, Proverbs 22:6 – “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
What I learned from reading different translations, footnotes and explanations was that training a child doesn’t actually mean what I thought it did. (Go figure – I’ve never claimed to be a Bible scholar by any stretch). In this context training actually means to dedicate a child in the way he should go.
Dedicate him means only one thing to me – it means to dedicate, to point my children to Jesus.
Now I can’t just dedicate my children to Jesus and then be free from all parental responsibilities – that would be way too easy (but one can dream, right?). Instruction and discipline must be part of that dedication – that’s the job God gave to me as a parent.
To dedicate also doesn’t mean I tell Jesus I trust Him with my children and then go running around trying to fix every problem and shield them from every hurt (which is EXTREMELY difficult for a Momma Bear). When I do that, I break the line of trust between me & Jesus regarding my children. It’s as if I’m saying, “OK Jesus they are yours, and I trust you have the best plan for them, except in this situation, because you aren’t handling it like I want and you are taking your sweet time and I just don’t have the time or the patience to see how this is going to play out so I’m just gonna fix it myself.”
That run-on sentence I’ve repeated too many times typically leads to a major mess up on my part and a bigger problem than we started with. (To make some of you feel better, I learned the lesson of trusting Jesus with my children the hard way – which, seeing as how I’m stubborn as an old mule, is how I learn most lessons). And I know, I know – it’s a fine line of when to intervene, when to take a step back. That’s why we need to be spending BOOKOODLES OF TIME in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom and instruction ourselves. (Yes, that is a word. It’s not in the dictionary but it’s MY word that you are welcome to use when you need a word that is bigger than “bunches” or “heaps.”)
So now Proverbs 22:6 reads a little different to me. It reads more like this:
Dedicate your child to Me. Guide, instruct and discipline him in My ways. If you do, he will choose the right ways, the paths of wisdom when he is old enough to make his own choices.
Now that’s just my interpretation – remember I don’t have a theology degree. And I’m not so delusional to think my children will pick the right way every time. None of us do. But my prayers for them have changed over the years, the primary one being they will come to know and love Jesus totally and completely.
Because ALL choices stem from having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
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