Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.
Paul told the Galatians that he was laboring as in birth to see that they fully know Christ. It is imperative that we as parents follow his example. We are well aware of the labor of childbirth to bring about physical birth, but are we aware that the labor doesn’t stop there? The labor in childbirth brings forth the physical body which is only temporal, but our child has a spirit as well which is eternal. Therefore, shouldn’t there be more labor in spiritual training than in physical ?
It takes time and effort to see that Christ is developed in our child. Susanna Wesley knew this very well. She spent an hour a week individually with each of her 10 children, helping he or she to be totally submitted to God. When asked about her method of preparing her children for spiritual maturity she replied:
“No one can, without renouncing the world, in the most literal sense, observe my method; and there are few, if any, that would entirely devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hopes to save the souls of their children, which they think may be saved without so much ado; for that was my principal intention, however unskillfully and unsuccessfully managed.”
So exactly what is involved in this labor?
The labor actually begins when we start to discipline the child. Even as infants, children do not wish to be disciplined. As we try to get our child to obey, we begin to feel the pain of the child pulling away from any restrictions we put on him.. If we tell a 2 year old to pick up his toys, he is going to see if we really mean it. If we have reached the teen years and still haven’t dealt with the issue of obedience, it is not too late, but the labor is going to be more intense. It would be much less painful for us just to let the 2 year old’s disobedience go unpunished, or to not put our teenager on restriction. But when we realize we are training our child’s spirit which is the way he or she will respond to God, we should be willing to labor in disciplining.
Next, there is much effort and time that must be spent in teaching the Word to the child. Deuteronomy 11:19 says: “And you shall teach them your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
That’s a plethora of teaching and it will take preparation on our part to study the Word so we can teach it as we go on our way with our children; as we have times of teaching as we sit in our house; when we tuck our children in at night; and when we get them up in the mornings.
Also included in this labor is time spent in earnest prayer. It is important to pray about each issue in our child’s life, no matter what age they are or how large or small the situation. An old preacher named Oliver Price once said, “God works in the child’s life through the parent and the parent works in the child’s life through prayer.” Job got up early in the morning to pray for his children as recorded in Job 1:5 “…Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said it may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
As I read the Bible, I like to find verses to pray for my children. An example is 1 Peter 3:11 – pray that he or she will “turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”
We can prepare our children for living in these troubled days and it is imperative that we do. This is the most important labor you will ever do. Trust me, it is worth it!!! God will not forget your labor of love with your children. Afterwards you will realize a peaceful harvest of right living for your children; see God’s Word prospering in them; realize answers to your earnest prayers for them, and you will have no greater joy than hearing your children are walking in the Truth.
For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown in his name, having helped the saints.
Hebrews 12:11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
Isaiah 55:11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
James 5:16 The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth.