You care about your children. You want to protect them from harm. So, you take the obvious precautions: you use car seats, you dress them in warm clothing, you install a security system, you take them to the doctor, you do everything possible to keep them physically safe.
The same care must be given to protect their hearts. You want to protect them from the deception of the world, the flesh, and the devil. However, it is only God’s word that can accomplish this! Solomon says as much when he says:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
It is the fear of the Lord that will keep your children from being deceived by the traps and enticing snares of this world. The two following verses in Proverbs tell us that this fear of God is instilled in your children by instruction that adorns them:
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9
The fear of God will protect your children from the deceptions of life. The fear of God is not established by harsh words and rules, or by an emphasis on performance and severe discipline. It is established first by parents loving and following God from their own hearts. Parental instruction must be grace-centered and not performance centered! Parents, if you want the awesome fear of God to protect your children, that fear must abide deeply, wonderfully in your heart. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Parental instruction must be grace-centered and not performance centered!
The Holy Spirit is teaching you that for your instruction to protect your children it must be instruction that adorns them. If your children are not adorned by your instruction and discipline, they become easy targets for the unholy trio of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
So how does this “adorning” take place?
The adorning begins with you believing that your instruction as parents is God’s instruction. As Proverbs says, God’s wisdom is more valuable than anything else that we can desire. So when you bring God’s truth to your children you must handle it as if you are presenting the most valuable of all treasures, because it is!
This means blurting out commands, Bible verses, corrections in frustration and anger is totally out of keeping with presenting these precious riches to your children. If you gave your 10 year-old daughter a gold necklace by tossing it to her in a beat-up paper bag with the words, “Hope you like it.” she will probably not know how special your gift actually is. But, if you wrap it in a beautiful presentation of a box, paper, and a bow, and give it to her at a special time, she will likely appreciate the gift for the treasure that it is.
It is the same thing with presenting God’s instruction to your children. If you speak with pleasant, constructive words without anger, if your spirit is humble and gentle, if your convictions are firm and sure, and if your dependence on the redemptive grace of Christ is obvious, then you will be adorning your children with truth that will protect them. This instruction will be something they will wear as if it were the finest gold necklace to display to all that your God is their God.
This is the most precious gift that you can give to your children: the gift that adorns them and honors God.
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.