What a child learns first lasts the longest! That is exactly what Solomon is saying in Proverbs 22:6 when he states,
“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old
he will not depart from it.”
Listen, boys will be men and girls will be women, and the path they choose to walk on as children more often than not will be the same path they will travel on as adults to the end of their lives. Count on it, for that is what is so clearly stated by these set-in-cement words:
“HE WILL NOT DEPART FROM IT.”
It is most striking that he commands that we train up a child. The path starts in childhood, not in adolescence or in adulthood. Look, if you want to have good fruit on your tree in the autumn, you must fertilize and manure it in the spring. That is how it works for fruitful farmers and fruitful parents. Solomon would take argument in this context with the cliché:
“IT IS NEVER TOO LATE.”
Rather he would insist on the far safer and truer maxim:
“IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY.”
What is the path that the wise man is talking about and that our children should be trained to walk on? In the Latin language it is called:
“VIA AD BONOS MORES.”
Meaning what? The following:
“THE PATHWAY TO GOOD MORALS”
“THE PATHWAY TO VIRTUE.”
Or we might call it:
“THE HIGH ROAD TO HEAVEN.”
BORN ON THE LOW ROAD TO HELL
All the more critical because every man is born with strong inclinations to take the low road to Hell! The path of bad morals! We read of this in Proverbs 14:12,
“There is way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
Look, each one of us must have a way to walk in just as surely as we need a place to breathe in. The way that each man is prone to walk in is what Jesus calls the “Broad Way.” (Matthew 7:13) It is very alluring because it is exactly that – broad and roomy! It doesn’t give you that hemmed in feeling, for it is the path on which everyone can do their own thing. Frank Sinatra sang about this path in the words, “I did it my way.” That is why this broad road is thronged with walkers, because by nature man does not want to do it God’s way, or anybody else’s way the matter, especially not God’s way which is the “Narrow Way.” (Matthew 7:14)
You see, our children are born pointing the wrong way. If you will, physically speaking like a wrong-side-up baby in the womb, they are born spiritually inverted. When it comes to feet-first womb exiters, there are those doctors who specialize in turning wrong-end-up babies right-end-down. If not, then there is always the “Cesarean Section” option. But spiritually all children are born pointing at Hell and not at Heaven. By nature children of wrath! (Ephesians 2:3) Like it or not!
That is why they are all born as:
“PROTESTORS AND NOT COOPERATORS .”
Their protestations don’t take long to manifest themselves either, in case you haven’t noticed. And if we deny them what is bad for them and insist on what is good for them, they become hellcats hissing snarls out of their mouths and shooting death rays out of their eyes. At times we are training what resemble four-legged wild animals rather than human bipeds. That is also why our training must include the paddle which is the parent’s equivalent of the lion trainer’s whip.
And that is why not only must they be born head first, but they must be according to John 3:7,
If you will:
“EACH ONE OF OUR CHILDREN IS BORN SPIRITUALLY AND MORALLY INVERTED,
AND MUST BE BORN AGAIN CONVERTED.”
That thought thrills me so much I think I will repeat it! By God’s grace they and we get a second chance, a second birth, only this time they and we are not born spiritually inverted, but spiritually converted through repentance and faith in Christ. Awesome!
THE EARLIEST REMEMBRANCE – OF WHOM?
In all of this, our goal from earliest on must be to teach them to remember something, or should we say Someone Who they must never forget in a world and nation which is in every way trying to erase every remembrance of Him from their minds. The Supreme Court, the ACLU, and all of the other anti-God lobbyists in Washington D.C. are attempting to give our children serious head wounds in school from which they will never recover. They are performing spiritual and moral lobotomies on our kids.
We read of this FORGOTTEN SOMEONE in Ecclesiastes 12:1 which says to children,
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth….”
It embarrasses me to even entertain the notion that God our Maker is concerned that the only ones made in His image would forget Him. Fat chance of that! Oh really? This is in fact Satan’s Mission in the world, namely:
“TO MAKE MAN FORGET EVERYTHING THAT HE SHOULD REMEMBER
AND REMEMBER EVERYTHING THAT HE SHOULD FORGET.”
That is exactly how Satan began the colossal mess in our world:
“SATAN CAUSED ADAM AND EVE TO FORGET THE WORD OF GOD’S TRUTH,
AND TO BE MINDFUL OF HIS LIES.”
And by the way, didn’t the Savior have that same deep concern that He would be forgotten when He instituted “The Lord’s Supper” by commanding us in Luke 22:19,
“Do this in remembrance of me?”
Satan, the accuser of the brethren, causes us to forget Calvary and “What Was Done There,” and then instead to remember our sins and guilt and make us feel “What’s The Use Here?”
The Devil has been working this reverse psychology for eons. Like the pathetic servant in Matthew 18, we forget our great $10,000,000.00 debt that was graciously canceled by God, and we remember with rage the trifling debt of $20.00 that somebody owes us. We have our forgetting and remembering all goofed up from childhood on and God knows it. I repeat:
“ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO SPIRITUAL MATTERS, WE FORGET WHAT WE
SHOULD REMEMBER AND REMEMBER WHAT WE SHOULD FORGET.”
Satan has been very successful, because today’s children early on in school are being taught to respectfully remember the evolutionist Charles Darwin and to disrespectfully forget the far-out notion of a Divine Creator. They now leave school with their minds popping with the “Big Bang” but with an empty silence in their heads when it comes to the over-and-over-again repeated Divine-Creative fiat, “Let There Be And There Was.”
These same children are born into households who teach them to believe in Santa Claus, and from the argument of silence if not vocal atheism, teach them not to believe in Jesus Christ. Of course, children believe that their parents above all people in the world are giving them the unvarnished truth. I mean, if you can’t trust them, then who can you trust?
So the majority of American children are growing up remembering to celebrate each December the arrival of a “Fat Phony” and forgetting to celebrate the incarnation of the “Faithful Savior.” They actually believe that their gifts were wrapped up and sent from the North Pole, rather than believing that Jesus Christ came from Heaven wrapped up in a baby.
Forgetting the Creator has reached epidemic proportions in American parenting. LifeWay Research has found that for most American parents successful parenting rarely includes faith in God – even among parents who are evangelical Christians. Twelve-hundred adults with children under 18 were contacted, and according to the study, 25% said that successful parenting was children being given good values, 25% said that it was making sure that children would be happy adults, and 22% said that successful parenting is when their kids found success in life. Only 14% of parents questioned equated successful parenting with a faith relationship with God.
THE MEANING OF REMEMBERING
Ecclesiastes 12:1’s remembering is not about having to hunt all over the place in your memory, and having to ransack every tiny cell in your brain in order to remember, “What’s His Name?” By the way, that all sounds like a description of what is more and more happening to me as I get older and can’t remember to save my neck names which not so long ago were easily recallable. What used to be on the tip of my tongue at times these days isn’t even in the back of my throat. Can anybody relate? I can’t even remember their names when in fact I can picture their faces. My memory is becoming more and more a silent movie. Disgusting!
“Re-membering” the Bible way means a dominant flow of consciousness that is triggered again and again in every decision and action that I make and take. The English word “Remember” comes from the Hebrew “Zakar” which means “To Imprint.” If you will, God the Creator wants to be so indelibly inked into our children’s consciousness that no matter what they are thinking or doing, the “Zakar Imprint” of God their Creator makes the difference. He wants us as parents to create in our children an overpowering “Creator Consciousness.”
From earliest days on in my young life my parents, my school and my church burned into my mind “My Genesis Connection.” If you will, “My Creator-Creature Connection!” There has never once been any disconnect in my mind between the relationship of my Creator God and His creature Bob. That indelible connection conditions to this day the entirety of my outlook on life. It shines like a bright sunbeam on every that I think, say, see, feel and do.
I have realized all of my life that I was put here by Him and for Him. And that the creature should not be dependent upon His Creator is contrary to all reason, and therefore did not enter my mind. Although Satan at times tried to insert the notion of independence and self-sufficiency, it never became deeply embedded.
GOD MADE US – WE ARE HIS
I am not simply a pop-up, self-made phenom! As the Psalmist states in Psalm 100:3,
“Know that the Lord Himself is God, it is He Who made us, and not we
ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.”
If you will, to remember our Creator and our createdness is to realize that we are not self-owned or self-directed. You and I must live the life that our Creator-Designer has for us, and therefore we cannot live by our own designs, our own rules or make them up as we go along. That is what remembering your Creator means – belonging to and conforming to Him! But it is Person to person, and that makes all of the difference in the world.
Let’s put this way sexually speaking:
“WHILE THOSE IN THE WORLD WITHOUT A STRONG CREATOR-CREATURE CONCIOUS-
NESS LIVE ACCORDING TO NATURAL REFLEXES LIKE DOGS IN HEAT, THOSE
WITH A STRONG CREATOR-CREATURE CONSCIOUSNESS LIVE ACCORDING
TO SPIRITUAL AND MORAL INSTINCTS AS IMAGE BEARERS OF GOD.”
“THOSE WITH NO CREATOR-CREATURE CONNECTION PLAY THE SOFT-BALL GAME OF
MORAL RELATIVISM, WHILE THOSE WITH THE CREATOR-CREATURE CONNECTION
PLAY THE HARDBALL GAME OF MORAL ABSOLUTISM.”
Put it any way you would like! In today’s school classrooms at whatever level, there is a complete disconnect between the textbook/test tube and the first two chapters of Genesis. There is a spiritual and moral slog and fog that hangs over the front door of America’s schools. It hits you in the face when you walk through the front door like a heavy, gray drizzly morning.
At Northwestern University some years ago, there was a famous speaker coming to speak, and the students were asked what they wanted him to speak about, and the majority in one way or another basically requested him to address the following:
“LOSTNESS, LONELINESS AND LUSTFULNESS.”
There you have it! Universities tell them that they came from an “Impersonal Big Bang” and an “Impersonal Evolutionary Process,” which makes them at best distant echoes and advanced apes. So they try to make up for their gnawing feelings of depersonalized lostness and loneliness with desperate “Impersonal Extended Orgasms.” (Thanks to Extenze in a sex-crazed society)
But it doesn’t work! It only increases the lostness and loneliness. Dr. Clifford Swenson conducted experiments some years ago at the University of Tennessee. His report and findings were printed in the “Journal Of Clinical Psychology” which at that time was not listed among evangelical papers or journals. What did he find? Coeds who engaged in fornication (which in case we have forgotten is immoral sexual intercourse before and outside of marriage), were exactly the students on campus who had the highest amount of emotional problems. He found that:
“THERE IS A DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN THE VIOLATION OF MORAL
LAWS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS.”
“THERE IS A DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN IMMORAL SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
AND PSCHO/SOMATIC TRAUMA.”
If you will:
“THEY DID NOT REMEMBER THEIR CREATOR IN THE DAYS OF THEIR YOUTH,
SO THEY SOUGHT PLEASURE IN IMMORAL SEX WHEN THE EVIL
DAYS CAME AND THEY FOUND ONLY PAIN.”
CREATED BY GOD ON PURPOSE
Let’s hone in on this thing with the Holy Spirit’s perfect radar. Let’s go back to “The Genesis Connection.” God says in Genesis 1:11,
“Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing
fruit after their kind, with seed in them, and on the earth; and it was so.”
There it was, the beginning of all plant life, the beginning of all vegetation. From which we get all of those wonderful veggies. You’ve got to eat all of your veggies children! You’ve got to your spinach, broccoli, beans etc. Knowing children, God could have skipped the third day of creation. It would have suited them just fine.
God, You just go ahead and take the third day off, and feel refreshed for the 4th days work. Remember, if it wasn’t for the 3rd day of creation, there would be no child sitting alone at the table long after dinner is over contemplating a nauseating pile of green beans. The third day gave rise to that dreaded warning,
“NO DESSERT UNLESS YOU EAT ALL OF YOUR VEGETABLES.”
But you must note something far more important for our discussion here. In all of the first 5 creation days, God said things like, “Let the earth bring forth,” and “Let the plants bring forth,” and so on and so on. In all of those situations, the “Impersonal Form” was used. Then came forth impersonal stars, impersonal flowers, impersonal cattle, and all of the rest of the impersonals. As a result, all of these plant and animal creatures have no personal “Self Consciousness.” And they have no personal “God Consciousness.”
“Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.”
Here is the crux of the entire matter – personal man created in the personal image of God. Here is the highest, the ultimate and the exclusive essence and purpose of man:
“MAN – MADE BY GOD, LIKE GOD, FOR GOD.”
In short, to reflect the glory of God’s character, that is, His love, righteousness, purity and passion in whatever He calls us to do – the discovery of that frontier that God wants each of us uniquely to cross. Purpose in life doesn’t get any higher, any fuller, or any more fulfilling than that.
But those who forget their Creator, and in many instances deny His existence:
“THEY LIVE THEIR ENTIRE LIVES WITH NO AUTHENTIC PERSONAL-CONSCIOUSNESS,
WITH NO INTIMATE CREATOR-CONSCIOUSNESS, WITH NO DIVINE CALL-
CONSCIOUSNESS, AND THEREFORE GO THROUGH LIFE LOST,
LONELY AND LUSTFUL.”
If you will:
“THEY GO THROUGH LIFE ABOUT AS GOD-CONCIOUS AS A DOG OR CAT.”
“THEY FEEL THE WEIGHT OF THE THINGS THAT THEY SHOULD DO, BUT NEVER THE
SANCTITY AND UPWARD CALL OF WHAT GOD HAS CALLED THEM TO DO.”