Mature Class Study, teacher Alyce Crain.
The parents in this Bible study class have children at all stages of life – still at home, children that have moved out, some are parents, some are even grandparents, some are saved, and some are unsaved. God’s word applies to our relationship with our children throughout their lives. Let’s not put a stumblingblock or occasion to fall in their paths.
Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
The track for runners is cleared of obstacles before their race. Our children are like runners that are running a race. Sometimes we see our children as our babies and we try to clear the obstacles for them. We need to see them like God does, as individuals. We need to allow them to be the people they are and to grow. We have to trust that God has been talking to them and sees them perfectly so he will talk to them the way they need to hear.
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
There’s an old story about some blind men and an elephant. The men surrounded the elephant so one was by the tail and felt the tail. He decided the elephant had the feel of a rope all over. Another of the men was by the tusk and felt how smooth the tusk was. He decided the elephant was smooth all over. The other blind men also thought the elephant was like whatever they felt where they were standing. We all have different perspectives. We can’t impose our experience on our children. We learn through trials of life and our children need to learn through what they experience. It’s our job to encourage them and let them know it’s ok to struggle and make mistakes. We can’t put a parent Band-Aid on them but we have to let them go through their experiences. Jesus taught the apostles that they needed patience with children.
Luke 18:16 But Jesus…said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Are we actually listening when we talk to our children? The Pharisee wasn’t praying but was talking about and lifting up himself. He had a religious tape going in his head and God couldn’t talk to him.
Luke 18:10-14 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
When we talk to our adult children, we need to ask how they’re doing and then shut our mouths to listen. Listening during a conversation with someone is a dying art. We need to be willing, able, and mindful of listening when we’re talking to our children. If we try to dump all our wisdom on them and they’re not ready for it, they’ll check out and not listen. Children can develop a habit of checking out that can be hard for them to change later. Listening is part of keeping a healthy relationship with our children to keep the communication open.
I Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
When children are spiritually mature, God will feed them with meat as spiritual adults.
I Corinthians 3:1-2 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
Children may have experiences where others behave in a bad way toward them or a someone treats them in a negative way they don’t understand. Parents need to help their children put things in a healthy perspective and to realize people in the congregation are at different stages in their spiritual experience and growth. The devil wants them to think, “they’re hypocrites and it’s impossible to live this holy way.” We have to be willing to be humble so our children can work out their own salvation. We need to apologize if there’s been any hurt or sludge we’ve thrown in their path. We’re human as parents so we’re growing and learning too. God wants us to confess our faults and show that God is helping us grow. If we portray an idealistic Christianity, it will hinder them from being saved or growing as Christians.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Our children need to see we’re real humans in how we face our problems and deal with it when we make mistakes. We need enough humility to let God deal with our children as they grow into adults through struggles, trials, and victories.
Romans 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
Just because our children move away doesn’t mean we aren’t their parents. We want them to still look to us for their example, help, and encouragement.
Titus 2:1-6 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
We need to let our children work out their own salvation with God and to be themselves, not just learn to act like us or how they think we want them to act.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Abraham had a clear idea what was going to happen. He and Isaac were going to worship God together. Even though he was going to put Isaac on the altar, Abraham knew God was going to provide a lamb.
Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
Genesis 22:7-8 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
The test was about Abraham’s commitment to God. There will be a time that we won’t have our children on the altar. Are we going to serve God no matter what and put them on the altar?
Genesis 22:9-12 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
God’s way of talking to our children’s hearts is higher than we can understand. We have to let God deal with them. Our mistakes as parents are not failures but opportunities for growth!
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.