Am I Using All My Power In Conformity With My Vote?
How often are not parents guilty of teaching their children unspiritual things when a wonderful opportunity for instructing them in the fear of the Lord arose! There are many little things that occur all about us which speak of God’s praises, and we ought to call the attention of our children to them. Usually we let them go by without a remark. Often we are so unspiritual ourselves and so weak in our own fear of the Lord that we ourselves do not see these things or hear them speaking God’s praises. “The heavens declare His glory and the firmament showeth forth His handiwork”, the Psalmist declares in Psalm 19. How often do we hear them speak God’s praises? Still worse, there are times when we do call the attention of our children to things that we see and that occur round about us in such a way that we do anything but teach them the fear of the Lord. Let us beware of such things.
One such instance is so commonly practiced in Christian circles when there is a child born in a family that is already blessed with other children. The older child looks in wonderment and pride at the “new arrival” and says, “Mommy, where did our baby come from?” Parents are often caught off their guard, so to speak, and if they themselves are not living any too firmly in the fear of the Lord, they will reply, “Oh, the doctor brought it”. Still worse is the worldly practice of saying that the stork brought it.
He who fears the Lord and is living from that principle is wise, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (). Such a parent will himself be conscious of the fact that this child is absolutely God’s gift. He will realize that he is absolutely dependent upon God for all things and that this child, no matter how he may look at it, is their because of what God has done. He will realize that in the conception and birth of that child absolutely none of the credit should be bestowed upon the parents. It simply is a case of God working through them, and without Him nothing would have been accomplished. Parents who know and believe this and live from the principle of that knowledge have the fear of the Lord. Such parents will tell their child that this “new arrival” is given to them by God.
That is the only wise thing to say since it is the only way to teach them the fear of the Lord. Remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. To answer the child’s question any other way is folly. To do anything wisely one must do it in the fear of the Lord. Tell your child that the doctor or the stork brought the babe and you ascribe to these what ought to be attributed to the Lord. Make use of this opportunity to impress upon the mind of the child the wisdom, and power of God that he may marvel after Him and reverence His name. Call his attention to the tiny little hands that are so perfectly shaped and to the fact that each one has five little fingers just like his own. Give him to understand that God does wonderful things. Exalt God in his mind and help him to think in terms of God’s praise and to be God-centered in his thinking.
Not only is this the only wise thing to tell your child because it is teaching him the fear of the Lord, but it is the only wise thing to tell him also because it is the only answer upon which you can build later when the child is able to understand more fully how God brings that child in this world and how He gives it unto the parents. The “doctor” story and the “stork” story cannot be built upon when the child will no longer believe such nonsense.
Another evil practice which teaches the child doctrines not contained in the Old and the New Testament presents itself around Christmastide. No, no, we do not teach our children that there is a Santa Claus, but we do take them down town to see a Santa Claus. Yea, still worse, some parents will even keep their children out of their catechism class on Saturday morning to take them downtown to see the Santa Claus parade. Those things have been done also in our circles, and do not forget it! That surely is not doing the utmost in our power to help or cause them to be instructed in the doctrine of God’s Word.
It is contrary to the baptism vow whether you keep your child out of his catechism class or not. If we keep them out of their catechism class, it surely is true that we are not helping them to be instructed in the doctrine contained in the Old and New Testaments. The Santa Claus will not teach them that. Your child ought to be in catechism where he can and will be taught the fear of the Lord. Rut granted that he need not miss a catechism class for his visit to Santa Claus, this visit will teach him doctrines contrary to the doctrine contained in the Old and New Testament. It will do so first of all in that it will turn his mind away from the true significance of Christmas. It will give a significance to this time and day of the year which is not to be found anywhere in the Old and New Testament. In his mind Santa Claus and Christmas will belong to each other while in his thoughts Christmas and the birth of Christ ought to belong together. The child should be taught that Santa Claus is, only a fictitious personage, and indeed we do teach our children that. Yet by taking them down to go and see a Santa Claus we nevertheless teach them that Christmas is the time of Santa Claus rather than the time of celebrating the birth of Christ and the manifestation of God’s marvelous love. You must do that to teach your child the fear of the Lord at Christmastide.
The doctrine contained in the Old Testament teaches us plainly that Israel, God’s people in that dispensation, was to accept nothing of the heathenish practices round about them. They were to exterminate all the heathen out of the land of Canaan lest there should be these heathenish practices to be seen and followed by their children. They might not marry any heathens. They were to teach their children the unique and wonderful history of their deliverance wherein the glory of the Lord was displayed. So should we, the church of this dispensation, teach our children spiritual things and warm them of ALL the heathenish practices of the ungodly who live round about us.
Another thing that must be said in this connection is the fact that the Santa Claus theory is indeed a heathenish superstition, a doctrine of unbelief and a practice solely without the fear of the Lord. The world has need of a Santa Claus myth because it cannot teach its children the fear of the Lord. The world must teach its children that Santa Claus will reward good boys and girls at Christmas and give them what they wish if they will only do as their fathers and mothers tell them to do. How unspiritual that is! How contrary to the doctrine contained in the Old and New Testament! How contrary to the very idea of Christmas! Does not Christmas speak to us of God’s great love according to which He gave us His Son although we ourselves did not deserve a thing? Does not the birth of the Savior imply that we were dead in sin and trespasses and that in 4000 years men could not bring forth a Savior? Did the angel not say to Mary in regard to His birth that He should be called Jesus because He would save His people from their sins? Then God gave a gift at Christmas not for deserving people but for those who were sinning against Him with all their being. At Christmastide you have a wonderful opportunity to teach your child the fear of the Lord, for you can explain to him the greatness, the wisdom and the grace of God. But this Santa Claus business leaves God out of the picture entirely, and it ignores His Christ entirely. It seeks to be a substitute for Christ, and take Christ out of Christmas and you have nothing left. Yea, what you will have left is an Anti-Christmas. Do not take your child to go and see this forerunner and representative of the Antichrist who will present himself as the Christ.
Besides this, are we to teach our children to be good boys and girls in order to receive a nice present at Christmas? That likewise is not the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord consists in this, as we said before, that one serves the Lord and obeys Him in love. He who fears the Lord obeys Him because He recognizes Him to be the Lord of heaven and earth whom all creatures must serve. The world has need of a Santa Claus to teach its children compliance to laws and regulations. Only thus can the world get its children to do as they are told, for they know not God and have not His fear. God’s people have no need of these kind of things. They can come to their children with the doctrine contained in the Old and New Testament, namely, that they must serve God because He is the Lord of all things, Who has a perfect right to demand perfect obedience from every creature, for every creature is the work of His hands and has been made for IT is glory. The world and its practices will never teach your child that. Only the doctrine contained in the Old and New Testaments has been given by God unto us for the purpose of teaching that truth and the true obedience which it demands.
Before mentioning any more instances wherein we can and ought to teach our children the fear of the Lord when the world uses things to teach them its philosophy, we would by way of introduction make a few remarks. First of all we would have you turn your thoughts to what God says in Deuteronomy 6:6, 7. There God says: “And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” How much of that is done today? We think that this man-made vow that we instruct our children to the utmost of our power is a severe demand which is asked of us when we present our children to be baptized. What then would we say of these words of God? But there it is black on white in His word. That is what He demands. Wherever we go, wherever we are, no matter what occurs we must use it to teach our children the fear of the Lord. We will teach them how to drive an automobile, how to run a tractor and plow a field, but how much effort do we put forth to teach them the fear of the Lord? How many opportunities do we not allow to slip by without our taking advantage of them when we walk by the way. When we sit in our houses with them, when we lie down with them and rise up with them in the morning to greet the new day? How much of the fear of the Lord and its instruction is revealed in our prayers which we utter before them when we lie down with them at night or arise with them in the morning?
We so easily complain that we have no ability to teach. Yet we taught them how to plow and to drive a car and so many other things. And in such things as the birth of a child and Santa Claus we show that we are able to teach them wrong things. Let us not try to talk ourselves into thinking that we cannot teach our children as we walk by the way, when we sit in our houses, when we lie down and arise in the morning. We all have far more ability than we want to admit. Let us use it.
In our next and last installment of this brief consideration of the vow we as parents have made, we hope D.V., to present a few more ways in which we as parents can speak of these things to our children and teach them the fear of the Lord to the utmost of our own power in the home and its family life.