So what is the ultimate goal of child training?

True story: A traveling evangelist was explaining why their denomination was better than all the others. He had two walnuts – one fresh and one from last year’s crop.

“Both these nuts look the same on the outside. A Baptist church, an Assemblies of God church, a Presbyterian church – they all look just like our church on the outside. But (and he chose the nut from the old crop) when we look inside the other churches (He cracked open the nut) we see they’re totally rotten inside.”

“From the outside our church looks just like other churches but when we look inside our church (He cracks open the second nut) we see ….. Well, I’ll be danged, this one’s rotten, too!”

In training our children I think a danger we face is raising kids who look good on the outside – they don’t smoke or chew or go with girls that do – but are rotten on the inside.

As Christian parents we can’t be content with building more “whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with … all sorts of impurity.”   – Matthew 23:27

In other words, we don’t want our kids to learn to live like Christians.
We want our kids to actually be sold out followers of Jesus Christ.

For that to happen we need to have God’s perspective, to focus on what God focuses on – the heart.
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”   – 1 Samuel 16:7

It is so easy to be content if our kids stay out of trouble and don’t rock the boat. And behavior is important however … if our kids are a mess but their heart is in the right place, rejoice.

Yes, rejoice because eventually they leave home, get married and now it’s their spouse’s problem to deal with. (Just kidding).

Rejoice if their heart is right because, as Jesus put it, if the inside of the glass gets washed then the outside will get washed also. (Matthew 23:26)

If they have a heart for God He will rub and chisel and hammer and shape all the other areas of their life – just like He did and is doing in you and me. Yes, you still have to “fight the fight” but if their heart is toward God you can rest assured they will eventually “rise and call you blessed.”

But what if there is a heart problem?

Next post: Dealing with the heart

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