(These articles first appeared in the Grace Martial Arts Fellowship newsletter from 2004-2005. It was our intent to present a year-long study about teaching children and young people about wisdom and character development through Christian martial arts programs. GraceLife Ministries and Grace Martial Arts Fellowship are reprinting this series in the hope it will help you teach wisdom to your children.
The words of King Solomon in Proverbs 19:8 are powerful: "He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good." Our parents teach us from an early age how to love them, ourselves and others, but what about our soul? The soul is eternal. The body dies, but the real you lives forever. We spend so much time taking care of our bodies and improving our minds and relationships with others, but shouldn't be learn how to care for our eternal soul?
King Solomon was one of the wisest people who ever lived. The Bible tells us: "And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment ... And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore ... And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt ... And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom." 1 Kings 3:28; 4:29,30,34
Solomon had a wise father. King David was not perfect, but he was wise. David loved God and wanted to do God's will. David loved his son and wanted him to be wise. Solomon learned so much about wisdom from his father and from God. Solomon made the correct choice in his early years: to get wisdom.
"Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king. Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like." 2 Chronicles 1:10-12
Solomon received tremendous wisdom from God and was known around the world for it: "And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built ... And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom ... So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart." 1 Kings 10:4,6,7,8,23,24
How can we receive God's wisdom into our souls? How might God use us to be a light to the world of His Love and Knowledge? Let's turn to His Word and learn.
We begin by taking Proverbs 19:8 in context. Solomon learned much about caring for his soul from his father, King David. So, let's first see what David knew about wisdom and what he would have passed along to his son. Then, let's see what Solomon knew about wisdom and what he would have passed along to his son prior to his writing the words of Proverbs 19:8. What we learn is good for us and for our children and their children.
First, what David knew about wisdom. Notice how instruction, knowledge, wisdom and understanding are often placed together.
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple." Psalms 19:7
"The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment." Psalms 37:30
"My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding." Psalms 49:3
"Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." Psalms 51:6
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalms 90:12
"Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD." Psalms 107:43
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." Psalms 111:10
"Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me." Psalms 119:98
Now, what Solomon knew about wisdom and what he would have taught his children.
"To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding ... To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity ... A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction ... Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets." Proverbs 1:2,3,5,6,7,20
"So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding ... For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding ... He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly ... When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul." Proverbs 2:2,6,7,10
"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil ... Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding ... The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens ... My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion ... The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools." Proverbs 3:7,13,19,21, 35
"Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth ... Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding ... I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths." Proverbs 4:5,7,11
"My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding." Proverbs 5:1
"Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman." Proverbs 7:4
"Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? ... O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart ... For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it ... I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions ... Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength ... Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not." Proverbs 8:1,5,11,12,14, 33
"Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars ... Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding ... If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it." Proverbs 9:1,8,9,10,12
"The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother ... He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame ... The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall ... In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding. Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction ... In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise ... The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom ... It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom ... The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out." Proverbs 10:1,5,8,13,14,19,21,23,31
"When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom ... He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace ... He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise." Proverbs 11:2,12,29,30
"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise ... There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." Proverbs 12:15,18
"A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke ... The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death ... He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." Proverbs 13:1,14,20
"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands ... In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them ... A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth ... The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit ... A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident ... The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly ... Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known ... The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame." Proverbs 14:1,3,6,8,16,24,33,35
"The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness ... The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so ... A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise ... A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother. Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly ... The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise ... The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility." Proverbs 15:21,33
"The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it ... How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! ... He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning ... The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips." Proverb s 16:14,16,20,21,23
"A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren ... A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it? ... Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth ... Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Proverbs 17:2,10,16,24,28
"Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom ... The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook ... The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge." Proverbs 18:1,4,15
"He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good ... Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end." Proverbs 19:8,20
Now, let's place this in context of something very dear to our hearts: teaching martial arts in a Christian atmosphere. Instructing children and young people to defend themselves is a wonderful thing. It is a great opportunity to improve the bodies and minds of hundreds, even thousands of people. We teach our students the art of self defense. We teach them how to defend themselves and others who are innocent. It is a wonderful reward knowing they can do that effectively while they are on earth. But is that the best thing? Is there something even better? Yes! By far the greatest reward in life is to teach our children, students and friends how to love their own souls; for that will do them good throughout eternity. We begin by imparting to them the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of God. That will reap eternal benefits and bring great joy and happiness to many lives.
"My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine ... Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way ... The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him."
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." Psalm 111:10
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7
"Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Proverbs 4:5-7
Wisdom is the "principal" thing in life and it begins by having a reverential fear of God. Having a healthy fear of the Almighty God is a good thing. It prepares our hearts and minds to receive knowledge and with knowledge comes understanding. To teach wisdom to others we must first fear God. It's like the fear a child has for their father. They love their father and their father loves them. The child wants to please their father in every way. They do not want to displease him. When they disobey their father, they see the displeasure and disappointment in his eyes. They don't want to see that. They don't want to receive his discipline. Wise children obey their parents because they love and fear them.
The Hebrew word for "fear" in Psalm 111 and Proverbs 1 is yirah. It is translated by many English words, including "fear, piety, reverence, awesome and revere." Wisdom begins with reverential subordination to God. Most people in the world have made themselves "god" and glory in themselves. They are wise in their own sight. If they do worship a god, it is one of their own creation. Billions of people through history have made gods from wood and stone and made up their own religions from their human wisdom. God has laughed at them and destroyed their gods and attempts at human glorification.
The Apostle Paul told the sad story of the folly of human wisdom in his letter to the Christians in Rome.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:18-32
"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." How true that is. Go to any bookstore or library in the world and you'll see how the human race professes itself to be wise and in doing so they become fools. There is no wisdom outside of God's Wisdom. There is no truth outside of God's Truth. God Knows everything; He is All-Wise. The beginning of wisdom for any person is to fear God. That's where it begins for us; that's where it begins for our students. If we do not fear God, we cannot teach our children and the children of others how to fear God. If are "afraid" of God, we cannot teach reverential fear. We must know, understand and experience God's Love as the great love of the greatest Parent Who has ever Loved. Our fear of God must be based on love and respect for God, not fear because we don't want to get caught or be punished. If we fear God for the wrong reason, we play games with God, others and ourselves. We cannot model Godly fear for children that way. They'll see we're phonies and hypocrites and either walk away or learn more devious ways of playing the self-righteous, hypocrisy game. Each generation of game players becomes worse until faith loses all meaning and purpose. We must be real with God, real with ourselves and real with others. That's difficult but necessary to having wisdom and teaching wisdom.
Having fear of a physical attack is healthy. It teaches us to be aware of our surroundings and be prepared for an attack that could come at any time, by any method and from any direction. We teach children and young people to defend themselves in scary situations in life. We introduce our students to ways of defending themselves against attacks that would frighten most people. We teach children and teens to defend themselves against yells and threats, grabs and holds, punches and kicks, tackles and throws. We teach them how to face someone carrying a stick, knife or gun. That kind of training would give most adults a severe headache. The training we give our students develops "knowledge and understanding" that leads to "wisdom" about how to deal with physical and mental attacks. They develop godly confidence and self confidence during their training that prepares them for the real thing. Being "afraid" doesn't protect people. That leads to freezing or panic; just the reaction an attacker wants. "Fearing" an attack works because it leads to knowledge gained through training which produces skill and the wisdom to use it.
I invite you to spend the next two months considering what God meant when He said: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." Here are some Scriptures to help you in your study. Meditate on His Word and make it part of the fiber of your life. Write your thoughts in a notebook or journal so you will be able to share them with your children and students.
Exodus 1:15-21 ... 14:31
Leviticus 19:1-32 ... 25:17
Deuteronomy 6:1-25 ... 8:1-6 ...10:12-20 ...13:4 ...14:23 ... 17:18-20 ... 28:58-62 ... 31:11-13
Joshua 4:23-24 ... 24:14-15
1 Samuel 12:14-24
2 Samuel 23:1-4
2 Kings 17:25-41
1 Chronicles 16:23-36
2 Chronicles 19:7-9
Job 1:1-22 ... 28:28
Psalms 2:1-12 ... 5:1-7 ... 15:1-5 ... 19:7-9 ...22:22-24 ... 25:12-14 ... 33:8-9 ... 36:1-12 ... 61:1-8 ... 66:16-20 ... 67:1-7 ... 86:1-11 ... 89:1-7 ... 96:1-4 ... 102:13-16 ... 103:13-18 ... 111:1-10 ... 112:1-3 ... 115:11-18 ... 118:1-4 ... 128:1-4 ... 135:19-21 ... 145:18-20 ... 147:11
Proverbs 1:7, 20-30 ... 2:1-5 ... 3:6-8 ... 8:13 ... 9:10 ... 10:27 ... 14:1-27 ... 15:16, 33 ... 16:6 ... 19:23 ... 22:4 ... 23:17 ... 24:21-22 ... 31:30
Isaiah 2:10-21 ... 11:1-5 ... 29:22-23 ... 33:1-6 ... 50:10 ... 59:19
Jeremiah 5:24-31 ... 10:6-7 ... 32:37-40
Acts 9:31 ... 10:1-4 ... 13:15-26
2 Corinthians 7:1
1 Peter 2:17
Revelation 14:6-7 ... 15:1-4 ...19:5-6
Now we move to the next step in becoming wise and teaching wisdom to our children: learn wisdom and be an example of a wise person.
We need to be students before we become teachers. We need to be wise and act wisely before teaching others about wisdom. Every Christian should be a student of wisdom, but those who teach others about living wisely should be well-versed in wisdom and continue to study wisdom throughout their lives. Good martial arts instructors have the respect of their students. Martial arts teachers have traveled the martial road ahead of their students and bring knowledge, experience and wisdom to their classes.
Martial arts books, especially Christian ones, speak about the importance of teaching wisdom to our students.
Verse 88 of the Chinese Five Word Song reads: "To learn correctly depends on long frequent practice and on your wisdom." Verse 110 reads: "Strive for knowledge of the method, but also the wisdom (craft) of its usage." In Christian martial artist John Chung Li's commentary about that verse, he wrote: "When we talk about meeting the attack by the method you learn, you should know how to make your method suitable. Wisdom changes the method into a suitable movement. This we call craft. Craft is shaped from wisdom and experience. The detail of truth is so fine that we have to meditate on its usage. A rough minded student cannot gain much, so we should carefully meditate on each movement bit by bit. The more you meditate, the more you gain. First we should master the method of movement; second, we should meditate the craft together with the movement to meet the enemy. Method and craft: the two must come together." This is paramount in our instruction. We teach methods that can cause serious injury when applied in a self-defense situation. We must also know which self-defense techniques are appropriate for different attacks. We may know how to perform a high block with great strength and speed, but if we have not also learned how to perform a low block and someone kicks at our leg we will not be able to defend ourselves. We may know how to execute an outer reaping throw with great proficiency, but if someone grabs us from behind and pulls us back quickly and we have not learned any other throws we will be unable to defend ourselves. Martial arts teaches students how to use every part of their bodies in every possible direction for self defense. We practice with our teacher, our partners and alone to develop the necessary understanding of how each technique works in every possible attack situation. We learn what works and doesn't work against every conceivable scenario. Our students must know the wisdom of using the techniques they are taught. They learn the methods and the craft of using them from their teachers. If their teachers have the wisdom and impart the wisdom, students will be wise in their usage of dangerous methods.
Pastor Karl Marx Sr. said it well in his book Martial Art Spirit: "A sensei must always be an example of high virtue. The relationships with the many students must be, above all, objective and well defined. Only in this say is there perceptual learning and improvement. Since all martial arts training are primarily oriented towards the spirit of self-reliance, the Sensei has an obligation to set an example for the students in all things in excellence, discipline, moderation, and wisdom."
These four aspects of life should stand before us every day as we teach children martial arts under the Christian banner. EXCELLENCE - DISCIPLINE - MODERATION - WISDOM. They will make us, and our students, powerful witnesses of the Glory and Power of our LORD.
In the book Encounter The Warrior's Heart, Joseph Lumpkin and Daryl Covington wrote: "Although learning is as important as leaves to a tree, it is only half of what is needed to become a warrior. There must also be discernment. Learning is not only reading books and acquiring knowlege. The ultimate challenge is in knowing how to integrate knowledge into life. In this way, and only in this way, can learning become wisdom. Discernment is far-sightedness. It is the ability to see the outcome of a situation. To hone this skill one must be a student of human nature. He must allow knowledge, wisdom, and far-sightedness to gestate in his spirit. This patience will enable him to see the end of a matter from the beginning."
Knowing God's Word and having the wisdom to use it correctly must come together in the life of the Christian teacher if we are to be able to teach wisdom to our children. Paul wrote Timothy about handling the Word of God properly and carefully: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) The NIV translates the verse: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." It should be the goal of every Christian teacher to handle God's Word correctly. A teacher who mishandles the Word of Truth does need to be ashamed. The Lord has placed in our hands the lives, minds and hearts of children and youth. Christian martial arts instructors have the privilege and responsibility for guiding their students into the Truth of God's Word as well as the truth of martial arts principles and practice. Our wises use of those Truths is an example to our students about how to use God's Word. If we mishandle the Word, our students may do the same. If we teach improper martial methods, our students may use them to hurt rather than help people in need of protection.
One of a Christian martial arts teacher's primary messages is that success as a martial artist is never having to fight. We don't train our students to fight. We train them to stop conflict before it begins where possible and end conflict with the least amount of force necessary if it does begin. A martial arts teacher who is quick to fight sends a powerful and unfortunate message to his or her students. Students often follow the actions of their teacher. We need to be smart and act wisely when we face bullies, sensitive emotions or injustice. We teach more by what we do than by what we say.
Sensei Wendy Williamson in her book Christian Martial Arts 101 wrote this about wisdom in difficult situations: "Be smart. Think before you act. Wisdom is much better than strength and weapons of war (Eccl. 9:16-18). " Those verses read: "Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good."
Nothing can compare with wisdom in a life. With wisdom we see, know and understand completely. We see things as God sees them, know as He knows and understands as He understands. The human mind is amazing and complex, but it is also flawed. It is clouded by sin, thus many of its decisions are mistakes. Self-confidence can and should go only so far. God-confidence is what we should trust. God's Mind has no flaws. He makes no mistakes.
In Psalm 19:7-8 King David wrote that God's Word is four things: perfect, sure, right and pure. " The law of the LORD is perfect...the testimony of the LORD is sure...The statutes of the LORD are right...the commandment of the LORD is pure." We can trust God where we can trust no one else, even ourselves. No other person's words are perfect, sure, right and pure; only God's.
When we trust in God's Word, many wonderful things happen in our lives and the lives of those we teach. David said trusting God's Word does four things in a person's life: it converts the soul, it makes wise the simple, it rejoices the heart, and enlightens the eyes. " ...converting the soul...making wise the simple...rejoicing the heart...enlightening the eyes."
This is what every Christian teacher should be: converted, wise, joyful and enlightened. This is what we want for our students. We want their soul to be saved. We want the simple to become wise. We want hearts to rejoice. We want eyes and minds to be enlightened. In a reverse way, this explains the condition of people who do not know God. They are lost, simple, sad and dark. Our mission is to teach lost people God's Word so they will become saved people who are wise, joyful and enlightened. Many world religions and philosophies promise these attributes, but only Christ can deliver on the promise. Every philosophy contrary to the Way of Christ is foolishness.
Christian martial arts teachers must first be truly converted. It's not enough to attend church and say the right words. Conversion is new life, new direction, new thoughts, new desires. Christ touches our soul and changes it from the inside out. He makes us new and real. Christian martial arts teachers must be wise in the things of God. We must know Him intimately and understand His ways completely. When we face difficulties beyond our understanding, we must know how to go to God and His Word and receive His Wisdom to deal with those difficulties, problems and challenges in life and ministry. Christian martial arts teachers must be filled with the joy of God. Our hearts should be filled and overflowing with the joy of loving, knowing, worshiping and serving God. Christian martial arts teachers must be enlightened. We must know the path of God, be able to walk it securely and lead others in the way of righteousness.
This sounds like a mighty big task to me. It seems greater than any human being could take on by themselves. It is. It is bigger than one person. That is the wonderful message of Christ: we are not walking alone. We are not serving alone. He is with us every step of the way. Christ is our great Master. He is our Divine Teacher. He is All-Powerful and All-Knowing. He walked the path before us. He can guide us through anything and everything that will come into our lives. He is the Wisdom of God.
Christ's Life and Words while on earth, His Words through His disciples after He returned to Heaven, they are our wisdom, our guide through life. As we listen and obey we will know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Christ will answer our every question. He will meet our every need. And it is as we depend on Christ to guide us that we will know how to guide those we teach.
Christ faced life's most difficult moments with great wisdom, strength and courage. His Life and how He responded to temptations and tests will guide us now through the soul-mines of life. The first thing Christ did after beginning His official ministry was to face the great enemy of God, Satan.
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Matthew 4:1-10
Jesus faced Satan and defeated him long before we started out on the path. Christ has already defeated the enemy. We don't have to worry or fret about facing Satan alone. Nothing will happen to us that Jesus has not dealt with successfully. We will not stumble upon some new problem or challenge that will surprise and confuse God. Christ has faced everything Satan has in his arsenal of tricks and won the battle! Jesus wants us to follow Him and become like Him. He is our wisdom, He is our strength.
Notice the four things Christ did and said when facing the enemy.
Look through the entire Bible and you'll find these four principles of wisdom in every book and every chapter: obey God, trust God, worship God, serve God. If we wake up every morning and conduct our life on these four principles, we will be wise and able to teach wisdom to our children.
Practical Steps to Gaining Wisdom:
Read about wisdom in God's Word every day. Here are several methods for doing that. You might want to take each idea for a year and complete all the methods in seven years. When you complete that, start again. It can become a life-long study about wisdom.
The third step to Teaching Wisdom To Our Children is to lead them along the path of wisdom. Martial artists speak often about following the path or way (Dao or Do). The ancient pursuit of martial arts was to learn the way and walk in it. Martial Arts was a "way" of life. It is the same today. Students search out teachers who can show them the way to live as a martial artist. The Christian martial arts instructor has the opportunity to teach students about Christ as the True Way even as they demonstrate the proper way to block, punch, kick and escape from holds.
" Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:5-6
Martial Arts is about becoming a better person; about controlling one's passions and desires. It's about becoming a better citizen of the world and protecting those who are weak and in danger. Christian Martial Arts is about becoming a child of God, serving Him with passion and obeying the desires God has for His children. Worldly Martial Arts is about "me" and "bettering" others. Christian Martial Arts is about "God" and helping others become "better." It's about becoming a Citizen of Heaven and leading the weak to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so more people will glorify Christ as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, God of the Ages!
The word "way" is used more than a thousand times in the Bible; the word "path" more than 80.
The first mention of the "way" in the Bible is Genesis 3:24. God steps in to protect the human race.
"So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
Eternal life is our "way," but it would have been disastrous if Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of the Tree of Life in their sinful condition.
"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever." Genesis 3:22
That's why God moved the first humans outside the Garden of Eden and placed angels and a flaming sword to keep the way of the Tree of Life. It was a constant reminder to Adam, Eve and their children about what they lost and what they could someday receive. It was both protection and hope.
God has His Way in Heaven and on earth. That's an important part of how Jesus taught His disciples to pray ("Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.") Christ is the Great and Almighty Teacher. He is the Way. He created the way for His followers to travel. The foundation of our Faith is His. He traveled on the Way and showed us how to live and how to give. He sacrificed His Life for us and shows us how to sacrifice ourselves for His Sake.
God taught the Way to Adam and Eve and their children and their children's children. Doing what was right in God's Eyes was not a mystery to the human race. They knew what God had done and what He demanded of them. The people of earth chose to disobey God's Way because their sinful hearts liked their way better.
"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." Genesis 6:5-7
Notice what the human race had done to the Way of God.
"And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." Genesis 6:12
Humans had "corrupted" God's Way upon the earth. That's what people still do today. The "way" of humanity is corruptive and destructive. God's Way is creative and life building.
God was deadly serious. He was ready to destroy everyone and every living thing He had created. Fortunately, for all of us, God is a God of Love and Grace.
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." Genesis 6:8
God had Grace on Noah and thus on all of us. The human race owes its existence to God's Grace and to Noah. The Bible says Noah was a special man during his generation.
"Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God." Genesis 6:9
Noah walked in the "way" God wanted him to walk and that pleased God. Because of God's Grace, Noah and his family and representative members of living species were saved from the destruction of the Flood.
It seems from what we read in Genesis 6 that Noah was the only human to find favor with God, but we see that Noah's family was also blessed. The Bible doesn't say Noah's wife, sons and their wives were the reason God did not destroy humanity from the face of the earth, but it does say they received the blessing of God's salvation because of Noah.
"And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee." Genesis 6:1-18
God established a covenant, a Grace-Agreement, with Noah and his family received the benefits of the agreement. The covenant God made with Noah had nothing to do with Noah's abilities or skills or obedience. It was strictly a Grace Covenant because Noah found favor with God.
That's just how it is with the Way Christ deals with us. We are saved by Grace through Faith and none of that is of, from or through ourselves. It is the Gracious Gift of Almighty God. It's not of human works, so no one can boast of themselves. Our boast is only in Christ and His Great Sacrifice for our sins.
The concept of the "way" and the "path" is presented clearly for all to see in Scripture. John the Baptist went ahead of Christ and preached to everyone who would listen: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." Our spiritual journey is both a "way" and a "path." As Christian Martial Arts instructors we've been on the way and the path longer than our students. They look to us to show them the way and lead them on the path. Our job is to tell our students to prepare the Way of the Lord and make His Paths straight. The Message of Grace is ageless and timeless. It is an eternal Message of Hope!
An expert in the "path" of life was King David. He was a man after God's Heart and desired deeply to walk with God every day of his life. In Psalms 16:11, David wrote: "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Walking on the path of God gives us three great treasures: "life," "fulness of joy," and "pleasures for evermore." If we walked up to ten people today and offered them life, fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore, how many do you think would say they weren't interested? My guess is most would say they would like to know more about how to have those things in their life.
How does a person get to the point where they know they're walking with God and will receive life, joy and pleasure for evermore? Here are ten steps in the process as David explained in Psalms 16. They are the same steps we can use to Teach Wisdom to Our Children.
1. "Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust."
We begin with salvation. No child can become spiritually wise until they place their faith and trust in God. We must be clear with our students that the path begins by acknowledging our need for God because of our sin and separation from God ("Preserve me, O God") and need to stop trusting in ourselves and trust God for His Gift of Salvation ("for in thee do I put my trust").
Jesus told His disciples: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Jesus Christ is the only Way to God. I tried many religious paths before coming to Christ and can speak personally of the absolute truth of Christ's claim. He is the "only" Way to the Father.
The problem every human being faces is the same: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." It's not a situation where "some" or "several" people have sinned and come short of the glory of God. "All" have sinned and come short of God's glory. That means our ministry is to every person we know and every person we meet. Everyone begins life at the same place: lost in trespasses and sins. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
Fortunately for all of us, God is a God of Love, Mercy and Grace. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
2. "O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord."
Our relationship with God is based on the Lordship of His Son in our lives. God is not something we add to our life; God is our Life through Jesus Christ ("Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."). We have access to God by faith in Christ, and not only do we gain access, we stand in it and rejoice in hope. We must teach our students to look to Christ and say, "Thou art my Lord."
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ... And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement ... That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:1,11,21
" That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved ... For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him ... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:9,12,13
"But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Romans 13:14
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's ... For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living ... For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." Romans 14:8,9,11
"Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people." Romans 15:11
3. "My goodness extendeth not to thee; But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight."
God delights in all His children. He loves us and our relationship with Him is one of joy. Do we do things that displease God? Yes, all children cause their parents problems at times. But we need to know that God delights in us as a Perfect Father. He delights in all who are on His Path. Our students need to enjoy God and others who are members of the Body of Christ. There is no place in God's Family for egos and petty jealousy. Christian Martial Artists should be best friends and closer than human family. We are part of a Heavenly Family that will continue to enjoy each other through eternity.
"For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Mark 3:35
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:34-35
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you ... These things I command you, that ye love one another." John 15:12,17
"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another ... Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another ... Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." Romans 12:5,10,16
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." Romans 14:19
"Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus ... Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God ... And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." Romans 15:5,7,14
" For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ ... But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him ... But now are they many members, yet but one body ... Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary ... And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness ... That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another ... And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it ... Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." 1 Corinthians 12:12,18,20,22,23,25-27
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." Galatians 5:13
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love ... Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another ... And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:2,25,32
"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds ... Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye ... Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Colossians 3:9
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you" 1 Thessalonians 3:12
"But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." 1 Thessalonians 4:9
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:" 1 Peter 1:22
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous." 1 Peter 3:8
4. "Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips."
Our students must understand how foolish it is for them to start on the Path of God and then take other paths that lead them after earthly gods. Walking with God is a lifelong path that does not veer to the right or left. It is a straight path, a narrow path, a path that constantly follows Christ. Children have always had things come into their lives at different ages that tempted them from the straight and narrow, but it's even worse today. Christian parents are struggling to direct their children on a path that pleases God. As Christian Martial Arts teachers, we can be a tremendous help to parents by walking on God's Path and continually inviting children to follow us even as we follow Christ. David knew from personal experience that earthly sorrows would be multiplied for anyone who runs after other gods, gets involved with their offerings to those gods and speaks their names. Today, we have children deeply involved in practices that are occult-like in addition to the continuation of the "self" generations that preceeded them. The children in your Martial Arts classes are there for a reason. God has led them to you because you have something they need. You know the "way" on the "path" of the Christian life. You can be there for them every week as they learn and train. You can listen to their hopes, their dreams, their struggles and sorrow. You can answer their questions about life and give them hope for a life that is pleasing to God, a life where sorrows will not be multiplied because they hastened after another god. You can show them the foolishness of running after other gods and the wisdom of following the One True God the rest of their life. Children become teenagers who become adults, and one day some of them will thank you for your ministry to them to help them when they were young stay on the straight path of God's Will for their lives. Christian Martial Arts can be one of the best investments parents make for their children.
5. "The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage."
Our inheritance is heavenly, not earthly. The Lord is the portion of our inheritance and that of the children we teach. What we have waiting for us in Heaven is so much better than anything we could get here, even if we were able to possess all of this earth's wealth.
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." 2 Corinthians 5:1-2
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:3-5
We can help today's children and youth look forward with anticipation and excitement to what God has prepared for them, even as we are excited. The Way we follow and the Path we walk lead us into the very Presence of God!
We have a goodly heritage. Children are often interested in family trees and their human heritage. We can tell them about an even greater heritage in Christ. Share stories from the Bible and Christian history about those who came before us. Histor is filled with wonderful and exciting stories of faith and courage. Children and youth today see and hear so much about celebrity, which is usually nothing more than selfishness and greed. Share with them the great stories of the saints who gave of their faith and love, time and energy, to make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of people through the centuries. Share with them the great saints of the Old Testament who gave so much in obedience to God's Will. (Hebrews 11 is a wonderful place to take children to help them learn about faith.)
6. "I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons."
The Christian life is not easy and we will often need the counsel and advice of our Lord. Young people have many voices calling for their attention whether it be family members, friends, television, movies, books or other influences in their lives. Unfortunately, the world is full of bad advice. We need to help children understand the only advice that will guide them correctly throughout their life is God's Advice.
Children can be led astray quickly and easily. That's part of being immature. Children and young people need to look to the wise counsel of their parents, teachers and others in positions of authority over them. Christian Martial Arts instructors are among those people who have tremendous influence with children and young people. The multitude of wise counsel is a protection to them. "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14) "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established." (Proverbs 15:22) "For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellers there is safety." (Proverbs 24:6)
Another important part of teaching children about seeking and receiving wise counsel is telling them about unwise counsel. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." (Psalm 1:1-2) "The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit." (Proverbs 12:5)
An interesting way of telling the story of wisdom and wise counsel is how King Solomon told his children about wisdom. He often spoke with them in a direct way. "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." "My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." "My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." "My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart."
Solomon also used a storytelling technique of humanizing the object of the lesson. He usually spoke about wisdom as being a woman. "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her." "Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?" "Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee."
Proverbs 8 is an excellent example where Solomon wrote about wisdom as being human. Look at what we can teach children about this wonderful and exciting lady named "Wisdom" in verses 12-21.
"I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures."
Think about giving children advice and counsel this way. The average child today hears more than a 200 words of advice a day from a wide variety of influences (family, friends, classmates, television, radio, movies, magazines, books, music, videos, electronic games, etc.). That's at least 1,400 words a week, 6,000 a month, 73,000 a year. One recent study shows that advertisers spend more than $12 billon every year on advertising aimed at children and teens. That much investment of money, time and effort to advise and counsel children about what they should think about themselves and what they need to do or buy should prove to parents the impact television, radio and magazine advertising have on young minds. The study also shows the average child watches more than 40,000 television commercials each year. How many words of advice are packed into every commercial? The older a child gets the more likely the counsel they receive will be bad advice because parents and authority figures have less influence on older children and teens while friends and media have more influence. How often do you get the opportunity to advise children in your martial arts classes each week? One class? Two classes? Use every opportunity you have with the children God leads into your sphere of influence to help them with wise counsel and advice. Remember how powerful and influential the enemy is with children, teens and young adults. Satan knows what's at stake and he's throwing everything he has at getting people when they're young and keeping them for life.
7. "I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."
Martial artists must learn how to stand straight and strong in order to move quickly from stance to stance and to execute powerful and effective defensive techniques. A fundamental truth in martial arts is that in all our movements we are rooted. We remain rooted to the ground and in balance as we execute and move from technique to technique. In the same way, Christian young people need to learn how to stand solidly for what's right. Once we know how to stand in the paths of righteousness, we must not be moved. In all our movements we are rooted and grounded in Christ (at the Right Hand of God) and His Love.
Where do we start learning to stand so we won't be moved? It begins by understanding the Power and Majesty of Almighty God.
"Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Job 37:14
Our faith and determination are strengthened as we consider the wondrous works of God. His creation of the world and space is truly amazing. It is a major theme of the praise songs of Israel.
"I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works." Psalms 9:1
"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works." Psalms 26:7
"Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." Psalms 40:5
"O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works." Psalms 71:17
"Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare." Psalms 75:1
"We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done." Psalms 78:4
"Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works." Psalms 86:8
"For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep." Psalms 92:4-5
"O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches." Psalms 104:24
" Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth." Psalms 105:2,5
"Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" Psalms 107:8
"The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure." Psalms 111:2,4.6.7
"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Psalms 139:14
"One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." Psalms 145:4,5,9,10,17
Christians of all ages will be strengthened to stand for God when they know the God they serve. Our God is not a weak god made of wood or metal. He is the Almighty God Who created the heavens and the earth! In that Truth we stand. Even as the earth God created cannot be moved from its position in the heavens by the will of man, so we cannot be moved in our commitment to Him.
Standing in the knowledge of God is also the Christian's song. The Apostles tell us of the importance of trusting God and standing in His Grace, Power and Faith.
"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:2
"Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." Romans 14:4
"That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."1 Corinthians 2:5
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand."1 Corinthians 15:1
"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13
"Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand." 2 Corinthians 1:24
Standing is something Christians must do every day. We cannot let up for a moment because all of us are in spiritual battles. The enemy wants to defeat our minds, hearts and bodies. The enemy wants to pull us back into slavery. God wants us to enjoy the freedom we have in Christ and to stand boldly in it as we wage war with the enemy.
" Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness," Ephesians 6:11,13,14
"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27
"Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." Philippians 4:1
"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." Colossians 4:12
"For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 3:8
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." 2 Thessalonians 2:15
"By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand." 1 Peter 5:12
The lesson of standing properly (proper stance) is one we will repeat in every class. It is also a spiritual message we should mention at every opportunity for the spiritual sake of our students.
8. "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope."
Martial arts fitness is known to be one of the best ways to build strong organs, muscles and bones. Christian wisdom makes our hearts glad and gives rest and hope to our bodies and minds. Wisdom adds health to our bones and years to our lives. Wisdom brings joy to the heart and hope to the mind.
"Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." Psalms 51:6
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalms 90:12
"When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul." Psalms 2:10
"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." Proverbs 3:13
"For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it." ... " Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength." Proverbs 8:11,14
"The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom." Proverbs 10:21
"Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known." Proverbs 14:33
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones." Proverbs 3:5-8
"The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat." Proverbs 15:28-30
"The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:21-24
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22
Wisdom is an entrance into a world of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Sharing sound physical movement exercises along with words of truth, encouragement and support will help the young people we teach gain so much more from their lives and service to their Lord.
9. "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
Christians will not die in vain. Our lives and our deaths have deep meaning to God. We have an exciting future beyond what our eyes now see. What we do now has a tremendous significance on what we will do through eternity. To spend our time serving God in this life is a wise choice: a choice we can lead our students to choose.
"And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." Mark 10:23-31
"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth." John 4:34-37
"Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." John 6:67-69
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." John 10:27-30
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." John 12:24-26
"As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." John 17:2-4
"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:22-23
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 2 Corinthians 5:1
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." 1 Timothy 6:12-19
"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec." Hebrews 5:8-10
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Hebrews 9:11-15
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." 1 Peter 5:8-10
"And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." 1 John 2:25
What a marvelous promise we have! Eternal life with Christ. It is a promise that strengthens and enboldens us for the work of the Lord. It is a promise we should remind our students so they will also remember God's purpose for their lives.
10. "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
Following Jesus Christ is the "path of life." As we practice the Presence of Christ, we will experience great joy and pleasures for evermore.
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalms 16:11
"In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death." Proverbs 12:28
"He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it." Proverbs 2:7-22
"I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." Proverbs 4:11-27
"In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death." Proverbs 12:28
What a wonderful message we have to share with children, young people and adults each week in our classes. I pray you will find many ways to to point your students toward the Wisdom of God in every lesson. Our churches, communities and countries will be better and stronger for your efforts.
Here's a summary of the Ten Fold Path To Wisdom from King David:
The fourth step to Teaching Wisdom To Our Children is to lead them to make wise choices when it comes to relationships in life. Babies are born into the world with almost no ability to care for themselves. Doctors and nurses and other types of caregivers help in the first days of a child's life, but the primary responsibility for a baby's health and wellbeing falls to the parents. In a child's early years parents will look to family members, friends, neighbors, teachers and others for assistance in giving their children direction and protection. Parents soon learn about the many "mine fields" facing them as they attempt to raise healthy, well-adjusted children.
The purpose of this study is to help parents, Christian martial arts teachers and other adults guide children through those mine fields and find God's purpose and blessing for their lives.
The best way to look at anything in life is through God's eyes. What God believes is best for a child should be our main concern and He has a lot to say about children.
Jesus Christ, God in Flesh, showed through His words and actions what he thought about children. We gain a tremendous insight into how God sees children through these verses.
"And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me." Matthew 18:2-5
"Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:13-14) The NIV reads: "Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Verse15 is also worth mentioning because we see how Jesus expressed Himself to the children. "When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there." Jesus touched them with His heart full of love and interest in their lives. Adults then and now often treat children with a lack of respect. Pure and proper touching shows children how an adult cares for them. Jesus created children and loved them deeply. They are precious in His sight. Children are wonderful examples of the spiritual relationship believers have with Christ. God loves and protects children. His Word is full of insight into that love and protection. In our study, we will see what God says about four important relationships in every child's life: parents, teachers, friends and sexual relationships.
"And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me." Mark 9:36-37
We begin this month with a look at the first two relationships in a child's life: parents and teachers. In our next newsletter we'll look at the impact of friends and sexual relationships on our children.
The most important and vital relationship any child will ever have is with parents. The parent-child relationship should be protected and nurtured by everyone in a community. The success or failure of that bond affects us all. God loves children and gave them as a special gift to parents.
"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth." Psalms 127:3-4
God told Israel how important the home and family are to children and impressed the responsibility parents have to do what is right for their children.
"Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves." Deuteronomy 11:18-23
Children need to learn how important they are to God and how precious they are to their parents. Parents and children don't always know how to say what's in their hearts to each other, so a gentle nudge from God's Spirit is often helpful in developing the deeper relationships possible within families.
God speaks clearly to children about the importance of loving and obeying their parents. It should be in reponse to parents who are loving and obeying God. If both are true in a family relationship, God will be praised and glorified in every city. The truth of relationships is that parents are not always as loving as they should be and children are not always as loving as they should be, but that is not an excuse for disobeying God's direction to each. The Bible says, "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice." (Proverbs 21:3) A parent should love their children whether the love is returned or not. The same is true for the child who has an unloving parent. This life is not perfect and many Christians find themselves in difficult circumstances within the walls of their own homes, but God's Word is true and what He tells us to do in relation to members of our family is true. Obey God and let Him work the miracles.
Solomon, the world's wisest person, had much to say about the importance and benefits of children obeying their parents and their parents raising them in the knowledge and understanding of God. Notice both the commands and the life benefits promised.
"My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." Proverbs 1:8-9
"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding." Proverbs 2:1-2
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." Proverbs 3:1-2
"Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life." Proverbs 4:1-13
"My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." Proverbs 4:20-22
"My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge." Proverbs 5:1-2
"My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart." Proverbs 7:1-3
"The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother." Proverbs 10:1
"A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke." Proverbs 13:1
"He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." Proverbs 13:24
"A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent." Proverbs 15:5
"A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother." Proverbs 15:20
"A foolish son is the calamity of his father..." Proverbs 19:13
"Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." Proverbs 19:18
"He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach. Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge." Proverbs 19:26-27
"Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right." Proverbs 20:11
"Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness." Proverbs 20:20
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
"Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Proverbs 22:15
"Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." Proverbs 23:13-14
"My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine." Proverbs 23:15
"Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." Proverbs 23:22-26
"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off." Proverbs 24:13-14
"My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me." Proverbs 27:11
"Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer." Proverbs 28:24
"Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." Proverbs 29:17
"There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men." Proverbs 30:11-14
"The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it." Proverbs 30:17
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:1-4
"Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged." Colossians 3:20-21
"As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory." 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
"One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity ... Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well." 1 Timothy 3:4,12
"But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God." 1 Timothy 5:4
"If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." Titus 1:6
"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." Titus 2:4-5
God gives fathers, mothers and children shared responsibility in success of the parent-child relationship. Parents and children have a big job and need the support of family and friends to be the best they can be for the glory of God.
We have many teachers in life. We have teachers at school, in church, in music, in sports, at work, in martial arts. We are constantly learning. Teachers have a tremendous influence in the lives of children. Most teachers teach because they love and care about children, but parents should be involved in knowing their children's teachers and what drives them to teach. Unfortunately, some teachers are involved in the lives of children for the wrong reasons. We should be aware and careful for our children's sake.
Parents choose most of a young child's teachers, but children will eventually make some of their own choices. Plus, they need to know the difference between good and poor teachers in order to help their parents know what's happening in the classroom. We look to God's Word for guidance on how to choose the best teachers for our children and how to guide them to make those choices as they grow up.
The first Teacher of the human race was God. He taught Adam how to care for the Garden of Eden. He taught Eve how to be a wife to Adam and a mother to their children. God taught Cain and Abel how to be good to their parents and to each other and how to farm the land and care for animals. He taught the boys how to love and worship Him in ways that would please God. He taught Cain about the dangers and consequences of sin.
God taught every "great" person of the Bible what to do, how to live and what to say. One of the best examples from the Old Testament is the man God chose to "instruct" Israel about His Law. These are excellent insights into how God teaches His teachers to teach. Look at this through God's eyes. Watch how He taught Moses to teach the nation of Israel. What does He want parents to learn about choosing the right teachers for their children? What does God want children to understand about choosing good teachers? What does He want Christian martial arts instructors to learn from these examples about being the kind of teacher God wants us to be?
God used Moses to prepare them to enter into the "promised land." Israel had spent ten generations in slavery. The people didn't know how to do anything for themselves. They were used to being told what to do and being provided for by the Egyptians. They had a lot to learn about taking care of themselves. God told Moses to "teach" and "show" His children what to believe and do. Another way to say that in more modern terms is "Show and Tell." That's the simplest, clearest way of teaching. What did Moses "tell" and what did he "show?" "And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do." (Exodus 18:20) The lessons were clear: teach them the truth and show them how to live and what to do. That's the sign of good teaching. Does a teacher know his or her material? Are they just reading from a book or do they "know" the truth? Is it part of the fabric of their lives? Can they explain it clearly so their students get it? Do they know how to help children understand how to use the information in their lives (the way to walk and the work they must do)? If they don't, it might be wise to look for another teacher. Teachers have a powerful influence on children. It's not an experience we can waste.
Look at what Moses told Israel about what God taught him to teach them. This is one of the most powerful lessons ever given any class in all of history. We can learn so much from this because it's God's message presented in a way that pleased God. Notice also how Moses reminds Israel that God expects them to take His Word seriously in every home and for parents to teach the truths diligently to their children. Parents were to talk the Word and walk the Word day and night in every aspect of family life.
"Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto 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. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken." Deuteronomy 6:1-19
Moses spent the rest of his life teaching the children of Israel. God buried Moses personally in a grave that only He knew. God loved Moses and left these words to remind us of the great legacy this "teacher of Israel" left for his people and for the world.
"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel." Deuteronomy 34:10-12
"And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work." Exodus 35:30-35
Look at what makes up a "master teacher."
1) Filled with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge (mastering a rich relationship with God and an understanding of how God sees life)
2) All manner of workmanship, devise curious works, work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make ay manner of cnning work (mastering his craft whether it be working in metals, wood or martial arts)
3) Teaches from the heart and with the wisdom God gives them (has a deep desire to teach and masters himself to bring praise to God and the riches of God's Word to the people he teaches)
4) Filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work (does his best in everything he does)
We can learn much from these examples of master teachers. (Interesting side note that Aholiab was from the tribe of Dan.)
Joshua was the man God chose to lead Israel after Moses. God taught Joshua what he must know and do in order to teach and lead God's people. The same is true for anyone who teaches God's people today.
"Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people." Joshua 1:7-10
Samuel was a great teacher of the people of Israel at a most difficult time in its history.
"Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you." 1 Samuel 12:23-24
David was a great teacher of God's people. He was also a powerful martial artist (warrior king) and great instructor of his army. He looked to God to be his Teacher and Strength so he could teach others.
"He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." Psalms 18:34
"Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me." Psalms 144:1-2
"Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day ... Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way ... What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose." Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 12
"Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD." Psalms 34:11
"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." Psalms 51:12-13
"Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name." Psalms 86:11
"I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation." Psalms 119:99
What was it that King David wanted God to teach him? The Law. David wanted to know God's Law in detail so he could understand it, obey it and teach it.
"Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes ... Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes ... Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments ... Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes ... I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation ... Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments ... Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes ... Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes." Psalms 119:12, 26, 33, 64, 66, 68, 99, 108, 124, 135
Ezra was a priest and scribe and God used him to return the hearts of God's people to the Lord.
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments ... And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not." Ezra 7:10, 25
We can mention so many other great teachers in the Bible including Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and all the other prophets of God. We can name Peter, Paul, James and the other apostles of God. However, no name in the Bible comes close to the Greatest Teacher of all time: Jesus Christ the Lord! He taught everywhere He went. He taught in every situation of life. He was truely the Master Teacher. We can learn so much about teaching people by observing and following His teaching process.
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." Matthew 4:23
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:19
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." Matthew 9:35
"And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities." Matthew 11:1
"And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land." Mark 4:1
"And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? ... And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching ... And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things." Mark 6:2, 6, 34
Jesus Christ called on all His disciples to become teachers of the Gospel of God's Grace. It is our duty, our responsibility, our privilege, our joy.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20
Jesus also taught His disciples to depend on God's Spirit to teach them what to say as they taught others. May we learn that wonderful lesson and look to the Spirit for His Wisdom.
"For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." Luke 12:12
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26
Beware of teachers of other belief systems. Their words may sound good, but death lies in their sounds.
"But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God." Deuteronomy 20:17-18
Beware of anyone who claims to speak for God but leads people away from God's Truth. Their purpose is not to make things better for people. It is to make thing better for themselves. False teachers are greedy people who want to profit from the misery of others. Be careful not to think or say that no one can lead children of Christian parents away from God's Truths. Jesus told His disciples that false Christs and false teachers would arise and show signs and wonders to seduce even the elect. The consequences for following false teachers are serious and lasting. We must help our children identify false teachers and bad teachers and help them know how to resist them and their teachings. They must learn how to "try the spirits" to see if they are of God.
"For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts. Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed." Isaiah 9:13-16
"Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches." Isaiah 43:27-28
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Matthew 7:15
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many ... For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:11, 24
"For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." Mark 13:22
"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." 1 Timothy 1:5-7
" If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." 1 Timothy 6:3-5
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3-4
"For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:10-16
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." 2 Peter 2:1
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1
"And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works." Revelation 2:18-23
Teachers have tremendous influence over the minds of children and young people. Let us join together in prayer and purpose to stand against those who would do bodily, mental, emotional and spiritual harm to these precious gifts from God.
The fourth step to Teaching Wisdom To Our Children is to lead them to make wise choices when it comes to relationships in life. Babies are born into the world with almost no ability to care for themselves. Doctors and nurses and other types of caregivers help in the first days of a child's life, but the primary responsibility for a baby's health and wellbeing falls to the parents. In a child's early years parents will look to family members, friends, neighbors, teachers and others for assistance in giving their children direction and protection. Parents soon learn about the many "mine fields" facing them as they attempt to raise healthy, well-adjusted children.
Wisdom About Friends
Children are influenced powerfully by other children. The influence becomes stronger as children enter adolescence and the teen years. They begin to question adult standards and the guidance of their parents, teachers and other adult authority in their lives. That questioning leads many children to grow closer to children their own age or a little older. They often do what their friends suggest rather than their parent's advice or direct orders. It's called "peer pressure." Many teenagers tell counselors they feel closer to their friends than they do to their parents. Arguments between children and their parents often increase during these years and it can be a difficult time for families. God understands the power of human influence and gives Christians clear direction about how to deal with it.
God wants us to love Him, worship Him and obey Him. He is so serious about this point that He gave Israel strict instructions about what to do if a family member or even their closest friend tried to turn them away from their relationship with God.
"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you." Deuteronomy 13:6-11
Unfortunately, the people of Israel did not obey God and they were led away by family and friends to serve other gods. It was Israel's downfall many times through centuries of history. It is the downfall of many people today.
Friendship with God and friendship with the world are two drastically opposing forces. Israel had a choice to make thousands of years ago and we have a similar choice to make today. Jesus explained it clearly to His disciples.
"Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:8-19
Most of Christ's disciples chose to follow Him and bear spiritual fruit, but one chose the world (Judas) and we know what kind of friend he was (traitor) and what kind of fruit he bore (bad). Children should be careful as they select their friends. If they can't see the dangers, their parents and teachers should point them out as clearly as possible.
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:1-4
"A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17
The writer to Hebrews tells us about God's promise of loyalty to His children.
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5
That is a quote from the Old Testament when Moses spoke about God taking Joshua and the people of Israel into the promised land.
"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:6-8
When Jesus spoke with His disciples after His resurrection, He sent them out to preach the life-changing message of His Gospel. He promised them He would be with them as they ministered.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20
God's people can face anything and accomplish anything God wants because God will always be with us. He will never turn away, He will never change, He will never leave us alone.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17
A true friend loves at all times. That means today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, year after year.
Love does not mean a friend will always agree with us or give in to our selfish, harmful desires. A true friend will love us the way God loves us. They will care about our wellbeing and speak truthfully for our benefit. They will not be silent while we make major blunders in our lives. They will open their mouths and speak the truth to us in the way only a true friend can speak. Their friendship will make us better than whatwe may have been without their friendship. That's the kind of friend we want to have.
"Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful ... Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel. Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off ... Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:5-6, 9-10, 17
The greatest example of true friendship is Jesus Christ. No one loved us the way Jesus loves us. Many have given their lives to help a friend or save people from harm, but no one has died for the remission of people's sins to give them the gift of eternal life except for Jesus Christ. He gave His Body and His Blood freely so we could live with God forever.
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:14-17
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins ... Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost." Matthew 26:26-28; 27:27-50
One of the wonderful examples of true friendship in the Bible is the story of Ruth. Even though her husband was dead and her mother-in-law was returning to Israel, Ruth was loyal to her friend.
"And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." Ruth 1:15-17
Ruth was a good friend to her mother-in-law and God blessed her greatly. Ruth became the wife of Boaz and was the great-grandmother of King David of Israel.
Another example of loyal friendship is David and Jonathan.
"And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle." 1 Samuel 18:1-4
Jonathan proved his love for David many times, especially in trying to keep his father, King Saul, from killing David. Jonathan was loyal to David until the day he died.
A good friend will support you in your personal walk with Christ and will stand with you at all times.
A bad friend is someone who uses people for their own advantage. They love things and use people. They are selfish and want what they want no matter who gets hurt. It's all about them and no one else. A bad friend will turn on their "friends" in a heartbeat if it serves their purpose. They will double-cross and desert others to gain an advantage or get out of trouble. They will also do everything they can to turn a Christian away from following after God.
We find a sad story of bad friends in 1 Kings 12. King Solomon died and his son Rehoboam became king. Look at how Rehoboam's longtime friends advised him and what happened because he followed their advice.
"And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day. And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him;And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day." 1 Kings 12:6-19
Rehoboam's friends wanted to take a more prominent place in the kingdom and get more things from the people, so they gave the king unwise, selfish advice. They advised the king to use the people of Israel to get things for themselves. That advice led to a rebellion that affected Israel for centuries. Bad advice from bad friends can affect a child's life for many years, even for a lifetime and through many generations.
A bad friend will use division as a method of control in relationships. They will lie about other people in order to get ahead. They divide to conquer. Bad friends want to be first. They want their way about everything. They will do anything to get what they want. Their anger, deception and lies destroy lives.
"A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends." Proverbs 16:28
"He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends." Proverbs 17:9
"The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." Proverbs 26:22
An angry person does not make a good friend. They can have such an impact within a friendship that good people change and become something they weren't.
"Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul." Proverbs 22:24-25
Anger and rage are bad character qualities. A person who is angry and expresses rage needs help. They also need to be watched carefully for the possibility of affecting others negatively. Choose friends wisely. Look for people who are slow to get angry and careful in their actions toward others.
"A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife." Proverbs 15:18
"As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife." Proverbs 26:21
Notice the part pride can play in anger.
"He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat." Proverbs 28:25
"An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit." Proverbs 29:22-23
"Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife." Proverbs 30:33
Angry people are often hateful people. Hatred is rooted deep in their heart. That is a dangerous character flaw and one that can take a child down a dangerous path to destruction. Teach your children to be cautious around people who hate. It is not easy to confront hate, but unless we do it will grow and become an evil vine that chokes the life out of a child, a church or a nation.
"Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin." Proverbs 26:23-28
The Apostle Paul warns Christians about the danger of anger and strife. Notice that strife is mentiond in the same breath with rioting, drunkenness, chambering, wantonness and envying. He goes on to say those bad character qualities are fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.
"Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Romans 13:13-14
"For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" 1 Corinthians 3:3
Look at other bad character qualities Paul mentions along with strife in this powerful verse from his second letter to the Corinthians. This is important spiritual business.
"For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed." 2 Corinthians 12:20-21
Here's another tough list from the Apostle Paul.
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21
God does not tell us what not to be without telling us what He wants us to be. He inspired the Apostle Paul to write these amazing words of encouragement toward Christian character.
"If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:1-8
Christ is our highest example of righteous behavior. We should continually point our children toward Him for wisdom in every aspect of their lives.
One more note about choosing friends wisely. A bad friend is usually interested most in what people can do for them. They look for friends who can give them things they can't afford on their own. A bad friend will dump a poor friend for a rich one without hesitation. Beware of that person.
"The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends." Proverbs 14:20
"Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour. A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts." Proverbs 19:4-6
Character makes the man or woman and that begins when they're a child. Know the people who are having the greatest influence on your children. Teach your young people to know good character and bad character. Make that an important part of your teaching ministry with them. Show them what God says is good and what He says is bad. Help them see good character in themselves and others. Remind them what God says about good friendships and bad friendships. Encourage them to have the strength to say no to bad friends. Support them in their decision. Help them make good friendships that will benefit them for the rest of their life and for eternity.
As for the bad friend, they need to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior, or if saved, they need to obey God's Word and do what He says is right. By no means does God want us to turn away from unsaved sinners or disobedient Christians. Christ called us to preach His Gospel to the lost and teach truth to His people. We need to know and teach our children to understand the difference between friends we can trust and people we can't trust yet because of their spiritual condition. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ, ministers of reconciliation, servants of God's Love. We are not to be proud and think more highly of ourselves than we should. We need to reach out to a dying world while also protecting ourselves from the dangers of that world. Our children need to know the difference.
Another powerful relational influence on children and teenagers is sex. The sexual urges often become stronger than the influence of parents and other adults who care for the wellbeing of the child. God understands the power and addresses it powerfully and clearly in His Word.
First, let's be clear about the issue of sexual relations. Any type of sexual relationships outside of marriage is wrong. One of the primary words in the Bible for sinful sexual relations is "fornication." It is the Greek word porneia (the word pornography comes from it).
Here's what Jesus told His disciples about things that defile a person. Notice that fornication is in the list and Jesus said it was one of the things that defile a person.
"And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." Matthew 15:16-20
Here's what the Apostle James had to say about the behavior of Gentile believers. Notice that fornication is one of the behaviors he wanted them to stop doing.
"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood." Acts 15:19-20
Paul included illicit sexual relations as one of many things wicked people do.
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:28-32
" Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God ... Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body ... Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that commiteth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 13, 18-20
Paul used the ancient Jews wandering in the desert as an example of what not to do. Notice that fornication is part of that.
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand." 1 Corinthians 10:6-8
Paul wrote the Galatians about right and wrong ways to behave. Fornication is wrong. It's a work of the flesh and not what God wants for His children to do.
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21
Paul also warned believers about sex outside marriage in other letters to the early churches.
"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them." Ephesians 5:3-7
"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them." Colossians 3:5-7
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified." 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6
We should be able to agree, based on God's Word, that sexual relations before marriage are wrong. The question now is how to teach that to children and teenagers so they understand the dangers to their bodies and minds and help them deal with sexual temptations that will surely come their way as they mature.
We turn again to the Book of Proverbs for insights into how to teach the wisdom of sexual purity to children. God tells children what other people will do to entice them to have sex outside of marriage. Here are several examples we can share with our children and young people. It's even a good reminder for those of us who have been married many years.
"Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous." Proverbs 2:11-20
"My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly. Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray." Proverbs 5:1-23
"For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts." Proverbs 6:23-35
"Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death." Proverbs 7:4-27
" My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men. Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." Proverbs 23:26-35
Children from Christian homes will generally agree with their parents about sexual standards until they reach the early to middle teen years. If they are part of a strong youth group or other Christian influence (like Christian martial arts), their commitment to Christian standards about sex may continue through their teen years and into adulthood. However, the combination of peer pressure, hormones and what the world tells our young people about sex may lead some Christian young people to experiment with sex. That's why national programs like "True Love Waits" are becoming more popular as young Christians are sharing God's truth about sexual purity.
In addition to telling children about why God does not want them to have sex before marriage, we can also tell them about the positive aspects of waiting until marriage. God has called us to holiness and He knows a person committed to holiness will be healthier, happier and often live longer. Those are all positive aspects. It's also such a blessing for young people when they save themselves sexually for their husband or wife.
"Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7
Paul wrote about both the benefits of sex within marriage and remaining single and celibate in his letter to the Corinthians. It has a lot of great wisdom for us and our children. The main points here are sex within marriage and no sex outside of marriage.
"Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency ... I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife ... Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you ... There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, 8-11, 25-28, 34-40
Sexually transmitted diseases are injuring and killing millions of people every year. Teaching our children the wisdom of sexual relations within marriage will keep them from harm in every aspect of their lives: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and social.
This is so important to the lives of our children. Please know our prayers are with you as you teach them wisdom about friendships and sexual relationships.
The fifth step to Teaching Wisdom To Our Children is to lead them to understand the power of the influence of things. That includes money and possessions. Both have been the downfall of millions of people through history.
A simple way of explaining the process from enticement to wise results is found in the first chapter of Proverbs: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not...My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path." If someone entices you to sin, don't do it. Easier said than done, I know, but the fact remains that if we don't consent to the enticement to sin, we won't commit that sin.
We may think our generation is different than any other that has ever come before, but that's not true. History repeats itself continually because of the nature of the human race. Everyone who has ever lived (except for Jesus Christ) was born a sinner. Sinners sin. They sin every day of their lives. Descendents of sinners continue to sin because they are also sinners. The sin nature is passed from parent to child throughout the ages. God makes that clear throughout His Word. The complete sinfulness of the human race is a powerful theme of the Apostle Paul's letters.
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Romans 5:12)
"But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." (Galatians 3:22)
One of the biggest enticements to sin is in the area of getting things through immoral or illegal means. The desire for money and things drives many people to do terrible things to other people. Look at the full context of the verses quoted above from Proverbs 1:10-19 and you'll see how sinners are driven to harm others just so they can increase their personal wealth.
"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof."
"Greedy of gain." That's the heart and mind motivation behind most of the crime in our world; the desire to "find all precious substance" and "fill our houses with spoil." God warns His children against that behavior. It is unwise and has a bad result: "which taketh away the life of the owners thereof." The sinful desire for "things" ruins people's lives. We must help our children understand that truth!
Here are Scriptural insights to use when teaching children about getting things. It's important they know what God says about them, especially in a world that has gone insane in its desire for money and possessions.
"Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:14-23
"Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it...I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures." Proverbs 8:10-11, 17-21
"Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death. The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked." Proverbs 10:2-3
"A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death." Proverbs 11:1-4
"Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase." Proverbs 13:11
"In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble...Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith...He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live." Proverbs 15:6,16, 27
"Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right...How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver...Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." Proverbs 16:8,16,19
"Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD...There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel...Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good." Proverbs 20:10,15,23
"The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death. The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment." Proverbs 21:6-7
"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all...Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them." Proverbs 22:1-2, 22-23
"Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee." Proverbs 23:5-7
"Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief." Proverbs 24:1-2
"Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich. Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father. He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession. The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out...A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him. He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer. He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat." Proverbs 28:6-11, 20-25
"Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not." Proverbs 29:24
"Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." Proverbs 30:7-9
There is no question in God's Word that stealing money or possessions from other people is wrong.
"Thou shalt not steal." Exodus 20:15
"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters."1 Peter 4:14-15
Money is necessary for life, but it should not be the main thing in life. Money can be used for good, but it is often used for bad. God wants us to be content with what He provides for us and not fall in love with money and what it will bring us. We need to help children understand the true nature and value of money.
"Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."1 Timothy 6:5-10
One of the sad stories of the Gospels is about a rich man who sought Christ to learn about getting eternal life. It teaches a powerful lesson to children about the true nature of things and what's really important in this life and the life to come.
"And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Mark 10:17-25
The early Jewish believers followed the Apostles' instructions about what to do with possessions.
"And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." Acts 2:44-45
Paul has tremendous insight into how to help a child or adult who steals from people. It's the process of retraining the body, mind and spirit of a thief. The hands that once stole things from others make things to give to others. What a wonderful lesson for any child.
"Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." Ephesians 4:28
God promises His children a great life as we do what is right in His sight. We end this series of studies about teaching wisdom to our children with that truth. We should do what God asks of us because we love Him and owe Him everything. We should not obey God for what we will get from Him. True love does not do that. However, God also loves us and will give us good things in our lives. It may or may not include things as the world sees good things, but it is wonderful and precious in God's eyes. We have a wonderful relationship with God and our children need to see that in their home, their church and in every Christian program like Christian martial arts.
Here's God's promise from Proverbs 3.
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet."
GraceLife Ministries is excited about the release of our new book about the wonderful words of hope and encouragement found in the Bible, God's Word! You can read more about how to order "GraceLife - Words of Hope and Encouragement in a Discouraging World."
We also invite you to learn more about our new reference book which addresses the most important issues of life: A History of Man's Quest for Immortality.