In our previous post we began sharing ten steps about how a person gets to the point where they know they’re walking with God. Here are the next three steps in the process as David explained in Psalm 16. They are the same steps we can use to Teach Wisdom to Our Children.
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 hears hundreds of words of advice every day from a wide variety of influences (e.g. family, friends, classmates, television, radio, movies, magazines, books, music, videos, social media, electronic games, etc.). That’s thousands of words each week, more than a hundred thousand words every year.
CBS News reported in 2007 that advertisers spent more than $17 billon on advertising aimed at children and teens. That’s more than double what it was in 1992. In 1983, advertisers were spending “only” $100 million a year marketing to kids.
Why would advertisers spend billions of dollars a year to reach children? Because it works. The New York Times reported that children 13 and under spend about $40 billion of their own money each year; teenagers spend about $160 billion. On top of that, children and teens influence their parents to spend another $150 billion every year.
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 each week? Once? Twice? 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 then trying to keep them for life.