Give me a word, Lord: GROWING IN CHRIST

Psalm 34:11-14 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; and  seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Don’t you just love the Psalms? With schools starting back in full swing in these uncertain times, it’s nice to know that we can turn to our instruction manual for life, “The Holy Bible,” to help us start out on the right track. This is the first year that we don’t have any of our children starting school, but our grandson will begin his first day of kindergarten today. The years pass much to quickly, and we have so little time to spend with our littles before we send them out into this big old scary world. I’m so thankful that we have the Word of God to guide us as we go.

Psalm 34 is an excellent reminder of this. It is a letter written to our children. The psalmist. David, is speaking to a child who will soon be entering adulthood, and reminds the child of all of the things that have been taught in the past. He brings to mind a coach giving a pep talk to his team. He reminds the child to burn these things into his heart, mind, soul, and spirit because if we recall the truths of Christ that we have learned, we are armed for any and every situation that we will face.

But how does a child learn the truths if we don’t teach those truths? As parents and grandparents, we are charged with bringing up our children and grandchildren in the ways of the Lord. We must learn to fear the Lord ourselves and grow in a relationship with Him. As we grow, we learn to walk more closely to the Lord. We learn what is right, and we learn what is wrong. We recognize good and evil, and we learn the ways of our Father. Trust me, if we aren’t teaching our children the right ways, someone else will be busy teaching them the wrong ways. Children are sponges. I watch and listen to my grandson in amazement. He retains so much knowledge and is so smart for a wee little five year old guy. He wants to learn new things, and he is very inquisitive. He learns new things from those around him every single day.

Children and Christians share a commonality. We all have a desire to learn more, and Christians, like children, need someone in this life teaching and growing us in the ways of the Lord. Thankfully, God gives us His Word as an instruction manual for life, but not only that, He places people in our lives who will help grow us. He places pastors, Sunday School teachers, church elders, and brothers and sisters in Christ to walk beside us and continue to grow us in our relationship with Him. We should be ever inquisitive and growing in our knowledge of Christ daily, soaking up new knowledge like a sponge, and as we grow, it is our responsibility to grow others in Christ. We must teach what we’ve learned and be disciples who are discipling others.

Through the word of God, we learn to live with integrity. We learn to trust and believe God for everything and in all things. We learn to treat others with respect. We learn to cheer others on and inspire others, and most importantly, we learn to pray about everything. Psalm 34 tells us to keep our tongues from speaking evil and telling lies, and to turn away from evil and do good. We must search for peace and work to maintain it. We are assured that the Lord is watching over us, and that He hears us when we cry out to Him, and we are reminded that the Lord is close to the broken-hearted, and that He rescues those who are crushed in spirit. The Lord is our protector, our redeemer, and we can take refuge in Him.

As we begin this manic Monday, let’s begin it with prayer for our children who are starting a new school year, the teachers and the staff, and the parents. It’s a different world this year. It seems that everything has changed, but we can rest assured that our Father in heaven has not nor will not ever change. As we continue to grow in our relationship with Him, let’s be sure that we are growing our children in the Lord also. Let’s teach them that when we have the Spirit of the true living God residing withing us, there is nothing to fear. We must all be disciples for Christ. Our children are our future. Let’s train them in the way of the Lord and help them to grow in Christ daily.

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