James 3:17-18 (ESV)
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a HARVEST OF RIGHTEOUSNESS is sown in peace by those who make peace.
THOUGHTS FROM THE BOARD
A “harvest of righteousness!” It is a privilege and high calling for us, as mothers, to cultivate virtue and righteousness, not only in our own hearts and lives, but those of our children as well. But how is this even possible since Paul writes, “None are righteous, no not one?” (Rom 1:17) Thankfully, the answer is provided a few chapters later (Rom 5:19) that “through the obedience of One, many will be made righteous.” Through Christ alone, we are given all we need to grow in Him.
Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness.” If we desire a harvest of righteousness, we must sow the virtues of right living, which begins with breaking “up your fallow ground.” In context, the word fallow seems to refer to hard or stony ground. Not so! The dictionary says fallow ground is land that is allowed to lie idle during the growing season. Are there parts of our spiritual growth that we have allowed to remain idle? Maybe time in God’s Word or prayer? What about Scripture memorization? With the Spirit’s help, we must identify any idle areas and break them up so our hearts and minds are ready to receive the seeds of virtue or righteousness.
God, who supplies physical seeds and bread, will also supply these spiritual seeds. And not only that, He promises to increase our harvests according to 2 Cor 9:10. So on those days when we see imperfections in our children, and in our imperfect hearts as well, we must remember, seeds are small. Is there one thing we can do to bring God to the moment? Perhaps it will be affirming a child for improving an aspect of his character on which he has been working. Maybe it’s pointing out a small bit of God’s creation, thanking Him for His glory and majesty. Or what about just stopping and praying right then and there, knowing that our Perfect God will supply and multiply our seeds for sowing.
And, finally, we are encouraged by Galatians 6:8-9 knowing that with the Spirit’s help that we are, indeed, sowing to the Spirit, not the flesh. By His grace, we are doing good, bit-by-bit, and day-by-day; growing in the Lord and growing our children in the Lord. It is a process, but we are exhorted to not grow weary of doing good and to not give up. Why? Because in due season, we will reap that harvest of righteousness that has been so long in the making.
Question: How do I teach my children to make wise choices?
Answer: Great question and one we wish was as simple as a+b=c. Since true wisdom comes from above, it is Godly wisdom we desire to implant into their minds and hearts. Reading Bible stories, praying and singing songs of truth with them from the earliest ages will help their minds become attuned to hear God’s Word and recognize truth and increase in understanding. Remember, “begin as you mean to go.” Set an example of personal time with God by reading and studying the Bible. Then, as the children grow, show them how to study the Bible for themselves. Introduce them to trusted Bible study resources and slowly transfer the responsibility of learning and growing in God’s wisdom to them as they enter the teen years. Be available to answer their questions and discuss their concerns by going to the Word together.
Pay careful attention as to who and what is influencing your children. I Cor. 15:33 reminds us that, “Bad company corrupts good morals”. We become like the company we keep. When we walk with the wise, we will become wiser still, yet a companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20; Prov. 22:25) Be sure your children are regularly surrounded by peers and role models that share your family values.
Pray for help from the Holy Spirit. Ask that you will increase in His wisdom. Examine your example – are you taking time to be in God’s Word, which leads to hearing His voice and obeying His Word? Do you show your children by your life the importance seeking Godly wisdom and making wise choices? Put into practice the biblical principles you know will serve your children well for their future and for God’s Glory.
Training children in character comes through training their hearts. Sheryl Nickels, a Mom with a wide age-span of both biological and adopted children is the speaker for this presentation. Sheryl reminds all Moms that they set the tone in their homes and are called to apply Biblical principles in their own lives and in the lives of their children. She also shares ways that Moms can instill Godly truths in their children. To order click here .
Harvest: a mature crop (as of grain or fruit); an accumulated store or productive result (Miriam Webster)
Righteousness: characterized by accepted standards of morality, justice or uprightness; virtue (World English Dictionary)
Sow for yourselves righteousness…break up your fallow ground
2 Cor 9:10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Gal 6:8-9 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Earlier this year, when our neighbors fenced in their yard, they soon discovered that our garden plot, placed by the previous home-owners, exceeded the property line.
Because we were somewhat struggling with our endeavor to garden, we took the news in stride. A small example of our gardening experience includes the year we accidentally planted ornamental cabbage and gourds instead of edible vegetables. Oh, we reaped what we sowed; it just wasn’t what we expected!
Sometimes it’s the same way in our parenting. We are diligently sowing seeds of character and virtue into our children. We nourish them and watch them grow. Yet occasionally their outward behavior, which reflects their hidden hearts, is not what we desired or anticipated. And sometimes we underestimate the germination time becoming frustrated, anxious and upset when we don’t see the harvest we want to see in our time frame. What happened? What wisdom can be applied?
- Just as with our garden, perhaps the boundaries need evaluation. In spite of our good effort, do our children have too many freedoms?
- A gardener also needs to look closely at the seeds he plants. Had we sought wisdom from someone with experience, we might have avoided planting the wrong seeds. Or if we had just read the information on the packet we would have saved ourselves money, time and trouble. How much easier it would be to do it correctly and carefully the first time with our children! Using God’s Word as our guide, and taking into consideration the developmental age of each child, we can then correctly and carefully emphasize the virtues being sown.
- Garden plants need to be nourished and weeded. Our children are “nourished” through structure, routine, obedience, couch time, and family identity. Parents need to consistently model what the virtues look like. Then, once the child understands what is required, he is held to the standard. Repentance, forgiveness and restoration help weed sin issues from the hearts of our children.
- Like gardens, children will thrive in the right climate with the right seed planted at the right time of the year. Prior to planting, the seedlings need to be insulated (not isolated) until they are ready to handle the outside elements. Just as we proactively use fences or other means to keep away pesky intruders such as deer, insects or rabbits that may want to feast on a growing garden, there are proactive steps we can take in parenting. Praying for our children wards off many unseen enemies and also serves as a nutrient and weed remover too.
- Finally, are we willing to wait patiently, even when we are not seeing the harvest we desire? Note how the farmer in James 5:7 waits for the precious fruit of the earth. We must be continually committed to sowing healthy seed such as virtues into the heart of our child, watering and weeding even when the harvest is not forthcoming on our time-line.
This simple analogy provides a visual illustration that as we sow into and model what righteousness is, in due season and through the power of the Holy Spirit in our children’s lives, we see the harvest of righteousness sprout. Thankfully we have the same Holy Spirit, Who is working along side and in us as we raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.