But Daniel purposed in his heart
that he would not defile himself with the portion
of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank.
Therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs
that he might not defile himself.
In case you do not know the story, Daniel had been taken captive to Babylon. He has been selected by the kingdom to be trained in the Babylonian ways. One of the ways of training was for them to eat the food of the kingdom, but the foods presented went against Daniel's principles. So Daniel purposed in his heart to do things differently; to do things God's way. Here was the result:
And the king communed with them, and among them all was found none
like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore stood they before the king.
And in all matters of wisdom and understanding
that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better
than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.
This story has always been inspirational to me. Daniel was given a huge opportunity to be influential in the kingdom of Babylon. I have no doubts that the food was delicious and very tempting and he could have easily blended in and probably did just fine, but he said "No, I am doing it God's way" and the result made him head and shoulders above the rest. My challenge from this post will be for us to ask ourselves if we are raising our kid's God's way? Are our kids standing head and shoulders above their unsaved peers?
Babylon was one of the most influential kingdoms of the time and to be given the opportunity to eat the food that the king provided had to be huge. There was probably a choice of a WIDE variety of the very best foods. But Daniel chose not to look at the opportunities being presented to him, but rather to look at the principles of God and to filter his choices through God's way.
In America, we are incredibly blessed with a wide varieties of opportunities. Around every corner are things that appear to be very beneficial. Like Daniel, our kids have the opportunity to "eat" from the very best that this world has to offer right now, but are we as parents willing to step back and choose to do things according to God's principles and not the world's? Are our expectations in line with His expectations or are they in line with what society says is normal?
I am often amazed when I talk to Christian parents who state the norm in their house is for their children to fight. Our society teaches that there is such a thing called "sibling rivalry" and that this is normal. As a result, many people tolerate this sort of behavior between their children. The Bible also taught (first) that yes, we have a sinful nature BUT we have to learn to overcome it with God. I am also amazed by the common thread in our society that our "kids will outgrow these negative behaviors" and we call these negative behaviors "stages." While I totally understand that our children do go through stages of negative behavior, the Bible does not call us to laugh it off, wait until the stage passes and/or look the other way. Instead, as parents, we ARE called to train and discipline our children, and this training can and should produce a DIFFERENCE.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.
I am not saying that the proof you are doing this will be that your children are perfect little angels and never do anything wrong, but rather I am asking the question: are we training them? The word "training" implies work. If you have ever exercised and lifted weights you know that it is tiring and not easy, but WHEN you do it there is positive results. Our children should be known for their character.
Even a child is known by his doings,
whether his work be pure and whether it be right.
Is that a goal you have for your children in their youth? That people would know them for the good and the right things that they do?
God challenges us to some pretty big things are Christians:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
We are to love our brother and sisters in Christ, serve one another and live at peace with everyone. What better place for our kids to practice and learn to live this out then in our homes? As Christian parents, we have been given the opportunity to give our kids a HUGE head start in life and train them on HOW to love, how to live at peace and how to be kind starting right in our own families.
Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
Our kids should be a blessing to us, their brothers and sisters and then to the world. We shouldn't be holding our breath until they grow up to see if they become people of character. Instead, we should be able to shoot them out of our homes into the world, like a warrior shoots an arrow! When they leave our homes they should be ready to cause DAMAGE to the kingdom of darkness.
Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads
Beloved, we truly need the Lord to build our houses for us. In His Word He has clearly told us how. What we say we believe on Sunday with our hands up in the air, needs to be walked out on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.... It needs to be a part of our lives from sun up and sun down. And guess what, applying the Truth of God's Word into our lives, including how we raise our children should, can and will make them different. So as the title of the post says, "What are you feeding your children?" Are you feeding them the principles and expectations that this world has to offer or are you feeding them God's way? As Christians, our families should be DIFFERENT, our children should be DIFFERENT. The difference should be good, it should be noticeable and when people begin to ask why, we can say with confidence that it is because we are feeding them God's way.
For all my thoughts on parenting click here or for specific issues see the following titles:
Training Children: more of my thoughts on what it means to train our children.
The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness: Is gentleness one of the attributes you possess in your parenting style?
Be Referees: If you are having trouble working with your spouse when it comes to parenting.
Lessons from my Children 1: Valuing Relationships & Lessons from My Children 2: Why we have relationship: Sibling Rivalry? Here are some thoughts about it.