Session 2 Part 1: The Fall
Audio File

"Master, master, come quickly.... the creature is awake!!! What should we do?? It won't respond!! All it does is say no, and it won't stop drooling"!!!

In a perfect world, everyone does what they should and on the off chance that they don't, all you must do is calmly explain it to them and their behavior will promptly be changed. This is not a perfect world, and we are not perfect people. The truth is, according to the Bible, that we live in a fallen world that has been condemned to decay due to the curse brought upon it by mankind's (that would be you and me!) rebellion. Never forget that! It will affect all of your life experience and is especially important in dealing with children.

.We live in a fallen world: never forget that, as it is especially important in dealing with children
Christian teaching is (or should be) diametrically opposed to the teaching of the world. Human philosophy basically states that man is by nature good. He has just gone astray (usually due to some unfortunate experience or environmental influence) and can easily be brought back to the correct path by way of education (tree of knowledge). Christianity teaches that man by nature is a sinner. He will, left to his own, only serve himself. Any appearance to the contrary is just that, an "appearance". We, like the devil, are condemned to hell unless we are redeemed by the Lord. We are not compatible with God as light is not compatible with darkness, and God doesn't change. Our children are by nature sons and daughters of Adam and Eve!
Our children are by nature sons and daughters of Adam and Eve!

Please take note of this last statement. I said by NATURE! It is not by deeds either good or bad that we became separated from God, but rather it is the very state or condition in which we entered this life. No amount of education or conditioning will ever change that! It is our job to teach our children, as is plainly stated in scripture. That is why I previously quoted Deut. 6. This chapter is of great significance in the Jewish religion and many educators (God fearing ones at least) refer to it as the "pivotal passage" in scripture. However, what many Jews and Christians alike failed to recognize and also seem to become confused about is why we should educate our children? The number one reason to educate your children is to bring them face to face with God himself! When we are confronted by his holiness and our sinfulness, we have a choice to make. Will we continue to exalt ourselves as the Devil did, boasting about our greatness (Is. 14:12-15), or will we humbly repent as Job did (Job 40:4)?

The number one reason to educate your children is to bring them face to face with God himself!

The primary reason for educating your children is to lead them to the cross and show them their need to be born again! This is where true life and true education begin. God is the one who will really train them in life not their parents. We are at best, a shadow of the true parent. Perhaps a better description of our role is that of a tool in the hands of the master craftsman. He is always interested in what is best for his kids! Father knows best.

Educating your children is to lead them to the cross and show them their need to be born again!

As our children come face to face with their sinful nature, it is our job to help them recognize that it is the hand of God they are fighting against and not we their parents. With God given wisdom and much patience (and we know that the Bible says tribulation or difficulties are what teach patience.) we can direct them to repentance, which leads to salvation, commonly known as being "Born Again". According to the Gospel of John chapter one verse twelve, human beings have at the onset of our new relationship with God actually received the power or authority to become God's children. As the potter does not finish his work with the clay pot in a moment's time, so God will continue to work with our children and us until he is satisfied.

I feel it necessary to make a statement about something I just said which could be misunderstood. I am not anti education! I believe that God gave us intellect and fully expects us to use it! However, it would be better to have a lowly position in life (within the kingdom of God, perhaps a doorkeeper position: see Ps. 84: 10) than to be a great success in this world and have a shallow experience with the Lord, or worse yet, have no relationship with God at all.

So, let's get back to our story. Judah our first-born was practically perfect! When he did fall short of our expectations, we could easily discipline him. He was so good that on those rare occasions, which required spankings, we would actually tell him to go and get the paddle, which he would obediently do. When he returned with the wooden spoon (that is what we used at the time), mom or dad would lean him over their knee and apply the appropriate discipline. Spanked and then comforted, we would pray with him. Then he would happily return the paddle to its original location.

Ah! Life was a joy! Raising children was a snap! Others had warned us that when the child reached two years old, all that would change. Judah however was already two years and four months old so those Nay Sayers were obviously wrong! Hah! I guess they don't use the Bible as their guide, or perhaps they don't pray, or.... "What do you mean NO? Who do you think your talking to young man?"

Reality can be very alarming. Not all people experience what my wife and I went through with our first child, but let me tell you, after over two years of what seemed like great success in child rearing, we had hit a real wall. This kid had suddenly shown his true colors! It was almost as if he had been storing up rebellion for the past two years and now he was ready to fight. And fight we did, often over nothing of consequence. It was evident, that this was a test of will, and that we had finally come face to face with the sinful nature of mankind, this time it appeared in a package three feet tall.

We had come face to face with the sinful nature of mankind, in a package three feet tall
There is a great struggle going on in the area of social engineering. Most people do not realize it, but according to the apostle Paul, we do not fight against a natural foe, but against a spiritual one (Eph 6:12). If the devil cannot prevent you from becoming a Christian, he will do his best keep you from being effective. As we think, so we do is not just a quotation, but is actually a truism. Find a way to convince the society that a certain way of thinking in normal, and soon everyone begins to behave in that fashion.

Paul also warns us in Romans the twelfth chapter that we should not conform to the "pattern" of this world as we have previously mentioned. I labor on this point because it is critical. If children are naturally good, then any shortcomings are the fault of the parents or the extended environment. The solution to this is education and social programs such as head start and the other popular programs of the day. Perhaps it does take a "village idiot" to raise a child or whatever the name of the First Lady's (Hillary Clinton's) book is.

However if by nature they are sinners and they need to be redeemed by a savior, then the solution for them is the same as the solution for us. We can apply the same principles to their lives that God is teaching us to apply to our lives.

The solution for them is the same as the solution for us

Children, just like their larger counterparts also need to repent. They too must work out their salvation with fear and trembling. God is interested in making them into sons and daughters of the kingdom, which is the same goal that he has for us (Phil. 2:12-13).

Often we succumb to the "instant Christianity" myth. As I mentioned a few moments ago, being Born Again is instantaneous, Salvation, however, is a life long work of God (see 1Peter 1:9; in fact read the first 9 verses and see that Peter considered trials and tests normal to the Christian experience and useful to bring a maturing to the saints).

My point is that children's behavior is an example of unregenerate mankind. We should not and cannot be overcome by our emotions when our children demonstrate ungodly behavior. In fact, we must expect it and anticipate it. It is our job as parents to train them in Godliness. The first step toward Godliness is repentance!

The first step toward Godliness is repentance!

Remember, the world's philosophy is that we are all really O.K. We just need to clean up the world we live in, re-educate those who don't "get it" and then we will all live happily ever after. This is not just a simple difference of opinion. We are diametrically opposed to this philosophy. If you choose to follow the wisdom of the world, you will go astray! Jesus said in Matt 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it"(NIV).

The Bible version of mankind's condition is shown in the following passages of scripture...
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jer. 17:9 NKJ)

"The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done". (Gen 8:21NIV).

Please note that this last reference is immediately after the flood and is actually part of God's promise never to destroy the earth again by water. In other words God is making the point that even though I will preserve mankind, it is not because he is good. As a matter of fact, his heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked from childhood!!!

As we read these scriptures, I am reminded of the seventh chapter of the book of Romans. Go ahead and read it, pay special attention to verses 14-24. I'll wait right here for you.

Read Romans 7:14-24… I'll wait right here till your finished.
Pretty scary stuff huh? Remember this is the great Apostle Paul writing! It is a chapter in which a real man expresses his personal battles with his sinful nature. If you only read the seventh chapter of Romans, you could go away depressed. Look at his conclusion in verse 24. What a wretched man I am! Thankfully, Paul did not write this letter by chapters. He continues on and explains that the power to live a Christian life is in the work of Christ on the cross.

Parents!!! Are you listening? You must combat the work of the devil with the work of the cross! If you choose to train your children using the mental gymnastics of the "Egyptian Magicians", you will get Egyptian children!!!! We as the people of God have been commanded to come out and be separate. That is the only option. James said to love the world and its ways is to hate God (James 4:4). Very harsh words, wouldn't you say? They are not mine.... check your Bible!

 

Session 2 Part 2: Pre-Meditation

From across the room he had seen it. It almost called to him, "touch me, hold me, taste me, put me in your mouth," it shouted. What could he do? It was true that the big people had told him no, no yet it was so shiny.

Slowly he crawled towards it ... it grew brighter and larger. Was it cold? Did it squish? He pulled himself up and balancing on his fat but wobbly legs he reached out ... "CRASH, SPLASH, NOOO!!!" shouted the big people as they rushed into the room.

We will discuss whether a glass of water should be left at eye level in another chapter, but for now, let's consider pre-meditation. I realize that this sounds like a court of law, but if you are going to help your children grow to the standards that God has set for them, you must consider this matter.

Since we are fallen from our original position of intimate relationship with God the Father our nature has become self-serving. To help repair us, God instituted rules to guide us back to Him.

It is entirely possible to break a rule without knowing that you are doing so. The Bible however tells us that until the law was established, it was not possible to be guilty of an offense! In the book of Romans, Paul the apostle spends considerable time explaining the law and how it affects us all. In verse 15 of the 4th chapter he make this statement
"And where there is no law there is no transgression". (Rom. 4:15 NIV).

Now I am not saying that there are no consequences for an action just because there is no law! I am merely stating that it is not a violation of any rule. I am a firm believer in the consistency of the creation. If you throw melon seeds on the ground, in a short period of time (barring hostile conditions) you will find melon plants growing. Radishes won't pop up because the melons decided to play a little joke on you, "as you sow, so also will you reap!

One of our children (who will remain nameless, but you know who you are!) began pulling lamp plugs and the plugs of other assorted electrical devices out of the wall. He (all right that rules half of my kids out, but I'm not giving any more hints!) then tried to reinsert them while holding onto the metal parts. Needless to say, he would regularly get shocked and start to cry. Of course this would send his mother into a state of panic. This was a bad thing to do yet it was not an act of disobedience, because he had never been instructed not to do this.

Apparently electrical shock was not as distasteful to him as it is to me as he continued to play with the plugs. In fact he actually blackened his hand and blew a circuit at church one Sunday. This had to stop.

By this time we had of course told him this was a bad thing to do so it was now also a violation of code #27 of Dad's rule book and therefore punishable by spanking. Being a stubborn child, he received a number of spankings before he stopped playing with plugs. But finally, there was great rejoicing in the heart of his Mother.

And where there is no law there is no transgression - but there are still consequences

When does a child know that a certain thing is wrong? Is there an age at which we can know for sure that they really get it?

I don't think that understanding can be calculated using a mathematical equation. There is no doubt in my mind that each of my six children understood things at different ages, however there is one constant in each child's life that I can personally attest to. My wife and I were both able to tell when "I didn't know" became "I don't care!"

It is not by accident that you are your child's parents! Apples fall from apple trees! No one knows your child like you do except God himself ... not even the child. God has designed it this way and as a caring parent, you can and should take full advantage of this.

Now here is where a major problem occurs; we who are sinful often cater to our own sinful nature and are therefore reluctant to tackle the child's problems. Let me address this with all the compassion that I can muster.... Tough!!!!! You should have thought of that before you had children! It comes with the territory.

You will know when "I didn't know" becomes "I didn't care" And, you will then be accountable to discipline your children while there is still hope.

There are many stories in the Bible that demonstrate how God feels about parents who fail to discipline their children in the ways of God. In every case, God holds the parents accountable! He doesn't let the children off the hook, but judgment is still applied to the parent's account! In some cases, generations bore the results of the parent's shortcomings.

Before you go running to your Bible concordance to look up all the scriptures that you can find on the Grace of God, I would like to direct your attention to Titus 2:11-12 which says the Grace of God teaches us to say NO to ungodliness and worldly passions. Or how about Hebrews 12:15 which seems to indicate that you could actually miss the Grace of God and allow a root of bitterness to grow up and cause trouble.

All that I am saying is that we all answer for our actions and how we handle our responsibilities. What responsibilities do we have that are more important than our children?

So back to the matter at hand, determining if your child was just confused, or in its own sweet little way they're thumbing their nose at you. Since they are your children and no one knows them as well as you, it is obvious that you must be the ones to decide whether they are indeed showing disobedience and ultimately rebellion. If your child is an infant, age birth to 6 months old, I would suggest that there are few things he or she can do that should be considered acts of disobedience. Mostly your child is exploring their senses and their crying can be traced to "I'm hungry, hot, cold, tired, teething, messy, etc. None of these require discipline! Even if you are not able to solve the problem, (such as teething) they still do not warrant discipline. Patient loving care is what this age group needs with a special focus on protecting them from harmful circumstances many of which are self induced. However, in this period of time, some babies will begin to express their own opinions on life circumstances and in fact do require discipline. Generally this can be as little as a loving no, no. Children respond to tone before they understand words. A low tone like a growl gets most babies attention, but more of this in another chapter.

As they become more mobile, you will find frequent opportunities to meet their "Sinful" nature face-to-face. If you are honest, you will see that they are indeed your children. Born into sin, and in need of a savior. It is frightening to realize that they are not the little angels that everyone thinks they are. Children are just small rebellious creatures.

I remember the first time I saw my little child pick up a toy and haul off and crown a playmate. Shocking! Yet if you consider the bible account of man's condition and observe history, what else would you expect the children of sinners to do? We live for ourselves; don't you realize that they too live for themselves?

I remember the first time I saw my little child (sinful fallen human being)Pick up a toy and haul off and crown a playmate
Without the love of Jesus in our hearts, we will all live self-centered lives. Even the world knows this, (although modern society is doing it's best to live in denial). Just read a book like Lord of the Flies in which perfectly normal school children find themselves in a situation where they must fend for themselves. Quickly they revert to an animalistic cast system where the strong rule over the weak.

Premeditation is not life's little exception; it is the rule of life itself. Unless and until we are born again, we do not even posses the power to overcome this sinful nature. The best that we can hope for is to control ourselves and display some kind of socially acceptable behavior. In the Gospel of John, the writer indicates that you must be "born again" in order to become a son of God (Jn1:12). Please reject the philosophy of the day! It is imperative that you accurately see your child's spiritual condition if you truly want to help them to change. Premeditation is a clear indication of the condition of their little hearts.

Psychological analysis and programming will at best change the soul of man. Some of the strongest among the children of Adam and Eve will be able to veil their inner feelings and show an outside image that will please other men. Their hearts however will still be the same and in the end, the Lord will say Depart from me you workers of evil (King James renders evil as lawlessness) (Mt.7: 23). Their spirit will not be changed for the only hope for the spirit of man is to be born again, and the only way to become born again is to repent of your ways and receive the power from on high to walk in his ways.

Remember, Adam's sin was not accidental, and the best that we can say about Eve is that she was deceived! Sin is premeditated! Fortunately, so is salvation. Child discipline is all about recognizing sinful behavior on the part of your children and directing them to Jesus.

Salvation like Sin is premeditated!
Study Questions: Session 2 - The Fall and Premeditation:

1. Left to their own choices, will children develop good character?

2. What is the number one reason for educating our children?

3. What is the solution to your child's nature

4. If they don't know the rules are there still consequences to their actions?

5. Who is the most qualified to determine the motives of your child's heart?