Sep
19

How (Not) to Harden Your Children’s Hearts

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In a fast-paced world that threatens to keep us in a perpetual state of distraction and superficiality, we need to slow down and focus on what matters.

In Deuteronomy we hear God’s command to place His law in our hearts: the Lord said, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deut 6:6-7). Then the book of Proverbs reminds us to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (4:23). We must guard our own hearts so that they remain soft and we remain responsive to the Holy Spirit and receptive to the Word of God. And then we must also guard and tend the hearts of our children so that they, too, remain open to the work of the Heavenly Father in their lives.

Christian parents send their children to a Christian school so that their hearts will be tended and nurtured – softened toward the Lord – rather than be hardened and made brittle by unchecked sin, neglect of the truth, and carelessness toward the things of God. Our friends at discoverchristianschools.com help us to understand how to avoid hardening the hearts of our children with an article titled “Ten Ways to Harden a Child’s Heart Toward God.” Please go to the website and read the entire article – you’ll be glad you did.

But here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite.

The Bible teaches that there is no neutral ground or actions – everything is either for or against Christ (Matthew 12:30), and there are things that soften the heart of a child and things that harden the heart of a child. For example, teaching that God does not exist from the very earliest years of a child’s life will have a hardening effect on the heart of a person and create a thought process that will make it more difficult to believe that there is a God later in life. Conversely, being taught that there is a God from a child’s earliest years will prepare the heart and mind of the child to believe that God exists later in life. This is why God commands parents to immerse their children in His word and how He normally brings a person to saving faith.

Additionally, God tells us that what goes in through the eyes and ears will affect a person (Luke 11:34). He tells us (including the children) what we should be thinking about in Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” […]

A non-Christian school teaches children while excluding the Bible. Education fundamentally is about learning to think and thinking informs a person’s actions. From God’s Word we find that all truth and therefore, all true education, is rooted in the truth of God. By excluding the teachings of Christ in the non Christian school, the child implicitly learns that it is not important to have God as central to how we are to think and live. […]

A non-Christian school teaches without Christ and leads children to conclude that man can effectively learn and grow independent of God. “If God is not needed for everything, He may not be needed for anything.” A Christian school teaches that we can, in fact, do all things, but it is through Christ. Therefore, both the responsibility to achieve a level of independence in society and the blessing of total dependence on God is missed in the non-Christian school.

A non-Christian school teaches that there is no Divine Authority. Without God as the Supreme Authority over all of life and the source of truth, the framework for a pattern of thinking is in place that concludes man is the supreme authority in life. How difficult will it be to believe and submit to God? Even if the gospel is believed, the child may believe that God exists to serve man’s need, not the other way around.

There’s much more at discoverchristianschools.com, and I commend the website to you. And I pray that God will give you wisdom as you seek to guard the hearts of your children – both young and old – and point them toward Christ. We join you in seeking to honor God in everything we do, and leading your children to do so as well.

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