Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Teaching Children about God's Wisdom...
It's important to teach your child the difference between God's wisdom and man's (the world's) wisdom. We've been looking at highly perceptive children in the past few articles, but this is a subject for all parents and all children.
Children are by nature curious and absorb knowledge from many sources, even sources of which we may not be aware. In fact, you could even think of it as part of a child's job to learn all that he needs to learn in order to grow up to be a happy, faithful, functioning adult.
The Bible commends a thirst for God's wisdom. However, it warns us against being influenced by the world's ways of thinking.
There are many scriptures that help us identify the difference between God's wisdom and the world's wisdom. These also outline the blessings of the former and the unhappy consequences of the latter. As parents, it's good for us to study and meditate about this, both for our own sake and in order to help our children. James 3:13-18 and I Corinthians 1:18-23 are two passages that give us a lot of help in choosing God's wisdom over the world's mindset. Comparing Proverbs with Ecclesiastes is another helpful study. Another idea is to read the Sermon on the Mount, particularly the Beatitudes, and consider how these words stand the world's wisdom on end.
Generally, the world's wisdom places self at the center of life, while God's wisdom focuses on loving and trusting God and loving others. For example, two people can study and write about astronomy. One recognizes and is in awe of God's glory as revealed in his works. Another looks at the wonders of stars, galaxies, and the like and does not see that Someone has created them. He assumes man is the highest intelligence in the universe.
Of course, it is possible for each of these authors to write about this subject objectively, by merely presenting scientific observations. It is more likely, however, that the viewpoint of a speaker will shine through in his or her words. This is true of an author, a teacher, a reporter, or even a child's best friend. Sometimes, this viewpoint is very subtle, but it can have its effect nonetheless.
Even religious matter -- even that which uses some scriptures -- can appeal to man's wisdom rather than God's. In Matthew 16, we read that Peter once got mixed up in that regard. When, in his ignorance and his love, he tried to stop Jesus from going to the cross, the Lord said to him, "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
I think it's interesting that the Bereans were commended for examining the Scriptures so thoroughly to see if what Paul was teaching them was true. Even though Paul was clearly an apostle and even though the Bereans were eager to hear his message, they still ran it through the filter of God's word. Acts 17:10-12. God's word serves as a guide to help us recognize truth.
Of course, we don't need to be paranoid about everything our child hears or sees. There are books and media messages out there that don't promote a certain world view, either unintentionally or intentionally. And, some things are a matter of personal conviction. Romans Chapters 12-14. Neither should we be lax, however. It is a fact that we are all bombarded by the world's message everyday, and we must choose whether or not we will listen to it or to God.
It's good to talk often with children often about their view of life and about the things they are learning and reading. This gives us a chance to help them sort out true wisdom from false. Our goal is to give them the tools to discern for themselves.