FROM THE YOUTH UP
by Wayne S. Walker
"For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth" (Psalm 71:5). Youth is a time of growing and learning the skills, both physical and mental, that will be needed for life as an adult. The purpose of life here on this earth is to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Therefore, one of the reasons that God gave children parents is so that the parents can train the children in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6). The primary goal of this training should be that children will look to God as their trust from their youth. Whatever else may be said about the "rich, young ruler," Jesus gave no criticism or condemnation when the young man said, "All these things I have kept from my youth," but rather "looking at him, loved him" (Mark 10:20-21)
Parents are told to take the words of God, especially about loving Him with all our heart, soul, and strength, and "teach them diligently to your children" (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Parents need to act in such a way that they will encourage their children to "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth" (Ecclesiastes 12:1). There is nothing so sad as children who are raised without knowing the Lord. At the same time, there is nothing so wretched as a child whose parents have lovingly taught him God’s word, taken him faithfully to church services, and provided a wonderful example of godliness, but who grows up to say, "My parents crammed their religion down my throat, and I don’t want to have anything to do with it!" That is the height of ingratitude.
Of course, not all people have had the privilege of being raised in homes where they have been taught God’s word. However, many great men and women have overcome such spiritual handicaps. Each individual simply must start where he is and come to the Lord from there. However, living for Christ and serving Him are in many respects much easier when one has been taught to do so in youth by parents because there are far fewer regrets later in life. Parents, we have an obligation to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). And when children obey the Lord, they in turn honor righteous parents (Ephesians 6:2). God is pleased and glorified when children learn to trust Him from the youth up.