You should know that I really wanted to wait until all our children were grown before I wrote this book. Maybe then (if they all turn out well) you would view me as an expert on the subject of child rearing. But I decided I could not wait that long. I need this book now. You see, this is an examination and explanation of another book, the best one ever written on the subject of raising children, God’s Guidebook for Child Rearing, the Bible.
When I began this study each of our four sons was on a different educational level--one in college, one in high school, one in junior high, and one in elementary school. My wife and I began to realize how rapidly time flies and how little we have left in which to influence their lives. We decided that we need a more thorough understanding and a more consistent application of God’s rules for successful child rearing now so that our kids will turn out right. And so this book! The study has made a tremendous difference in our home life. It is our prayer that it will be every bit as helpful to yours.
But I must be quick to add, we are a long way from being perfect. And reading this book isn’t going to transform you into a perfect parent overnight either. God’s principles must be put into practice. As we come into an understanding of his Word we must obey it, and this will require some changes in our way of thinking and way of living. As the Lord shows you things that need to be changed, jot them down. Ask him to give you the commitment and the courage to do something about them. You will be tempted to continue to do things the same way you have always done them. It’s the easiest way to go. It takes a deep desire and dogged determination to change. But God is in the business of building that kind of motivation into the lives of those who want it and seek it. “For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants” (Phil. 2:13, TLB).
That presupposes, of course, that the Spirit of the living Christ does dwell in your life. The Bible says he lives in the life of every true Christian, you know. “And remember that if anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ living in him, he is not a Christian at all” (Rom. 8:9b, TLB). This is a book for Christian parents who want to establish a truly Christian home.
Maybe that term “Christian home” demands a word of explanation. It isn’t necessarily a home where a picture of Jesus hangs on the wall and a family Bible lies on the coffee table. It isn’t even a home where grace is always said before meals and the family members attend church regularly, as valuable as those things are. It is a home where folks have acknowledged their sinfulness and have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior from the guilt and penalty of sin. Or as Jesus put it, they have been born again (John 3:3, 7). They have received the gift of eternal life by faith in him (John 3:16), and the love of God now fills and remodels their lives (Rom. 5:5).
For Christian parents seeking to establish a Christian home, divine direction and supernatural help are available. The Bible provides the guidance and the Holy Spirit supplies the strength. If our minds are open to his Word and our wills are submissive to his control, there are joyous days ahead for our families. So if these issues are settled, we’re ready to get on with our study.