“And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.”
There is nothing like holding a newborn child. There is so much hope in that little child. The innocence of the child has not been marred by sin. The hope for the child has not been hindered by a wrong association. The child’s future is as bright as it will ever be when it is first born.
However, the hope of the child often depends on the parents. When John the Baptist was born, everyone knew there was something different about this child. They said about John, “What manner of child shall this be!” This was not a question; rather, it was an emphatic statement that these people knew there was something different about this child and what he would do for the LORD.
However, the hope of the child truly depended on the spirituality of his parents. Imagine if Zacharias and Elisabeth chose to live like the world. Most likely, John the Baptist would never have become the great preacher that he became. The manner of the child was dependent upon the way the parents reared the child. If you want the hope of your child to continue to stay bright, there are some things you must do to keep that hope life.
First, you must obey the LORD. The one thing very evident about John the Baptist’s parents was that they were obedient to how they were to rear their child. Don’t expect your children to walk in the ways of the LORD when you are disobeying those ways in your own life. The greatest example a child has on how to live is displayed in the parent’s life. What example are you giving your children?
Second, you must let the child grow. It says in verse 80, “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit.” This would have never happened had John’s parents coddled him. You cannot coddle your child and expect them to be ready for life’s hardships. The best thing a parent can do to ready their child for life is to help them work their way through the hardships they face instead of coddling them and teaching them that they can run from their problems. Coddling your child teaches them that they can run from their problems which only hurts them when they have to face life on their own.
Third, you must be filled with the Holy Ghost. The best way to keep the hope of a child alive is for you to be filled with the Holy Ghost so that you will know how to train the child. The Spirit-filled parent will find more answers to train their children than they ever will in child-rearing books filled with worldly philosophy.
Fourth, you must point the child to the ways of the LORD. John’s parents were not sideline believers; rather, they were involved in serving the LORD. The greatest way you can show your child how to serve the LORD is to get involved in serving the LORD yourself. It is hard to show your children the ways of the LORD when you are watching those ways from the sidelines.
Fifth, you must help the child discover God’s purpose for their life. The best way to keep the hope of your child alive is to let them become who the LORD intended for them to become. You will find the greatest joy from your child’s life will come if you will let them live in the purpose for why He created them.