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Successful Child Training | Charles E. Orr

Spiritual Training

The moral life is beautiful, but there is a higher and more beautiful life. In the true, deep spiritual life is found the highest degree of morality. However, we may train our children into a high standard of moral life, and yet not attain to the spiritual. Some atheists maintain a very high standard of moral conduct. Ancient heathen philosophers through restraint, self-sacrifice, and force of will attained to beautiful moral lives. But the spiritual life, which is the only sure source of moral life, is the perfection of beauty. The life out of which Christ shines is the grandest and noblest upon the earth.

Parents, bring your children to Jesus. Bring up your children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,”* (Ephesians 6:4) as commanded in the Holy Scriptures. Your child possesses an immortal soul. This soul will exist either in happiness or wretchedness eternally. It is so ordained in the plan of redemption that the soul can receive the spiritual life of God, which, if retained, insures its eternal bliss. He who has attained to a high degree of morality through the force of human will, holds communion only with the better qualities of manhood, all of which must perish. He who has attained to spirituality holds communion with God and heavenly things. He does not trust to human powers, but in the power of the Divine life.

Morality will not admit us into the paradise above. We must possess spiritual life—the life of Christ. It is well to train our children in the way of good morals, but we must lead them into the spiritual life to aid in the moral training. Relatively few parents have accomplished any great results in the moral training of their children without divine assistance. The inward tendency to immorality makes it impossible to educate them to a true and perfect standard of morality without God’s aid. Children should be taught what sin is, and of God’s judgments against it. Seek God’s face and be coworkers with Him for the conversion of your children.

When our children are brought into a Christian experience, the victory is only partly won—life lies before them with its temptations. Many are the allurements to turn those young feet into worldly paths. We have witnessed the bright, happy conversion of many children. We have seen their countenances beaming with the light and joy of Christian love, and heard their voices ring with spiritual praise—only to soon yield to the influence of the world and lose that sincere devotion to God. This is not the inevitable course, thank God, but it is the course of many. To teach our children the fear of God and enable them to retain in their hearts a deep reverence and devotion to Him has been a subject of much prayer with us. We find that the Christian life is a warfare. There are temptations to be resisted, there are watchings and prayings, there must be a constant looking upward to God for His aid and direction.

One trouble with many parents has been that as soon as their children were converted they seemed to think the battle was over and the victory was won, when really the battle was only begun. The first thing necessary in keeping our budding “olive plants” in deep spirituality is to keep our own spiritual life vibrant. Whatever means are necessary to promote a growth of spirituality in our hearts, the same means are necessary to develop and deepen the spiritual life of our children.

A habitual effort to cultivate a deeper sense of the divine Presence is essential, and one of the most beautiful employments of the sanctified heart. Those reverential feelings toward God must daily become stronger. Those inmost affections of the soul must reach out with greater yearnings and deeper longings toward the Holy One. Our love towards our fellow men must become stronger and more true.

O beloved, if you would have your child to grow up into a beautiful Christian character, you must teach him to suppress every selfish feeling, to banish every idle, careless thought, and to resist all temptations to envy or impatience. The purest of meditations must be entertained. We and they must be strictly disciplined by the sacred Scriptures—“Watch and pray.”* (Matthew 26:41) Spiritual prayer unfolds the life into the beautiful life of God, as the bud unfolds into the blooming rose.