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Teaching Children a Healthy Fear of God

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
If your daily schedule is crowding out family devotions you can simplify and reach your goals.

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Are you intimidated at the thought of working yet another task into your packed daily schedule? In Article #13 of a 20-part series on family devotions, Dr. Dunlap continues a discussion of thirteen vital life principles that parents can teach children as they go about their daily routines. He offers suggestions on how to teach sons and daughters principles such as the Loyalty Principle, the Stewardship Principle, and the Fear of God Principle.

The Prayer Principle is the tenth principle in our continuing list. It defines prayer as the means by which we conduct vital communication with God. Parents must teach their children that God delights in responding to our prayers. He wants His children to tell Him their hearts’ desires. Children should grasp the truth that “they have not because they ask not, and they ask and do not receive because they ask amiss.”

It is a good idea to help children memorize Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”

Challenge children to maintain an attitude of prayer—to pray without ceasing.

Parents should lead children to understand the truth that God does not always answer our prayers in the way we want Him to. He knows what is best for each one of us, and He sometimes answers “no” to our requests.

Children must learn from an early age to seek God’s face more earnestly than they seek His hand. They will learn a valuable truth about joy and peace if they learn to love God more than they love what He can do for them.

The eleventh principle is the Fear of God Principle and it states that Christians ought to acknowledge and revere God’s holiness. The Bible calls this the fear of God. We read in Proverbs 22:4,

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.

When our children learn to fear God with a holy reverence, they begin to acquire godly wisdom—a pursuit far more important than the acquisition of knowledge alone.

Principle #12 is the Independent Research Principle, which assures us that God has invited us to explore His universe and we should be diligent to do it. Parents should warn children, however, that they should not learn the details of evil. God does not want us to “know evil” with our minds. Mothers and fathers should teach children, instead, to discern evil in their spirits. We find this warning in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Avoid every kind of evil.”

Parents should tell their children that sons and daughters are “living epistles, known and read by all men.”

The final principle is the Lab Journal Principle. It is a good idea to encourage children to record ideas and discoveries so that they can draw biblical applications from their life experiences. They should then use their journals as a basis to help other people grow in Christ Jesus. The words of 2 Timothy 2:2 are a marvelous challenge:

The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.



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