Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper – February 17th, 2023

By February 17, 2023 No Comments

Friday, February 17th

6 Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

– Proverbs 22:6

Proverbs 22 tells us that if we intentionally train a child up in the way he should go, even when he or she grows old, he will not depart from this training! Now when we’re reading the proverbs, we have to be careful to remember that the Proverbs are principles, not promises. 

Essentially, they are principles that we apply to our lives, but they are not promises by which we root our lives. We cannot guarantee that what is spoken in each proverb will happen every time, unlike a promise of God, which we know for sure will come to pass.

I’m sure you know a family or you are the family that has “trained up a child in the way he should go”, only to see that child depart and rebel from your intentional teaching and coaching. Thus, this is an important reminder that while we read the bible literally, we also read it literarily. What I mean by that is that we must take into account the genre of the literature we are reading in order to determine our interpretation. For example, you will interpret a love letter to your spouse differently than instructions on how to make a key-lime pie. The type of communication determines how we read it.

So, we “train up a child in the way he should go” as a principle that we apply our lives to. So how do we train a child? Here is a way to think about this, the analogy of a trail guide. Dr. Mark Yarhouse says it this way,

We have found the analogy of hiking helpful to describe coming alongside teens, whether you are a parent, a friend, or serving in formal youth ministry. When hiking, there is no shortage of challenges that can arise. Youth are navigating difficult terrain. A trail guide aids in making difficult terrain less daunting, expecially when it is full of twists and turns and moments where even the guide seems lost. 

A guide is patient, gentle, and oriented toward helping the one they guide take in the beauty all around them, even at the parts of the trail that are particularly difficult. 

A guide narrates what is seen but does not obstruct the view or manipulate what those they guide look at. They are there to point out aspects of the view that might be less visible and to broaden people’s understanding of what they are seeing on the trek. 

The guide may provide tools that will be helpful, such as a map or a compass, but they can also tolerate when the person being guided refuses to use these tools. They know good spots to stop and rest, are able to identify the fatigue of the hiker, and are willing to pause and rest for the sake of others even if they feel personally equipped to forge ahead. 

So today, consider what it would look like to be a “trail guide” for your kids. How would this change your approach? As you train them up in the way they should go, you are guiding them down the path that we call life in order that they would Love God. Love People. Live Sent.


Our Father,

Thank you for your Word. We pray that by your Spirit, Proverbs 22:6 would change us into the likeness of Christ. We ask for your help in training up the next generation. May with be Spirit-led trail guides that do what it takes to love and disciple the next generation. Father, we pray this now through The Son and By the Spirit. Amen.

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