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Straight Paths:
Preparation for Parenthood
Let’s consider John the Baptist’s message from Matthew 3: “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”
John the Baptist’s message was, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” and “Prepare ye the way for the Lord.” There is a similar message for you as new parents, while you are preparing to parent a child. Think of it like this: pregnancy is for parents what John The Baptist was for Jesus; it is preaching repentance, “Prepare ye the way to be parents!” It is a time to really seek God and prepare to be parents. There will be someone following in your steps, so it is time to root out sin. Prepare ye the way in your hearts most of all. Set straight paths for the child’s feet. Seek God daily now to prepare these straight paths!
1. Some warnings from Jesus:

In Luke 17:2 it says that it would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around our neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

It is better for you to have a millstone tied round your neck and to be thrown into the heart of the sea than to cause a little one to sin. Are there sinful habits in your life now that would affect a little one in your life? Now is the time to repent. Before you sow that sin in them!

In Luke 18:16, Jesus called little children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,”

Do not hinder them. Check your heart and life for hindrances to setting small children on the straight path. You must have your heart and life aligned with the word of God first before you can direct your children in His ways. Your children will call out your hypocrisy, for as the old saying goes, “you teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are.”

In Heb 12:12-13, we read, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”

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We want to set straight paths for our children, not disable them. It is time to prepare ye the way, check your heart, check your ways. Take care of issues now. They will be sown into your children. We read in Mark 9:43, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.” That’s a stern warning about sin. We are reproduced in our children. More than just passing on eye color and hair color, we pass on a spiritual inheritance.
2. Check for “spiritual poisons:
Do you know what listeria is? It is the potential pathogen in unpasteurized cheese and undercooked meat that could infect your baby. Well, there are spiritual poisons that are worse than that – they will do more than just kill the body, which is temporary, but can hurt the eternal soul.These things are even worse than listeria! Matthew 10:28 says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” “Do not fear what can only kill the body… The soul is of greater import!

One of these “poisons” is worldliness. Worldliness has killed and maimed many a soul. They are lost at a time when they should have been entering greater usefulness to God, entering adulthood and independence. J. C. Ryle writes, “The last day alone will prove how many souls “the world” has slain. Hundreds will be found to have been trained in Christian homes, and to have known the Gospel from their very childhood, and yet missed heaven. They left the harbor of home with bright prospects, and launched forth on the ocean of life with a father, blessing and a mother, prayers, and then turned from the right course through the seductions of the world, and ended their voyage on the reef and in misery. It is a sorrowful story to tell; but it is all too common!”(1)

In Luke 4:5-8 we read: “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours, 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

We see that worldliness is devil worship. Satan would give the Lord the splender of the world – it was his to give. And it would come at the cost of worshiping Satan. It is the devil’s glitz and glamour. God hates it. Rather, value what God values.

3. What does God value?
Not outward appearance but the heart. 1 Sam 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” In 1 Peter 3:3-5 we read what true beauty is about – it is not external things or decorations, but the character and spirit of the person: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.”
4. Directions for mothers:
1 Tim 2:15 says, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” This is a conditional promise: “IF.” “If they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety.” The promise requires CONTINUANCE in these things. Childbearing and childrearing have the potential to be sanctifying for you and your children, but it requires continuance in these characteristics. We read in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Your life and doctrine will effect your child for the rest of his life, and into eternity if it aligns with God’s word. “Watch your life and doctrine closely, AND persevere in them”… THEN IF you do, “you will save both yourself and your hearers.” You demonstrate by your perseverence that you are truly saved.
5. True preparation for parenthood:
This truly how you prepare for becoming parents. It is “John The Baptist” time! Pregnancy is your “John The Baptist” declaring to you that this is the time to prepare the way for the arrival of the baby, not only physical preparation, but preparing yourself to be parents! John’s ministry was preaching repentance. Then came Jesus. By John’s ministry of repentance, people’s hearts were plowed and soft, ready for the message of new birth that would come in Jesus. James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. “Humbly accept the word PLANTED in you…” It can’t get planted unless there is first plowing. Plowing prepares the ground to accept the seed. We get our hearts plowed by repentance, so the seed of the word can enter and save us. Otherwise our hearts are hard path and the enemy steals the word away. Repentance is a necessary prerequisite to the entrance of the word. Jer 4:3-4 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem…” Jer 4:3 speaks of our hearts as ground to be plowed up. It tells us to get rid of thorns. We read in Matt 13:22 that the thorns are worldly cares that choke our faith. Worldliness is an enemy of faith. Get rid of it. Then Jer 4:4 talks about a spiritual circumcision, a circumcision of the heart. It is the heart that matters, not the flesh. That is how we are set apart to God. Cut off the foreskin of worldliness, so to speak. Throw it away. We prepare the nursery, paint the walls, put up jungle animal decals, get matching furniture, etc., all of which the kid doesn’t care about nor does it affect him… We all do this. It is proper to prepare. Bu it isn’t “the one thing needful.” The kid being wicked or righteous is entirely unaffected by the jungle animal wall theme. Really. A greater way to prepare is to prepare to become parents.
6. Some other questions to ask yourself:
How do you cope when you are stretched? What do you turn to? What guides your mind? Do you get emotional? Do you neglect prayer? Do you call your mom? Do you get impatient or moody? You will get stretched in parenthood. 1 Sam 23:15-17 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. 16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” he said…. We read of a time when David was stretched. Then his friend helped him find strength in God. Help each other find strength in God. Don’t give in to fleshly or earthly fears. Be rooted in the word of God. In light of this, check your foundations for living: is it the empty way of life of the flesh, of our twisted culture, of the world? Or is it the word of God? Ask yourself: how seriously are you regulated by the word; how well do you listen? These things get tested. Satan wants to destroy families and he looks for the cracks, the weak spots. We read about the devil’s agenda in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I encourage you to self-examine and cross-examine on an ongoing basis. Prepare ye the way!

1. Ryle, J. C. (1998). The World: A Source of Great Danger to the Soul, Practical Religion.Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust.

© Marie-Celine Farver RN BSN IBCLC RLC 2013

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