Another popular car rolls off the assembly line. Its shiny paint and gleaming chrome invites us to take a closer look at its many details and qualities. It not only looks sharp, but is equipped with every feature you need to navigate the highways.
Another precious baby arrives in our home. She is tiny and helpless, and yet she comes fully equipped with the “hardware” she needs to go through life. She has been created in God’s image and has everything in place to start developing into the person He wants her to become, with the proper training and teaching.
What is a child born with? What all is included with the “original equipment” package and what is optional? Or, what are the factory “default settings” of a baby? I think all of us that are parents have at times pondered these types of questions, as we have watched our children, from infancy, start responding and interacting with those around them. As we see them becoming aware of themselves and their surroundings, we wonder what they are born with and what they are learning from others.
There are many sources to turn to for information, but it is of utmost importance that we turn to God’s Word and study what He teaches us about children and the correct way to raise them, since it is He after all that created them...
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen 1:26-27)
From these verses we clearly see that we are created in God’s image. Other scriptures also testify to this: Eph 2:10; Act 17:28-29; and 1Co 11:7.
How are we created in the image of God?
- We are intelligent beings—we are the only part of God’s creation that can think rationally and communicate intelligent thoughts and ideas.
- We are emotional—nothing else God created is emotional in the sense that humans are.
- We have a will—none of God’s other creation is given the kind of intelligent free will that man has.
Furthermore, our children are not just a result of passing on our genetics. As human beings created by God in His image, our children come with the traits and characteristics that He has chosen for them. He has specifically designed each one to fill a vital role in His kingdom.
Secondly, our children are also born with a sin nature. As Paul states in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world, and so death passed upon all man, for that all have sinned.” For additional references that give teaching on this idea, see: 1Cor 15:21-22; 1John 1:8-10; & Rom 3:23.
Our children will not tend toward better and better behavior if left to themselves, as the humanists so fondly propose. They are born fleshly and will often allow their selfish desires to lead their behavior if not properly trained. Proverbs 22:15 states, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
Do you teach your child to hoard his toys, run around the house pulling books off the shelves, hit other children, or throw food at mealtimes? Or does his sin nature and in-born carnality lead him into such behavior? Does his ignorance of the consequences of certain actions allow him to move forward in ways that will be potentially hurtful or harmful to himself or others? If there is any doubt in your mind concerning the need for parental direction, look up the following verses and give them thoughtful consideration: Prov 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13, 29:15 & , 29:17.
Besides these two basic characteristics—the imprint of God, and a struggle with carnality—we should consider some other important characteristics native to children.
Children are born with the ability to love and the desire to be loved. What parent has not felt the clinging arms of an infant or heard the words “I love you” whispered by a young child? One of the central themes of the Bible is God’s love for man and His desire that man would love and obey Him in return. We are created to receive and give love. If this were not the case, God’s love would be meaningless to humankind. “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1Jn 4:19)
Children are born with the need to look up to someone with respect and admiration, hopefully their parents. What child, too young to know better, has not said with honest faith, “My Dad can do anything”? Every child looks at their parents as tremendously capable (often more capable than they really are). In a way, children are born with a desire to idolize someone. This is key, because God wants that in-born desire of idolizing and worshiping someone or something, to be directed to Himself.
Every child comes preset to learn and to want to know. As we know, with all abilities there is a varying degree of correct usage, but the abilities are there nonetheless. We cannot imagine what it would be like to not be able to learn, because so much of our lives consists of learning. The Bible is full of commands on learning about God’s ways and learning to become like Christ. Without the ability to learn, these would all be meaningless.
Every child is born with a desire to please. This desire is a real motivating factor in a child’s life. While there are times that parents wish their child was more willing to please them, and it seems like this ability is weak, it is still there and motivates the child. A child generally wants their parents to be happy with them. If a child senses that something is wrong between them and a parent, even if they don’t know the reason, it will naturally make them sad as well. God has given our children a desire to please us so that as they learn to know and love God, they will also want to please Him.
There are many other aspects that we could consider, but hopefully as we look at some of “what our child is born with,” it will cause us to stop and think about the seriousness of the responsibility that God has entrusted to us. He has given us the solemn charge to mold and train these little ones in His ways. May God give us wisdom to train up our children in the way they should go, as we endeavor to teach and train them to grow up to love God and follow the footsteps of Jesus.
Used by permission from pilgrimministry.org