OceanSide church of Christ
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WHAT KIND OF CHILD ARE YOU?
Victor M. Eskew
It is God who blesses parents with children. “Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Ps. 127:3). However, God gives each child the unique ability to choose and decide for himself. We usually refer to this ability as free moral agency. It is the exercise of this gift that determines what a child becomes. Some choose wisely; others choose foolishly.
Let’s look at some of the different types of children that exist within our society. One category of children is GOOD CHILDREN. These children usually abide by the instructions of the wise Solomon found in Proverbs 1:7-10.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise
wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father,
and forsake not the law of thy mother….My son, if sinners entice thee,
consent thou not.”
Good children honor the God of heaven. They seek to abide by the rules of their parents. They choose their friend wisely. These decisions bring peace and prosperity to their lives. These children are seen as assets to their home, their community, and their church. These children are following in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ for He was subject to his parents (Luke 2:51) and “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
Another category of children is the exact opposite of the one just discussed. These are EVIL CHILDREN. These children are not governed by divine law, nor are they controlled by their parents. They live lives of “pleasure” and carnality. Their associates are just as corrupt as they are. These children are an embarrassment to parents who seek to do God’s will. A picture of this type of child is found in I Samuel 212. “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.” Evil children are not very productive. Most of the time, they are in trouble with authority figures. They engage in many types of harmful behaviors, some that involve high-risk and others that are sinful. The hearts of these young people are diseased. Jesus spoke of their heart condition in Matthew 15:18-20.
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the
heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts
murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these
are the things which defile a man…”
These young people need to repent of their stubbornness, rebellion, and sin. If they do not they will perish (Luke 13:3, 5).
A third category of child is the HYPOCRITICAL CHILD. The word “hypocrite” comes from a Greek word that means “stage player.” An actor is one person while performing on stage and another person in real life. There are some children who are actors and actresses. In front of their parents, teachers, and religious leaders, they are one person. In real life, they are someone else. When away from those who “matter,” these children engage in all types of lewdness, evil, and sin. Their “act” around others enables them to have the freedom to engage in their vile behavior when they are with their worldly friends. These are the children who stun their parents when their evil behavior is made known. These children surprise school officials when their wickedness is brought to light. Jesus condemned such behavior in the scribes and Pharisees. Eight times Jesus pronounced a woe upon them in Matthew 23. Matthew 23:27-28 presents a vivid picture of hypocrisy.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto
whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are with-
in full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also
appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and
These children hide their real selves from men, but not from God (Prov. 5:21). In their eyes they are righteous (Prov. 30:11-14), but they are not. One day, their sin will find them out (Num. 32:23)
A fourth category of children is the PRODIGAL CHILD. Jesus describes this child in Luke 15:11-24. This child rebels against his home and departs. He wastes his substance in riotous living (Luke 15:13). He begins to be in want (Luke 15:14). He feeds the swine (Luke 15:15), “and he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat…” (Luke 15:17). However, the prodigal does not remain in his lost condition. He comes to himself (Luke 15;17), and returns to his father, saying: “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son” (Luke 15:21). Here, we see a penitent heart. Here, a child is humbled before his father. His good heart and humility enabled him to be restored to a position of honor in his father’s house. “But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet” (Luke 15:22). There are many prodigals within the church today. Some are still in the far off country. Others have returned. Those who have come back could tell some tales. They were lost, but are now found. They rejoice because they came to themselves and found mercy before their parents and the God of heaven.
A final category of children is GOD’S CHILD. This child has been born again and is now in the family of God (John 3:3-5). This child knows that his Father is the God of heaven (Rom. 8:15; I John 3:1). He realizes that it is his responsibility to live as a child of the King (Col. 3:1-3). He knows that this world is not his home (Col. 3:20). He worships and serves and sacrifices for his Lord every day of his life. He longs for the day when he can be with his Father in the heavenly realm.
The question that now comes is the one that titles this article: “What kind of child are you?” If you are good, persist in your
goodness. Remember, however, that
your goodness alone will never save you.
It, alone, will not make you a child of God. If you are evil, we exhort you to repent
and seek the Father above. If you
are hypocritical, you, too, need to repent. You are not fooling God. If you are a prodigal who is still far
from your father’s house, we pray that you come to yourself and return
soon. If you are a prodigal who has
already come home, rejoice. Use
your experiences to assist other prodigals. If you are a child of God, live like
it. Your Father is longing to see you on the other side of