Matters of Faith: Programmed For Success

PROGRAMMED for Success

by Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.

Proverbs 4:1-9 (‭GNT)‬‬

“My children, listen to what your father teaches you. Pay attention, and you will have understanding. 2 What I am teaching you is good, so remember it all. 3 When I was only a little boy, my parents’ only son, 4 my father would teach me. He would say, “Remember what I say and never forget it. Do as I tell you, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom and insight! Do not forget or ignore what I say. 6 Do not abandon wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will keep you safe. 7 Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do. Whatever else you get, get insight. 8 Love wisdom, and she will make you great. Embrace her,[a] and she will bring you honor. 9 She will be your crowning glory.”

I was thinking the other day about my childhood and how my parents, mostly my mother, would read to me and my siblings at night. Sometimes she would read fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs. At other times, she would read my favorite book, Stanly and the Dinosaur. As I reminisced, I remembered how much love I felt and how much fun it was to have someone read those stories to me, never realizing at the time how much joy those nights would bring to me decades afterward.

During my devotional time this morning, I read, as I do every day, the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month. I had a profound thought while reading: had my parents decided to read those chapters from the book of Proverbs to me instead of those stories and fables, how much more spiritually enriched my life, and the lives of my siblings would have been.

Moses, who is the author of the text, conveys to his readers, that he was once the only child of his parents and his father would teach him. His father would take him aside and enlighten him to the realities of life, the things that he was to avoid and the things he should embrace. I couldn’t help but think what would happen if every father and mother made a committed effort to teach their children, not just the ABC’s, but the ways of the Lord? What would happen in our communities if love was the message that was taught to every child, every day, in every home? Do you think there would be more tolerance, more understanding more acceptance if we were taught from an early age to diligently seek a relationship with the Lord and wisdom? Just imagine the world we would live in if we were taught and warned daily; 14 Do not go where evil people go. Do not follow the example of the wicked. 15 Don’t do it! Keep away from evil! Refuse it and go on your way. 16 Wicked people cannot sleep unless they have done something wrong. They lie awake unless they have hurt someone. 17 Wickedness and violence are like food and drink to them (Proverbs 4:14-17).

In the wake of the of the mass killings in South Carolina, Paris, and now in California, I can’t help but wonder what kind of programming took place in the homes of those who perpetuated those acts. I can’t help but think we could make incidents like these no more than television drama by simply and intentionally teaching our children from infancy the precept taught in Romans 13:8, that we are to “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

It is key to remember that in order to teach our children and our youth that the remedy is unconditional Agape love, we have to learn it first for ourselves!

When we do, we are able to program our children, our youth, and ourselves for success.

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM., or by phone at 626-226-1448.  

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