All across this great nation of ours during this time of year many high school and university level seniors will be graduating and receiving their diplomas.  Just yesterday one of our very own, Jenny Ferguson, graduated with a degree in psychology from Eastern Illinois University.  Although this is the culmination of many years of hard work, it is not really an ending at all, but a beginning, or a commencement for the next stage in this journey through life.  As this pilgrimage continues, let's keep in mind some biblical concepts to help us all along this road we call life.

Developing a relationship with God.  The Christian parents' chief aim in raising their children is to see that they know the true and living God through developing faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.  "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent."  (John 17:3)  Where is the real value of having our children graduate with honors from a prestigious and reputable school if they do not even know the Lord?  God's grace should impart to us the necessity of our praying for them, our teaching them, and our loving them in order to guide them to their own salvation in Christ (Philippians 2:12).  They must be shown how to walk in holiness in obedience to His will.  As the prophet of old said, "He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  (Micah 6:8)

Developing a relationship with one's family.  Far more important than teaching any academic subjects (although by no means need it be an either/or situation) is training a young person how to properly function within a family unit.  This means teaching the practical lessons of honoring father and mother as espoused by Paul in Ephesians 6:1-3.  It also means preparing our sons to be a husband and a father themselves and our daughters to be a wife and mother.  Our children are not adequately prepared for life until they have the training necessary for them to take a spouse and start a family.  They need to understand how to love and respect a spouse, how to set up a household and budget their resources, and how to bear children and train them properly.  Life preparation for Christian families ought to be a priority.

Developing ourselves spiritually.  Many of us have had to learn the hard way that growing in our walk with God doesn't just happen.  It takes discipline as well as constant application.  Parents are commanded to raise their children properly.  They ought to train their children, then, to spend daily devotional time with the Lord, to study the Bible, and to pray.  They should teach them how to apply God's Word to their own lives.  They should train them in the development of Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-7).  Parents who themselves walk with the Lord should take their children along with them on that walk.  Our children need to learn how to abide in Christ!

May God bless you along your journey through life!

David Ferguson