Not Departing

Theo Luciano
5 min readSep 5, 2023
Photo by Lili Popper on Unsplash

My parents did a great job living out Proverbs 22:6:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Papa faithfully got up with us each weekday morning to peruse the Word, discuss our questions, and talk through recent sermons at church. Mama thoughtfully wove Christ into our homeschool curriculum and faithfully exemplified many Godly character qualities as she managed the pack of rowdy younglings.

They did (and still do) just about everything they could to apply this verse to how they raised their family. They echo John’s sentiment when he says:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

3 John 4 ESV

As I look back on my formative years, I am grateful. But I have also begun to realize something more and more as I grow older.

As I’ve become an adult and more and more cease to rely on my parents for their direct administration of the Scriptures in my life, I see how much of a change it is.

I thought I knew so much about faith, the Bible, God, and how to live a holy and righteous life according to God’s calling. Yet it’s now that I am wrestling with who God wants me to be. I know the Bible is true, I know God loves me, and that Jesus died for my sins.

But who am I called to be?

And why is it so hard to do the right thing so much of the time?

I look back at all the verses I memorized, the Bible stories I know by heart, the intricate details I can recall that few others can, and the church sermons that still live in my mind. These things can help us both know about God and actually know God, but there is a massive gap between the two.

Anyone can know about God.

But only believers really know God; and if they know God, God knows them.

Knowing God is what comes after being trained up in the way you should go. Truly, it must come. For being taught the right things is not enough to truly live for Jesus.

Often these days, I encounter something that presents a moral dilemma and I think to myself, “How would I handle this?” Fairly quickly, I can answer that question with a logical moral solution.

But when I try to answer the question “What does the Bible say about this situation?”, which is really the question of importance, that’s when I’m forced to realize that there are a lot of areas I don’t have a solid biblical answer for, from my own conviction as given by God from His Word.

The life of a Christian is one of faith and belief. You should never believe something simply because you’ve been taught it your whole life. That’s a very shaky foundation. What happens when one piece of that belief is challenged and you realize your belief is just knowledge that has been masquerading as faith? I believe many young people who grew up in Christian homes are disillusioned when they realize there are questions about life that their upbringing did not completely prepare them to answer. Instead of seeking God more deeply and finding the answers to their questions, they throw in the towel and blame their upbringing for ruining their lives. They’ve come to a crucial fork in the road, and sadly, many have chosen the wrong path.

I’m reading a book right now called Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. It’s about a Muslim man (Nabeel Qureshi) whose world comes crashing down when he realizes the case for Christ is far more compelling than his parents taught him. Honestly, I don’t know if “his world came crashing down” is the right way to describe it, since this resulted in the man coming to know Jesus as His Savior, which is the greatest thing that could happen. But you know what I mean.

Part of the reason Nabeel came to know Christ was because He realized his Muslim faith was built on misconceptions and lies. These had been passed down as facts through generations. When he went to college and met a Christian named David who really knew the Lord in a deep way, everything Nabeel knew crumbled as his go-to Christian criticisms were shot down one by one. He had relied only on knowledge from his upbringing to carry him through, and when that failed, his whole worldview failed.

I’m not contradicting Proverbs 22, but rather noting that the process must continue. I think an important piece is that when it no longer is the parent’s responsibility to do the training anymore, it is the child-turned-adults responsibility.

Training up a child in the way they should go does not only entail teaching them the right things, but also teaching them how to teach themselves, and then others when the time comes.

Teach your children to love the Scriptures for themselves.

Teach your children to not be afraid of being challenged but instead welcome it as an opportunity to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12–13).

Teach your children to be prepared to give a defense for the hope that is within them (1 Peter 3:15).

As is the case with any subject, one must continue to deepen their understanding of Christ to grow their relationship with Him.

For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:13 ESV

The “training up” spoken of in Proverbs 22 may not extend beyond what Hebrews 5 describes as “milk”. I would say my parents' training did extend beyond that, but it is not good enough to rely on that training to answer the questions that arise before me in this new chapter of life.

Now, I must continue to train up myself in the way I should go, leaning on Christ and those that He has placed in my life so that I may know my Savior as my friend. May you do the same, with God’s help.



Theo Luciano

Design @ RoleModel Software and a myriad of other things // John 14:6