A Father's Greatest Call (Part II)
We concluded in our last newsletter with Ephesians 6:4. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Amp.). The King James says “bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.” “Nurture” means education or training; disciplinary correction. “Admonition” means calling attention to; mild rebuke or warning. Obviously, our children should be given instruction. If they don’t follow the parent’s direction, there should be a mild rebuke or warning. If the child continues to disobey, what do we do?
I stand amazed that many children are telling their parents what to do rather than the parents instructing the children. I observe parents asking their children to stop doing a certain thing, and the child does not obey. The parent corrects them again, and the child disobeys the second time. The parent eventually allows them to do what they will. Why are parents not disciplining as the Scripture says? Some people are fearful that if someone reports them spanking a child that they may have the child taken away from them. Society has called spankings abusive. If spankings are too harsh; of course, it could be abusive. …But I am concerned about generations of children that are becoming rebellious to not only their parent(s) but to any type of authority, including God Himself. Other parents are just lazy. They don’t want to deal with their children.
The Bible is very clear in these areas of raising children. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline [correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness] will remove it far from him” (Prov. 22:15 Amp.) So how is foolishness removed from our children? …Through discipline. The Bible says in James 1: 5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Parents need to be asking God for wisdom in raising their children and then obey His instruction to us. Again, parenting our children is our greatest call in ministry.
“Do not withhold discipline from the child; If you swat him with a reed-like rod [applied with godly wisdom], he will not die. You shall swat him with the reed-like rod and rescue his life from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead)” (Prov. 23:13&14). Disciplining our children may keep them from going to hell. If children don’t learn to obey their parents, it might be that they will not obey God or His Word of instruction. We are all born again by the Incorruptible Word of God; the Bible; the Word of instruction (1 Pet. 1:23).
Proverbs 29:15 Amp. says, “The rod and reproof (godly instruction) give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.” “Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; yes, he will delight your soul” (Prov. 29:17 Amp.) We have seen how that Godly discipline is best for our children, but look at the positive effects that it will have on the parents. It will allow the parents to enjoy comfort, have delight of the soul, and freedom from shame.
We read in Proverbs 22:6 Amp., “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” “Godly wisdom” comes from God’s Word. We must teach our children the Bible and show them how it applies to their lives. Also, when parents see that there are special talents in their child, they should nurture that gifting in them in every way possible. When we take our children to church to learn of the Lord and also train them at home of Him, we have a promise that they will not depart.
I believe that we can all see the mandate from God in training our children in the way of the Lord and the need for disciplining, as needed. Society may frown on swatting our children with a switch or paddle, but as Peter said in Acts 5:29 Amp., “…We must obey God rather than men [we have no other choice].”