Encouraging Our Children

Yesterday morning I preached on what it takes to be a godly father, whether biological or a spiritual father.  It was interesting as I talked to my wife after the service, that I mentioned a few verses in the 8:30 service, but for some reason they were left out in the 11:00 service.  I don’t worry when things like that occur, because I simply trust God to lead me in what to be said during a sermon.  However, there are some important points that can be gleaned from the passages.  Therefore, I wanted to put them here.

The first passage is Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  This verse is directed towards fathers, because we are generally the gruffer of the parents.  We are more authoritarian in our nature.  However, this verse equally applies to mothers are well.  The command to “provoke not your children” refers to displaying your anger towards your child in a way that they believe it is ok to act out in anger in other situations.  Children are parrots in many cases.  They grow up and the emulate what they have seen.  This verse doesn’t mean that you condone everything that they do.  It also doesn’t mean that you do not discipline your children.  Rather this verse tells us to not discipline in anger.  Paul says that we (fathers specifically) should raise our children in a way that trains them in the ways of God.  Our discipline should be modeled after the discipline of God in the life of a believer.  When God disciplines one of His children, it is not done in anger, but it is done out of love.  It is not meant to break us, only to break the sinful attitude or action.  That is our model.  The other verse that builds on this is Colossians 3:21, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”  Have you ever known someone that no matter what you did, it was never good enough for them?  You might try for a while to please them, but the majority of people get to a point in which they just throw up their hands and quit trying.  This is a very sad thing and a very dangerous time in a child’s life if they don’t feel like they have the love and approval of their parents.  Dads, we must be careful on how we talk and interact with our children.  We want to make sure that they understand, even if we do not agree with the decision they made, we will always love them.

So many times we as parents try to make our children perfect.  In doing this it is easy to focus on the things that our children do wrong.  But how many times do we notice and praise them for what they have done right?  We spend so much time trying to “fix” our children so that people will like them and accept them that we forget the people that our children want to love them and accept them are us, their parents.  Yes we need to discipline and correct sinful attitudes and actions in our children.  We do so because we love them.  But we also need to praise them for the good they do as well, lest they become discouraged.

By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him

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