He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24
Love carefully disciplines; apathy silently ignores. Love looks for ways to instruct and improve, while busyness has no time for a tender touch of truth. Do you take the time to discipline your children? Do your offspring encounter your rebuke along with your encouragement? Because we love them, we correct their attitudes and challenge them to better behavior. Rules restrain them from reacting foolishly or in the flesh.
How can our children learn to make wise decisions if we do not discipline them to love and obey God? Like a skilled artist with a warm lump of clay, our children are mold-able, and their character is pliable in Christ’s hands. We seek consistency in our own character so we have the moral authority and respect to lead them. Your children’s first impression of the Lord is their father and mother; so be an authority who reveals His love.
“The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness” (Isaiah 38:19).
The branch of a tree is easily bent when it is tender; so start when they are young with yielding to Christ’s lordship. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Foolishness flees from faith and the prayerful punishment of loving parents. “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). Discipline leads to freedom.
You may lament the need for respect from your son or daughter. It is your consistent concern for your children’s character growth that invites their respect. “Fathers … disciplined us and we respected them for it” (Hebrews 12:9). Moreover, loving parents honestly inquire, “How do I respond to the Lord’s discipline?” My example of growth from my heavenly Father’s discipline makes me an earthly father worth following.
“For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:12 nasb).
Prayer: What area of my child’s growth requires me to be more consistent in discipline?
Related Readings: Proverbs 23:13–14; 29:15–17; Hebrews 12:6–8; Ephesians 6:4
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© 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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