In my personal devotional this morning the Lord led me to Ephesians 6. As I was reading, a verse of scripture hit me to the point where I wanted to do some further study. Here’s what I found...
Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Pretty clear of what our job is as parents (particularly, us fathers reading this). Truth be told, I love to provoke my kids. LOVE IT! I give them so much sass and instigate a lot of teasing, but the deal is this…they 100% deserve it, and they give it back, 10 fold.
We have a lot of fun as a family…but this verse also brings me back to a recent memory of clothes shopping with our kids last week. We were at a store, and a husband and wife (with 3 kids) were in a disagreement. They were yelling, loudly, a lot of profanity and a lot of anger, in the middle of the store! The husband (I’m guessing they are married, maybe not, but definitely parents) walked away, and the mom, in her frustration, started yelling and taking her frustation out on her kids…using a loud angry voice and with words that are just unfortunate for little ones to have to hear or have directed to.
I sat with a friend last week and he shared a story of how someone in his life is apprehensive to go to church anymore, because the dad she had on Sunday at church, wasn’t the dad she had behind the scenes Monday-Saturday. The hypocrisy actually turned her away from church and God, even though they went every Sunday morning as a child.
Parents, we are examples. Right or wrong, good or bad…we are our kids examples. What are we showcasing? When they look at us, do they see an example of the Christian life, or do they see something different?
The above verse says “…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”. Is that our priority? Bringing our kids up intentionally with their spiritual salvation and development as a priority. The Bible teaches that this is our job. More important than our 9-5, our ministry at our church, social status and the list goes on.
It is our responsibility to raise our kids in a way that prepares them to fulfill God’s purposes in their lives.
Not always going to get it right 100% of the time. I know I’ve failed on occasion, but if that is our heart, our desire and our goal... to raise our kids to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and we do our best to set that example, the blessings of a Godly life in our kids will be our reward.
Lastly, pray for them…always and often! If we don't, who will?