Children not obeying their parents has become an increasing problem in today’s society. My question is; are fathers provoking them to the point of discouragement. Dad’s should lead and train them with godly examples, not just rules of control where then never engage with their children.
Colossians 3:20-21 “20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
I chose to put these two seemingly contrasting verses together because they actually go hand in hand. There are several Proverbs that tells us that obedience from a child pleases the Lord, Ps 1:8, 6:20, 7:1, & 23:22. Ephesians 6:1says “Children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right” and in Ephesians 6:3 Paul further states "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth", which is a reflection of the only one of the Ten Commandments that comes with a promise, found in Exodus 20:12 and in Deuteronomy 5:16. There are several examples in the bible of Godly children, Isaac, David, Josiah, Samuel, Esther, John the Baptist, Timothy, and Jesus. I added Jesus because we often forget that He too was a child and growing up under the Law of Moses had to be true to the Law in everything He did. All became great men and woman of God. There is not any evidence where a bad child grew up to become anything great. In the two verses from Paul on children being obedient, the one in Ephesians adds “in the Lord”. This is not to say that if your parents are not Christians you can get by with being disobedient. In Matthew 21:28-31 Jesus tells us of two sons both were given instructions by their father. The first said no, but later regretted his comment and did what the father had asked. The second son said yes to his father’s instructions, but never did what his father requested. In verse 22 of Colossians 3, Paul stated that “obedience should not be with eyeservice, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.” If you are a Christian child regardless of age there is only one reason you can avoid obeying your parents and honoring their requests. In Acts 5:29 we read that when a decree given is contrary to the word of God we are to obey God and not man. With few and rare exceptions I believe the reason children grow up not honoring and obeying their parents rests on the shoulders of the parents and specifically the father.
Godly parents are the only parents that can rise up Godly children as the word says in Psalms 127:4, children are arrows shot forth from a parent. Shooting forth does not mean the arrow is shot in the right direction, it just means that the child will go beyond where the parent was when they were shot forth. If the parent is going in the wrong direction, the child will go further in the same wrong direction unless God somehow intervenes. As I mentioned earlier I believe the father carries the most weight in the direction the child goes. After all he is head over the wife just as Christ is head of the church and gave Himself for it, Ephesians 5:25. If the father is head of the wife and the children are subject to their parents than the father is at the top of responsible for the spiritual direction the family and children go; end of discussion. Sad thing is there are God fearing mothers all across our country making every effort to point their children in a Godly direction without the help of a Godly father. Godly seed is being planted, and there are Godly men and women raised up from a single mom home, but the child could have a better foundation if the father is an active Godly man.
A critical point I need to make is that just being a believer does not make a natural Godly acting person. Remember that we are “new creatures spiritually”, but the old man’s ways of thinking and acting needs to be changed. Verse 17 of this chapter is the key to being a Godly father. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” If a father wants to provoke his children and discourage them all he has to do is beat them over the head with bible verses and quotations but live a Godless life in front of them. For the father that wants to raise a Godly child, do so through letting them see you as a Godly man in everything you do. There is an old saying, “preach always and on occasion use a few words”.
One more additional note on provoking children; mothers are not off the hook just because Paul only identified fathers. When either parent displays less than Godly attributes in their life the child sees the difference and gets the idea that the parent is saying, “do as I say, not as I do”. From my observation, moms tend to try to “fix” everything in the child’s life. This is not necessarily a bad thing and quite often is a good thing, but not always the right thing to do. I am no psychologist, but have watched parenting and studied the word of God a long time. I have noticed that when children are in the formative years there is a needed “mommy fixit” time to help the child feel loved and nurtured; this is when fixing things is both the good and right thing. As the child grows up they reach a time, and I do not know exactly when this is, that the child needs to begin experiencing more of the fix it yourself problems, while the mom continues to take care of the major ones and keep up encouraging words. As they mature children need to experience adversity in order to learn how to avoid some of life’s potential pitfalls and how to overcome problems they find themselves in. One pastor called this “attending the Adversity University”, and those children that have been taught through this college of life, with Godly principles, will be the PhD’s from AU of tomorrow for the kingdom of Christ.
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