In the following post Author Pastor Steven Birnie from Scotland looks at the importance of learning parenting skills through understanding and following the wisdom of the scriptures.
Steven is the author of the popular end-times series The Tribulation Soldier and has an extensive online ministry encompassing blogs, eBooks and travel vlogs around Scotland.
Check out his website here: https://www.thetribulationsoldier.com/#url_2
(Ephesians 6:4) And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
In all my years as a Christian, a Youth Pastor, Senior Pastor and a parent, I‘ve come across few subjects which are closer to God’s heart than the desire that His children, parent their children according to His example and nature.
All too often, we as Christians can get so caught up in striving to grow closer to God and find a way into his blessing, with some of the more exciting subjects like prophecy, that we can overlook an area where we can experience God and find a place of blessing. It can be given little attention or even overlooked, but when we recognise the seriousness of a Christian parent’s responsibility in the eyes of God, we can experience him in a much deeper and consistent way.
This parental recognition comes, when we realise that God’s priority 10 times of 10, is the spiritual, emotional and physical welfare of the children of the Christian family.
God is gravely serious concerning this and all too often we can misinterpret some spiritual blindness as God attempts to chastise and correct us for our lack of attention to the members of our own households. Christians who know the Lord know, that God’s correction is always healthy, with the best intentions for our lives and in this, we grow as a parent, realise that responsibility more and more and our children reap the benefit of their lives being blessed.
However, what if, like many, we haven’t got the tools in the toolbox to be a good parent due to our own experiences as a child. This can make a consideration like this quite daunting. The desire to love our kids and do right, yet not finding the way easy because of our own hurts and fears. Not to worry when God is involved!
I think one of the most amazing things about God is His ability to change our hearts and in turn our lives into something we thought we could never be and when it comes to parenting, God has His genius and amazing ways to not only help us be better parents, but to heal us. He knows about our weaknesses and as always, his great mercy and understanding abounds when we look to him.
It’s this almost inexplicable talent which God displays and it shines through when we recognise God’s intention and then on, to be led by him in our daily lives by the power of his spirit, working from a single verse. And that verse is, parents provoke not your children to anger.
Like most lovers of the scriptures my first thoughts with this, was why this was one of the very few direct new testament examples, with God sharing with us our foundation of being a parent. Why provoke not your children to anger? Why? Again think about it. Why, out of everything God could have conveyed or said, that he’d chose to warn against making our children angry?
I think one of the most amazing things about God is His ability to change our hearts and in turn our lives into something we thought we could never be...
Now when you open up this verse, study and look to God to enlighten our hearts, we begin to find many ways in which we can make our children feel angry and discouraged, these include:
withholding our time and attention,
not showing interest in the things that are important to them.
withholding material gifts,
or humiliating them.
Guys the list goes on and on. And when we see that we might be discouraging our children, we can look back and see clearly, that many of our issues as a parent and person, come from being provoked to anger and discouraged by the very people we trusted the most.
Just a little example. We were the youth and young adult pastors for several years which I have to say have always been some of the best days of our lives. We had a sizeable youth church with both kids from Christian families and kids from families who didn’t necessarily believe. And, we also had some kids from very tough backgrounds indeed. A couple of these kids were quite extreme, in that before they’d hit 14, they already had a sizeable charge sheet from the police for violence and stealing and were frequents in the school detention room and even being suspended for their disrespect toward teachers. This for us wasn’t daunting as such, but the thought of actually having an impact was tricky, so as always, we looked to God and the advice was the same as the verse. To provoke them not to anger, by doing the opposite of what they were accustomed to.
I can tell you now, that with these kids, we never, and I mean never had to raise our voices or ask them to do something twice. Yes a bit of correction from time to time, but in all those years, never a tough situation. And I had to say, I wondered how this was coming about, but it was simple. We gave them our time and were actually interested in them and their lives. There was nothing complicated about it and that hard attitude slipped away quick with them giving us in turn their love and respect. When you boil it all down, you find that the reason these kids act out is because they’re angry and discouraged. I know it sounds a bit too simple, yet this simplicity was so powerful and today, we still keep in touch with those those kids.
And I had to say, I wondered how this was coming about, but it was simple. We gave them our time and were actually interested in them and their lives.
It can be a powerful revelation even heart-breaking when we realise how discouraging we’ve been to our children. But this is good, real good. This opens up the door to both a big change in the parent child relationship and a healing of our own hurts.
This revelation can alter your perception of ourselves, our children and the mind of God and all a parent need do, is to rest on this advice from God, allowing God to bless the children by the working of His spirit and it’s not complicated. When we give our kids that time and attention, when we’re genuinely concerned and interested in what they’re concerned or interested about, dramatic changes can take place as walk forward living in the component parts of not provoking our children to anger.
When we give our kids that time and attention, when we’re genuinely concerned and interested in what they’re concerned or interested about, dramatic changes can take place as walk forward living in the component parts of not provoking our children to anger.
Many Christians over the years have sought out the methods to become closer to God, hear his voice and experience his blessing, yet they overlook what’s right in front of them, their children. When this is seen, experiencing his presence and blessing becomes easier when our priorities marry up with His.
And with God, we can not only find parenting and family life fulfilling, joyful and fun, but bring our kids up to be happy, secure and at peace. All too often, when I find myself a little confused or unsure, nine times out of ten, I find that it comes from God’s correction, that I’m simply not spending enough time with the kids. The kids in his eyes, come before my needs, my job and even in ministry with Him proving to me again and again, as to the major priority and responsibility I have as a Christian Parent.
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