On Instructing our Children part 2

20 Nov

You don’t always connect the word nurturer with the word father.

But Paul does.

He says, fathers, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

But what does that mean specifically?

One of the primary ways we as fathers are to nurture our children is through teaching.

Another way to translate this verse is simply, fathers, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Discipline and instruction.

Now what do those words mean?

By discipline, we might get the wrong idea and only think about spanking and so some of you may be like well I am great at that, but there is a lot more to this term than a good hiding.

The word discipline actually has to do with education.

In fact the word Paul uses is actually the second half of encyclo – pedia, which is two words squished together and literally means general (that’s encyclo) knowledge (that’s pedia) or education or teaching and it’s the word Paul uses.

By saying that you need to discipline your children, really he is saying fathers you have a responsibility to educate your child in the Lord.

Now what do we mean by educate?

Because when we think about educate we think school, training a child to think and that’s part of it but the word is even bigger than that, and it has to do with a whole way of looking at the world. We have a responsibility to educate our child in God’s perspective on their lives and this world.

When you grow up in a certain place, the world is training you how to think about things, this is how you speak to adults, this is what a wife does, this is the purpose of life, this is how you are supposed to work, and Paul is saying, as parents we can’t just let that process happen to our child, we need to take primary responsibility and help shape our children to think biblically about their lives in this world.

The second term in this verse is instruction and that is a term that is often used to describe biblical counseling, actually, and if you are around my father who teaches biblical counseling I guarantee you will hear it, because he uses it to describe the kind of counseling he does, he calls it nouthetic counseling and nouthetic is the Greek word Paul uses here and it’s another one of those words that are two words squished together, mind and put, to put in someone’s mind in other words, fathers you need to put truth in your children’s mind. And it especially has to do with sitting down and talking to your child about the truth and how it applies to their lives.

In fact, one man who’s done a lot of study on this particular term says you can summarize what this instruction involves with three ideas:

“Confrontation, concern, and change.”

Our children need parents who will confront them with the truths of God Word because they are concerned about them making the changes that God requires.

We need to step up and show our children the areas in their life that they need to work on, and not simply because we don’t like what they are doing, but because of what God’s Word says.

And we need to do that because we are vitally concerned about their spiritual good.

It is interesting to look at what you confront your children about, because that may reveal what is important to you; and what should be most important to us is their spiritual condition.

And what’s cool is that if you are parent and your eyes are open as your children grow up, if your eyes are open you are going to have all kinds of opportunities to talk about this kind of stuff.

In fact, sometimes we get upset when our children do something wrong and we have to teach our children something or confront our children about something, but no, really instead you should view that opportunity to teach and confront as part of the process that God is using to help their child get through some difficulty that is hindering him from moving forward in his spiritual growth.

That’s what you are there for.

And honestly I have got to say that I love this and I think it is so amazing that God gave us this privilege of getting involved in the nitty gritty of our children’s lives but it is definitely a big job to do all this educating and instructing and if you are feeling a little overwhelmed by it all I understand and I know how some of you might feel like you don’t even know where to begin.

“I know I need to bring my children up, but where do I even start?”

The good news is that the Bible does give us an example of a father doing this and that’s in the book of Proverbs and since the writer of that book was the wisest man who ever lived, you don’t need to try to improve on it much, instead you can just follow in his footsteps as a dad or mom.

One of the ways you can learn how to bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord is by studying the book of Proverbs and in fact at the very least, if you get anything from this, you can maybe just start reading the book of Proverbs and start trying to figure what you are supposed to teach your children; but you know I thought in the days ahead you a headstart today by highlighting for you a number of the specific things you see in Proverbs that you need to educate your children in.

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