Dads: Day Seventeen

I have been working on a little devotional for fathers and thought I might share some of it with you from time to time. I know I need it!

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“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1

Obedience isn’t easy for any of us. As fathers, we don’t want to make it harder for our children than it already is. Yet unfortunately, we often do. We put obstacles in our children’s path that make it more difficult for them to follow Jesus.   

We make it difficult for them to obey when we are not consistently calling them to obedience.

You might want to underline the word consistently. I put it in bold print. The word consistent means every time. 

As a father you need to help your children know what you expect and then, you need to expect it. Obviously, it’s going to be hard for them to obey you when they don’t know what you want them to obey. So, you need to clearly identify what you want from your children. But, then when you have done that, you need to actually expect them to do that, on a regular basis, day in, day out. If you sometimes discipline a child for something and other times you don’t, that’s confusing.  If you want your child to do something, you need to want them to do it that way, every time.

This will take work at first but it’s going to help your family in the long run.

Children are really smart.

They can figure out very quickly whether you are a person who means what you say or not.

If your children know that when you say to do something, you mean to do something, they will be much more likely to do it. But if your children know that when you say to do something, sometimes you mean do it and sometimes you don’t mean to do it, they will be much less likely to do what you ask.

One reason we aren’t consistent is because sometimes their disobedience bothers us and sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it embarrasses us and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes we are just busy with something else and don’t want to deal with it. Or maybe we just are in a more relaxed mood and so we overlook it. But you need to understand that ultimately your children’s obedience to you is not really about you.  It’s not about you being relaxed or you being bothered. It’s not about whether you are having a good day or a bad day. You know what its about?  It’s about their relationship with God.

Paul says children obey your parents in the Lord, and so it’s about their relationship to God. That is important and you need to note it. Your children obey you as a way of obeying God. It’s not just obey your parents. It’s obey your parents in the Lord. And so when they disobey you, it’s not only about you, it’s about them disobeying God and the thing about disobeying God, is that’s always serious. You don’t get to just pick and choose when you want to obey God and what commands you would like to obey and your children need to know that. When you allow your children to disobey you, you actually are teaching them not to fear God. One reason we have adults who have so little fear of God is because we have parents who never trained them to fear God by teaching them to obey. 

Take Time to Reflect:

  1. Are you consistent in your calls for obedience?
  2. Why do you think it is important for your children to obey you? What drives your desire for obedience? Be honest. Is it mostly your comfort or is it the glory of God? What difference would it make if your desire for them to obey you was based on their relationship with God and not on your comfort?

Practical Suggestion:

First of all, take some time to explain to your children why obedience is important. Perhaps ask them why they need to obey you. If they don’t know the biblical answer, talk with them about how their obedience to you is connected to their relationship with God. Do so humbly and graciously. Then explain that because of that you need to expect them to obey and ask them to pray with you that both of you would be able to fulfill your responsibilities before God. Then, secondly, this next week, before you ask your children to do something, think very carefully. Why are you asking them to do it? If you want them to do it, are you willing to expect them to do it? Are you going to follow up if they don’t? Make a commitment to only ask your children to do things you want them to do and to consistently make sure they do obey.

 

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