"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."
This week I have been reading, Give Them Grace, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and she pointed out how in light of all the parenting books that have been written, that there are only two passages in the New Testament that give directive commands concerning it. The first is the one quoted up top, Eph. 6:4 and the second is similar in Colossians 3:21. She goes on to say that perhaps in our discipline and instruction as parents that we have failed to fully understand this phrase, "of the Lord."
In the book, Fitzpatrick gives a few clarifying questions to help one get a better handle on what "of the Lord" parenting looks like:
- How does the incarnation change the way you speak to your children? God became a child. That one act of condescension and identification should forever stop us from denigrating children. The incarnation would have astonished them. To them, children were chattel, property to be disposed of at a father's whim.
- What about the resurrection? Does the truth of Christ's victory over sin and death make any difference when our kids struggle with ongoing sin? How? In the resurrection Jesus brought justification to those who believe, including our believing children (Rom. 4:24-24). If they are justified, God looks at them not only as those who have not sinned but as those who have always obeyed. How would this truth change your parenting?
- Have you helped them understand what his ascension and ongoing reign means when their best friend moves out of town? What does this eternal priesthood of the God-Man mean when they suffer loss? That he "always lives to make intercession for the," (Heb. 7:25) and suffered in every way can bring deep comfort to a child who feels that he is alone and friendless.