Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Paul says it should be based on training our children in the Lord.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
As with all other relationships we have looked at throughout the book of Ephesians, Paul reminds us to bring in the Lord. In doing so, we are to bring our children “up in the training and instruction of the Lord”. The Greek word for ‘training’ is ‘paideia’ and it means “to instruct”. “It also carries the implication of chastening or discipline, because effective instruction often includes discipline and correction. The Greek word for ‘instruction’ is ‘nouthesia’ which means “an admonition, warning , exhortation”. “nouthesia is any word of encouragement or reproof which leads to correct behavior.
Paul is suggesting parenting is a balance of encouragement and discipline in order to get our children to behave. It is not only encouragement and it is not only discipline, but a balance of the two. Children who are raised with only encouragement with no discipline can become unruly and those raised with only discipline with no encouragement may have their spirits broken. Both training and instruction are to be “in the Lord”. The Lord should be at the center of our relationships with our children.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Notice when the teaching of God’s ways are to take place, when you sit, when you walk, when you lie down, when you get up. Basically, instructing our children in the Lord is to happen all the time. It is not something we can pass off onto the Sunday school teachers and expect them to teach our children. As parents, we are responsible to teach our children to know and love the Lord and to know His ways. It isn’t something that simply happens as we take them to church on Sunday but occurs every minute of everyday.
Our children watch us and we need to make sure we are following the way of the Lord so they can learn by our example. We need to teach our children to read the Word of God and know what He says about how we are to live our lives. What we do on a daily basis will have an impact on our children’s spiritual growth.
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Are you training and instruction your children in the Lord? Are you modeling prayer and reading His Word daily? Do you share with your children what the Lord is doing in your life? Is the spiritual development of your children part of your daily life?
- Scripture from http://www.biblegateway.com
- Greek definitions and quotes from “The Key Word Study Bible”, AMG Publishers
- Picture from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net