“Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” – Proverbs 29:17
Christian parents have the duty and responsibility to discipline their children, in accordance with God’s Word. It’s imperative that parents don’t leave their children to themselves. We are called by God to love, instruct, be godly examples to, correct and lead our children in obedience to the Lord, knowing and trusting Him and His promises. Among other duties we’ve considered thus far, children have the duty and responsibility to honor and submit to their parents and their biblical discipline.
“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” – Proverbs 29:15
Never forget that by the grace of God, faithful, godly discipline bears the fruit of a disciplined life both in us and our children. Such discipline is part of every aspect of our lives. Whether we are being taught and instructed, or being chastened and corrected, there is never a time or situation when the Spirit isn’t at work directly or through means, such as those in authority or influence in our lives to shape and mold us. Worship is also a gloriously important time in which we are being disciplined by God as He calls, draws, convicts, feeds, nourishes, changes, and comforts us by His Spirit in and through His Word, and then sends us forth in joyful service.
One of the great blessings of being disciplined in the school of Christ is that we and our children become more disciplined in the way of Christ, in our relationship with Him, unto more faithful obedience to Him. We are progressively shaped and sharpened. We are more and more refined. More of the dross is burned off. The way of the fool in our hearts is more and more abandoned as heavenly wisdom is embraced, practiced, and bears fruit. This work of grace, beloved, is important for both parents and children! We seek to instill a willingness to be taught in our children, coupled with humility to be corrected. Though the journey of parents is full of challenges and trials, it’s a calling that we must not try to ignore and put off. Praise the Lord that He shows us the path to follow to lay the foundation from the beginning. Praise Him that He also gives us the remedies to apply when things have gone wrong and the course needs to be corrected and restored.
By God’s grace, part of the foundation and remedy is our not only requiring biblical submission from our children, but also our patient and loving instruction as to what that means, what it does and doesn’t look like in the day to day details, as well as teaching them the joy and benefits that come to them as they submit. This has its ups and downs. All parents can relate to stressful times in child rearing. Many parents understand the feeling of wanting to “pull their hair out”, or being at wits end because of their child’s behavior and disobedience. Many parents come to a place of wanting to give up in discipline as a result. However, we need to be mindful and comforted by the truth of Proverbs 29:17, where Solomon calls parents to consistent biblical discipline, along with revealing the fruit of doing so. See a few things here:
1) Be committed to disciplining your children. If you ask yourself, should you? The answer is, Yes. If you’re thinking, “What I’m doing doesn’t work!”, seek counsel from your pastor, elders, and trusted family and friends. Learn the biblical course and then stay the course. We’re here to help! Consistent discipline over time is in view here. Don’t give up! The foolishness bound up in our children’s hearts must be corrected and dealt with when they are young, or it will break out, to their own and our shame when they are grown up. We must not only tell our children what is good and evil, but we must correct them too, when they either neglect what is good or do what is evil.
2) See the rest and delight that come! If I were to poll a group of parents, the majority opinion would likely be that rest and delight are both lacking and longed for in their parenting. Yet, there are these blessings for those who are consistent to correct. There is great hope in discipline. Pray for the Lord’s gracious work and praise Him when He makes His blessings known!
3) Teach your children the truth of this text. This verse (among others in Proverbs 29 and elsewhere) is important for your children to know and understand as well. It will help them in considering their duty and the ways the Lord blesses them in becoming more disciplined, which then is a blessing to you.
What does Solomon say is true of the rod and rebuke in Proverbs 29:15? They give wisdom. Wisdom is what we desire to grow in our children, isn’t it? Wisdom is what we desire them to get! (Proverbs 4:5-9) It’s one of the big goals of our training. Therefore, the use of the rod and rebuke, among other things must not be neglected.
What is the rod Solomon speaks of? What should godly submission look like in our children in their ages and stages? Should our discipline shift as our children grow older? What are practical things you can do to shepherd your children well? More on this to come next week, Lord willing.