Parenting is HARD. There’s no clocking out. There’s no “I’m tired of this job. I think I’ll look for a new one.” There’s not even sick days for cryin’ out loud. It’s all day, every day. Holidays. Breaks. Nights Weekends. It’s tiring. So believe me, I get it. I can barely make it into bed at night. Which translates to not washing my face. Which means eventually my skin is going to look like something along the lines of an elephant’s ankle. (It’s a good thing God made me a writer.)
Devotional Scripture: Exodus 20:12
Key Verse: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
And you better believe I will blame my children! (Do you see these wrinkles? You put them there!) (Just kidding.) (Maybe.)
But tiredness is not a Biblically mandated excuse for not doing my job as a parent. Actually, there are no excuses. “Children obey your parents” – the fifth commandment – yeah, it’s on us.
(Side note: If you’re just joining us we’ve been making our way through the book of Exodus and we’re currently in chapter 20 – The Ten Commandments. Click HERE if you’d like to go back and start with the first commandment. Or click HERE if you are in need of a laugh and would like to read my take on motherhood. Or click HERE if you’d like to subscribe and never miss another Deeper Devo. I don’t promise all fun, all the time. But I do promise honesty and truth and a deeper look at the Scriptures. Or feel free to ignore me, and just keep reading. I ignore me all the time.)
Anyway, my job as a parent isn’t to make my children happy. It’s not even to successfully get them through another day. (Though I do see that as a nice byproduct.) No, my job as a parent is to raise responsible God-fearing adults.
And the bottom line is, they aren’t going to get there on their own. For some reason we’ll go through great pains to train a puppy but our kids? Eh, they’ll catch on eventually. (No they won’t.) We have to teach them to do so. We have to, dare I say it, discipline. There, I said it.
And here, my friend, are five reasons to motivate us to do so…
- It shows them love.
I know it sounds like the opposite of love, but discipline is a facet love. Which is why God says he disciplines those whom He loves (His children).
Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
Proverbs 3:11-12 “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
So to NOT discipline my children is to NOT love them to the best of my ability. I do them a disservice every time they do wrong and I choose to ignore it.
Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and reproof gives wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
To discipline (in an appropriate and loving manner mind you) is to teach them the way to life, but to not discipline is to put them on a path of futility.
Proverbs 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Sometimes the Bible just says it like it is.)
- You will gain their respect.
I respect those who say they’re going to do something and then do it. And you know what, it’s the same with our kids. When we follow through with expectations – it harbors respect in their hearts.
Hebrews 12:9 “Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”
But when we don’t follow through. When we lack consistency. When we lay the boundaries out and they choose to cross them, yet no consequences follow, they may be relieved in the moment but with time, respect will wane because we didn’t mean what we said.
Proverbs 29:17 “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to you heart.” Because his/her respect will run deep.
- It shows them the Father.
Hebrews 12:6 “For the Lord disciples the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
If God disciplines those he loves because they are his sons and daughters, yet we don’t discipline our children, what does that teach them? Honestly, I’m afraid to answer. But I know one thing, it certainly doesn’t mimic the LORD.
God is not mean. We’re not to be mean. God is love and in his goodness, corrects (when necessary) with discipline. Not to get back at us. Not to make us sad but for the purpose of keeping us on a path that will give us the best life possible. And don’t we want the same for our kids?
- It reveals the Father in them.
Hebrews 12:10 says God disciplines us for our good, “that we may share his holiness.”
Discipline is character training.
Proverbs 23:13-14 (NLT) says, “Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death.”
Because left to ourselves we won’t walk in the light, as God is in the light. We’ll walk in the ways of darkness. A path I don’t want for my children!
Proverbs 22:15 says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”
It’s not natural for our kids to do what’s right. In fact, it’s not natural for any of us. (“The heart is deceitful above all things.” – Jeremiah 17:9) Which is why over and over in Scripture we’re instructed to “Abide in Him.” “Take every thought captive.” “Flee from evil.” If the Apostle Paul struggled to do what is right and not wrong, how much more will our kids?
So we discipline, that they too might be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1).
- In the end, it will bring them joy.
We all want our kids to be happy right? We want what’s best for them. But what’s best for them is what’s best for us – living within God’s parameters. Not so we’ll be confined, but so we’ll thrive!
Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”
And the way of life, leads to blessing!
Psalm 94:12 “Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and who you teach out of your law.”
Job 5:17 “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.”
The word blessed means happy. Why is the person who is disciplined happy? Because discipline leads to righteousness, which leads to blessing, which leads to joy. And oh my do I want my kids to be happy!
As you ponder these truths remember this – “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
It may seem hard now, but here’s the promise. Later, it will yield fruit of righteousness. And that my friend, is enough reason for me.