It’s difficult to raise kids today. Many people, as parents, are confused about the conflict between disciplining our kids to do what we believe to be “correct behavior” and giving them the space they want by yielding to their feelings. (also see “Second Thoughts“)This is true in just about every aspect of their upbringing, particularly starting in the teen years. There is so much negative and improper outside stimulus that the conflict can grow more difficult on a daily basis.
For me, I feared my parents as a small child and I will tell you right now, before you judge, there is NOTHING wrong with that. You see, that fear evolved through my teen years and by the time I was a young man, it had become RESPECT. This is something many teens are going into adulthood without. Many young people have grown and learned to have no respect for their parents, other adults or God. This is dangerous behavior. What can be done?
PROVERBS 22:15 states: “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.” Now before you berate me thinking we should all beat our children with sticks, let me explain how I read this scripture. First of all, this is the word of God and CANNOT be disputed. As per dictionary.com, folly is “the state or quality of being foolish; lack of understanding or sense.” This verse states up front that foolishness and lacking sense is basically inherent in children, it is “bound up in the heart of a child”. It’s bound up, it’s tied to a child’s heart. It’s how they are, naturally.
Now, forget the word rod for a moment and let’s focus on “discipline”. Because, discipline does not necessarily mean hitting your kids with anything. Discipline IS the “rod” we need when raising our children. Dictionary.com says discipline means all or some of the following:
1. “training to act in accordance with rules; drill”
2. “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training”
3. “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.”
4. “the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.”
OK, then it would be the responsibility of all of the people bombarding outside stimuli upon children, using some or all of these methods to “drive far away” all the inherent properties of folly. Some of these people would be parents, teachers, day care workers, clergy, scout leaders, etc. We need to “train to act in accordance with rules” using “a regimen that develops or improves a skill(or understanding)” using “punishment inflicted by way of correction and training” resulting in “the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity”. Or, guess what folks, we could simply TALK TO THEM!
In many cases, “good” upbringing has resulted in failed results. I don’t think parents of school shooters, convicted rapists and child molesters wanted their kids to be how they turned out. It is my belief that these types of things happen when kids are left alone too much. This opens a door for satan to move in and begin his work. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, satan is for real and he will take every opportunity to grab your kids and swiftly carry them away from you.
You need to communicate with them, folks. Talk about God, Jesus, music, sports, television, what’s trending on the Internet etc; SOMETHING! Keep them occupied so that door never unlatches. Keep satan locked out! Stay aware of what they look at on the Internet and television. Watch with them. And don’t think those video war games are good for your child, because they will emulate any and all outside stimuli at any given time. This is the nature of growing up. Stay in touch, stay aware, stay involved!
Do Christians live better lives than non-Christians? One would think so with all of the Biblical scriptures taken out of context as of late. If anything, Christians’ lives become more difficult after they are saved. That’s how God intended it. If you read My Testimony, you might notice that as you read, my life became more and more difficult. This is because God allows, and at times, creates trials in our lives to test our Christian resolve. And, with every test we pass, our faith grows stronger – and with every test we fail, our wisdom grows greater. God allows these trials so that we become closer to Him (Life’s Uncertainties).
Our lives are not going to be blessed with only great prosperity, love and happiness, there will also be blessings of loss, failure and disappointment. We need to expect and accept the bad things as blessings because God is using them as “The Great Potter” and is molding us to His image. In fact, in many cases, our lives cause us to endure more of the bad blessings than the good. The scripture “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” is far too many times, taken out of context. Read this in context starting in Philippians 4 verse 11 below:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul wrote this while in a Roman prison and was talking about HARD living, not expecting great happiness, joy, rainbows, flowers and unicorns but accepting that God is sovereign, and so he was joyful in his trials. Paul knew he was right where God wanted him. This scripture is very important for living our lives righteously, without pride and with the faith that God’s amazing Grace is there when we fall – to help us up, to help us learn and to help us grow.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
Don’t be afraid of having trials in your life, welcome them as blessings. And don’t expect there will be no trials in your life. There will be difficult times. It’s how you handle them that defines your character and it’s how we grow.
Does it feel at times that God is far away from you? Typically this is because we have sinned (probably a lot) and you have not confessed so as to be absolved of your sin and to be reconciled to the Father. But sometimes He moves far away from you because He wants you to seek Him, and perhaps while doing so performing a service to His glory. Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
But why are we sinning? Some of us sin more than others, but WE ARE ALL SINNERS and imperfect, living in a fallen world. Why is that and why does God move so far away from us at times? We must remember that all sin comes through Satan, not God. After Lucifer tried to overthrow God and was banished from heaven, he walked the earth for a time. We know this from Job 1:6-7 – “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” “ So Lucifer, at one time the most powerful of all the Angels, was thrown to earth after his attempt to overthrow God.
And so it was that God created man is his own image (Genesis 1:27). So now satan hates God and God created us, puny little creatures that look just like Him and puts us all over the earth. Imagine how much satan must hate us, being surrounded by millions of little God looking beings. This is why we sin. It’s basically a tug-of-war between satan and God. When satan is pulling us one way, God moves the other way, far away at times, so as to exercise our spirits so that when we move back to where God is waiting, we will be farther away from satan, farther away from sin stronger in the Holy Spirit of Christ and closer to the Father.
Don’t let yourself stay far away from God. Read His Word so that you know His mind and He will tell you what He wants from you. He doesn’t want you far away, but close with a strong spirit. Let God’s light shine through you so that others may see and want to be that way too. (Lead By Example)