Amplified: Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Fathers, don't over-correct your children or make it difficult for them to obey the commandment. Bring them up with Christian teaching in Christian discipline. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: The children, be always obedient to your parents in the Lord, for this is a righteous thing. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: And the fathers! provoke not your children, but nourish them in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.
FATHERS, DO NOT PROVOKE YOUR CHILDREN TO ANGER: Kai oi pateres, me parorgizete (2PPAM) ta tekna humon: (Genesis 31:14,15; 1Samuel 20:30-34; Colossians 3:21)
In Colossians Paul adds a phrase (may not lose heart) to this negative command...
Fathers, don't take this verse out of its very important context! There is one way to fulfill this command and it is not in your strength but the Spirit's strength! The chapter break between 5 and 6 "hides" the fact that this command is an outflow of a Spirit filled life (which is commanded to be one's lifestyle in Eph 5:18-note). Don't try to do this on your own. Jettison self-reliance and submit to the Spirit's sufficiency to be enabled to discipline your children without provoking them! The parallel command in Colossians also has an important context - Col 3:16-note. Notice how filling with the Word is associated with effects almost identical to being filled with the Spirit. (See Table - How being filled with the Word Col 3:16 "energizes" being filled with the Spirit)
It is interesting to note that the first reference in the Bible to teaching has to do with Abraham's responsibility to bring up his own son in the nurture and admonition of the Lord...
Bengel wrote that the plaque of youth is a “broken spirit,” discouraged by continuous criticism and rebuke and too strict discipline.
Luther’s father was very strict, strict to the point of cruelty. In fact he was so stern to him that Luther all his days found it difficult to pray: "Our Father." The word father in his mind stood for nothing but severity. Luther used to say:
Ancient civilization was merciless to the sickly or deformed child as indicated by a writing from the Roman historian Seneca who said...
First the negative command and then the positive. The negative was necessary because in the ancient culture of both Gentile and Jewish households, the father often ruled the family in a rigid and domineering manner, with little concern for the desires and welfare of the wife and children. The gospel changed these Gentile fathers, and Paul reminds them of their new way of living now possible because of the filling and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. They are to throw off the filthy garments of the old man they used to be in Adam and put on the new garments of righteousness they now are in Christ.
Leon Morris writes that this idea...
Fathers - It cannot be overlooked that the responsibility for nurturing children in the faith is fixed squarely on the shoulders of Christian fathers. Obviously, mothers will have much to do with the nurture and training of children (e.g., Pr 1:8 "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, And do not forsake your mother's teaching"); but fathers who relinquish this duty entirely to their wives do so in clear violation of New Testament teaching. Children are a gift from the Lord and are to be reared for Him.
Note that the Greek word for “fathers” is pateres (plural) and although usually the word for the male head of the family it is sometimes used to speak of the parents, encompassing both the mother and father. (E.g., see Hebrews 11:23-note where pateres refers to both parents).
The venerable J Vernon McGee has his usual witty comment writing that...
Provoke (3949) (parorgizo from pará = at point of, unto, implying movement toward a certain point + orgizo = to irritate or make angry) means to make angry, cause to be irritated or exasperate. It means to stimulate one to the point of a brooding, simmering anger that is nurtured and not allowed to die. It is seen in the holding of a grudge, in the smoldering bitterness that refuses to forgive. It is the anger that cherishes resentment and does not want reconciliation. To exasperate means to excite the anger of or to cause irritation or annoyance to.
Paul uses the present imperative with a negative which can be translated stop provoking your children to anger, implying that it was going on in among the saved Gentile fathers. Not provoking them to anger involves avoiding attitudes, words, and actions which would drive a child to anger exasperation or resentment and thus rules out
A few ways that can provoke rather than parent a child - How to provoke: favoritism, comparison, unrealistic standards, over-indulging, rescuing, discouragement, lack of rewards, unfulfilled promises, treating them like boarders rather than children, not admitting mistakes, ridiculing, neglect, abusive words, sarcasm, physical abuse.
KJV Bible Commentary writes that parorgizo...
The danger in the home is parents who are authoritarian but do not exercise loving spiritual authority.
The only other NT use of parorgizo is found in Romans 10 Paul writing...
There are more than 44 uses of parorgizo in the Septuagint (LXX) (Deut. 4:25; 31:29; 32:21; Jdg. 2:12; 1 Ki. 15:30; 16:2, 7, 13, 26, 33; 21:20, 22; 22:53; 2 Ki. 17:11, 17; 21:6, 15; 22:17; 23:19, 26; 2 Chr. 28:25; 33:6; 34:25; 35:19; Ezra 5:12; Job 12:6; Ps. 78:40, 58; 106:16, 32; Isa. 1:4; Jer. 7:18f; 8:19; 11:17; 25:6; Ezek. 16:26, 54; 20:27; 32:9; Dan. 11:36; Hos. 12:14; Mic. 2:7; Zech. 8:14). Most of these Lxx uses refer to the children of Israel provoking God to anger because of their idolatry. Here are some representative uses...
John Eadie writes that...
Children can be provoked to anger when the father makes unreasonable demands, when he is constantly fault finding, when he neglects his children (as did King David - see 2Samuel 14-15), or when he is inconsistent.
Here are some additional ways children can be provoked to anger...
BUT BRING THEM UP IN THE DISCIPLINE AND INSTRUCTION OF THE LORD: alla ektrephete (2PPAM) auta en paideia kai nouthesia kuriou: (Ge 18:19; Ex 12:26,27; 13:14,15; Deut 4:9; 6:7,20-24; Dt 11:19-21; Josh 4:6,7; Josh 4:21-24; 24:15; 1Chr 22:10-13; 1Chr 28:9,10,20; 29:19; Ps 71:17; Ps 71:18; Ps 78:4-7; Pr 4:1-4; 19:18; Pr 22:6,15; Pr 23:13,14; Pr 29:15,17; Isa 38:19; 2Ti 1:5; 3:15; Heb 12:7-10)
But (alla = a strong adversative) - Always take note of this small but significant conjunction which is a marker of contrast. Pause and ponder the passage in the power of the Spirit (His teaching ministry - 1Jn 2:20, 27 [anointing ~ Spirit]), asking questions like... "What is being contrasted?" "Why does the author change direction now?" "To whom does this contrast apply?", etc. This simple discipline in inductive Bible study will force you to slow down and actively engage the text, rather than speed reading it without really engaging your mind. You will be forced to re-read the prior passage(s) which will help you establish the context, increase your understanding of the passage and aid your retention of the truth you have just read. You will always profit when you pause to ponder a passage! And as you engage the text, establishing the context, you are in effect also meditating on the passage, a spiritual discipline God promises will always pay spiritual dividends! (See Josh 1:8-note, Ps 1:1-note, Ps 1:2-note, Ps 1:3-note)
Moses records the OT ideal for fathers writing...
Scripture records the sad record of Eli who failed in this area of fathering his sons...
Calvin translated bring them up as "Let them be fondly cherished". He then emphasized the overall ideas of gentleness and friendliness.
Bring them up (1625) (ektrepho from ek = out or an intensifier + trépho = nourish, rear, feed) means to nourish up to maturity, to nourish in general, to nurture, to bring up from childhood, to raise a child to maturity by providing not just for physical and but also for emotional, soul needs (Eph 5:29-note). Ektrepho means to provide food for with the implication of a considerable period of time and the food being adequate nourishment. It is nurture, positive teaching which is enforced.
Here is a use of ektrepho in the secular Greek...
Webster says that nourish (from Latin nutrire = to feed, nourish) means to nurture, to rear, to promote the growth of, to provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth and health
The present imperative is a command calling for this to be the father's lifestyle or habitual practice. In a sense, he should always (even when he is old and grey) be teaching them the wisdom God has taught him.
The Bible Friend has the following Recipe For Child Rearing...
Discipline (3809) (paideia from paideuo = instruct in turn from país = child) means to provide instruction, with the intent of forming proper habits of behavior, of providing guidance for responsible living, of rearing and guiding a child toward maturity. Paideia is a broad term, signifying whatever parents and teachers do to train, correct, cultivate, and educate children in order to help them develop and mature as they ought.
Paideia has particular reference to child-training, carried out with both firmness and gentleness as needed in each particular case.
The Greek word group is reflected in several English terms such as pedagogy, the science of teaching, while a pedagogue (Greek paidagogos, one in charge of boys, custodian, tutor) is a schoolteacher, or literally one who leads children. In a negative sense a pedant is one who overrates his educational importance.
Paideia originally referred to instruction of children and evolved to mean chastening because all effectual instruction for the sinful children of men includes and implies chastening. correction.
A father should guide and correct his child. As a ship's captain keeps his vessel on course, so a father is charged to keep his son on course.
Detzler writes that paideia (and paideuo)...
Webster says that the English word discipline describes training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
Thayer says paideia describes...
TDNT writes that...
Vincent adds that...
John MacArthur has a helpful note on paideia writing that it refers to...
Paideia is used 50 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Deut. 11:2; Ezra 7:26; Job 20:3; 37:13; Ps. 2:12; 18:35; 50:17; 119:66; Pr. 1:2, 7f; 3:11; 4:1, 13; 5:12; 6:23; 8:10; 10:17; 12:1; 13:18; 15:5, 10, 32f; 16:17, 22; 17:8; 19:20, 27; 22:15; 23:12; 24:32; 25:1; Isa. 26:16; 50:4f; 53:5; Jer. 2:30; 5:3; 7:27; 17:23; 30:14; 32:33; 35:13; Ezek. 13:9; Dan. 1:20; Amos 3:7; Hab. 1:12; Zeph. 3:2, 7).
Here are a few representative uses...
Paideia is found 6 times in the NAS...
Instruction (3559) (nouthesia from noutheteo [word study] = literally "put in mind" from noús = mind + títhemi = to place or put - describes exertion of influence upon nous implying nous is resistant!) means literally putting in the mind and implies the teaching of the Lord's ways through His Word. It is any word of encouragement or reproof which leads to correct behavior. It conveys the idea of giving one counsel about avoiding or ceasing an improper course of conduct. Nouthesia can mean advise given concerning dangerous consequences of a happening or action.
Trench says of nouthesia...
TDNT writes that the related verb noutheteo...
Nouthesia stresses “training by word,” whether of encouragement, or, if necessary, by reproof or remonstrance. Paideia stresses training by act and discipline. Nouthesia is the milder term without which paideia would be incomplete. In both words there is the appeal to the conscience, will, and reasoning faculties. A synonym is epanorthosis translated "correction" (see note 2 Timothy 3:16) was used of setting upright an object that had fallen down and of helping a person back on his feet after stumbling.
Barnes wisely warns us that
If a man does not teach his children truth,
Of the Lord - NLT paraphrases this as "discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."
Expositor's Greek Testament writes that this phrase is...
Vincent writes that this means...
S Lewis Johnson says that we as Spirit filled parents should...
Wiersbe agrees writing...
The Houston police department years ago put out a leaflet called “How To Ruin Your Children.” And it was guaranteed to be 99 percent effective. In part, this is what is said:
James Montgomery Boice offers the following thoughts for those parents who have done the right thing and yet still have seen the child grow up rebellious...
Ray Stedman has the following thoughts on this verse in his devotional entitled Parents And Children...
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The following devotionals are from Our Daily Bread (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
June 19, 1994
Amid the celebration, there was tragedy. It was the opening ceremonies of the 1992 summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. One by one the teams entered the stadium and paraded around the track to the cheers of 65,000 people. But in one section of Olympic Stadium, shock and sadness fell as Peter Karnaugh, father of United States swimmer Ron Karnaugh, was stricken with a fatal heart attack.
Five days later, Ron showed up for his race wearing his dad's hat, which he carefully set aside before his competition began. Why the hat? It was the swimmer's tribute to his dad, whom he described as "my best friend." The hat was one his dad had worn when they went fishing and did other things together. Wearing the hat was Ron's way of honoring his dad for standing beside him, encouraging him, and guiding him. When Ron dove into the water, he did so without his dad's presence but with his dad's help.
On this Father's Day, there are many ways to honor our fathers, as Scripture tells us to do. One way, even if they're no longer with us, is to show respect for the values they taught us.
What can you do for your dad today to show him the kind of honor the apostle Paul was talking about? --JDB
We're thankful for our fathers, Lord,
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The Task Of A Father
June 17, 2000
What admirable quality is common to marmosets, siamangs, sea horses, and jacanas? Here are your clues. Marmosets are squirrel-size monkeys. Siamangs are members of the ape family. Sea horses aren't really horses. And jacanas are robin-size wading birds, sometimes called "lily trotters" because their long toes allow them to walk across water on lily pads.
Your time is up. Here's the answer I'm looking for: The male of each of these species takes care of its young.
I wish this could be said of all Christian fathers about the spiritual nurture of their children. Dads have a wonderful opportunity to encourage, to warn, to teach, to counsel, and to model the Christian life for them. It's significant that Moses' instruction in Deuteronomy 6 was directed toward fathers. Verse 7 especially spells out one task of a father—to teach his children.
This sounds like Paul's statement in Ephesians 6:4. He said that fathers should rear their children "in the training and admonition of the Lord." Christian fathers who do this will distinguish themselves from other dads and will be obedient to God's will. Oh, that our children would be nurtured by moms and dads who love the Lord! —MRDII
Fathers, give your children guidance
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April 14, 1998
When I was just a boy, I was intrigued by a large cucumber. It was no different from any other cucumber, but it was in the strangest place. My uncle kept it in a bottle on a shelf. This particular cucumber was many times too large to go through the neck of the bottle. I wondered how it got there in the first place.
I was filled with awe of my uncle who could perform such a feat. He joked about it and never told me how he did it. My mother finally explained that when the cucumber was very tiny, it had been passed through the narrow neck and allowed to grow while still attached to the vine.
My mother practiced a similar principle with her children. From my earliest memory she surrounded me with prayer and instruction and the gospel. As a result, I was brought to Christ and am now safe in the bottle of His salvation.
What a lesson for parents who have "little cucumbers" at home. Don't let anything interfere with your first duty toward them. The person who said "Give me a child till he is 7 and I care not who gets him after that" knew the value of early training.
Don't neglect your little cucumbers. Soon they will be big. --MRD
Our children are a gift from God
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May 17, 1996
Benjamin West was just trying to be a good babysitter for his little sister Sally. While his mother was out, Benjamin found some bottles of colored ink and proceeded to paint Sally's portrait. But by the time Mrs. West returned, ink blots stained the table, chairs, and floor. Benjamin's mother surveyed the mess without a word until she saw the picture. Picking it up she exclaimed, "Why, it's Sally!" And she bent down and kissed her young son.
In 1763, when he was 25 years old, Benjamin West was selected as history painter to England's King George III. He became one of the most celebrated artists of his day. Commenting on his start as an artist, he said, "My mother's kiss made me a painter." Her encouragement did far more than a rebuke ever could have done.
The apostle Paul instructed parents: "Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).
It's easy to notice the wrong in a child, but difficult to look beyond an innocent offense to see an act of creativity and love. What a challenge to raise our children according to God's standards, knowing when to say, "It's a mess!" and when to say, "Why, it's Sally!" --DCM
Lord, give us wisdom to provide
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Amid the celebration, there was tragedy. It was the opening ceremonies for the 1992 summer Olympic games in Barcelona. One by one the teams entered the stadium and paraded around the track to the cheers of 65,000 people. But in one section of Olympic stadium, shock and sadness fell as Peter Karnaugh, father of United States swimmer Ron Karnaugh, was stricken with a fatal heart attack. Five days later, Ron showed up for his race wearing his dad's hat, which he carefully set aside before his competition began. Why the hat? It was the swimmers tribute to his dad, who he described as "my best friend." The hat was one his dad had worn when they went fishing and did other things together. Wearing the hat was Ron's way of honoring his dad for standing beside him, encouraging him, and guiding him. When Ron dove into the water, he did so without his dad's presence but with his dad's help.
ON this Fathers Day, there are many ways to honor our fathers, as Scripture tells us to do. One way, even if they're no longer with us, is to show respect for the values they taught us.
What can you do for your dad today to show him the kind of honor the apostle Paul was talking about? -- JDB
We're thankful for our fathers, Lord
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Every conscientious parent recognizes how difficult it is to exercise his God-given authority over his children. The delicate balance of being tough yet tender is not easy to maintain. Many parents intensify a rebellious spirit by being dictatorial and harsh. Others yield when their authority is tested. When a strong-willed child resists, the pressure to give in for the sake of peace and harmony can become overpowering. I am reminded of the mother who wanted to have the last word but couldn't handle the hassle that resulted whenever she said no to her young son. After an especially trying day, she finally flung up her hands and shouted, “All right, Billy, do whatever you want! Now let me see you disobey THAT!”
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A Dad Who Didn't Quit
November 12, 1996
Three months before my father died of cancer, he wrote me a letter. I had just left the security of teaching and had gone into fulltime freelance writing. Life was very uncertain.
Dad said, "I know you, I know what's behind you, and I am pretty sure that I understand your goals and the kind of writing you hope to do and the message you wish to convey. Stay in there, and may the Lord bless you. If you ever get in a tight place and need some ready cash, let me know. I think I know where I can lay my hands on a little of it."
When Dad sent me that letter, I was 36 years old and had a wife and three children. But I was still his son and he knew I needed encouragement. He was still parenting, in the best sense of the word.
When the Bible tells fathers to bring up their children "in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4), it doesn't put a time limit on the process. As children grow, a parent's role changes, but the responsibility to care remains the same. Loving, training, admonishing, and encouraging never go out of style.
I still have that letter. I'm still thankful for the man who never stopped being my dad. --DCM
We're thankful for our fathers, Lord,
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That's My Dad!
June 15, 1997
You don't have to meet a man face to face to know what kind of a father he is. Just listen to the way his children refer to him.
The respect that children have for their parents can be a good indicator of how much respect they deserve. One of the Ten Commandments is to honor our father and mother (Ex. 20:12). But how many parents live in a way that is worthy of honor?
I cannot think of a greater tragedy in life than to lose the respect of my children. I would be the most humiliated man if my children were ashamed of me. But nothing would make my heart beat faster than if my child pointed me out in a crowd and said proudly, "That's my dad!"
A good test of whether you are a father who is respected by his children is to ask yourself, "Do I want my son to be what I am, to do what I do, to go where I go?"
Fathers, remember that never before in all history have your children needed the undivided interest and attention of loving parents as in these days of a polluted moral and spiritual atmosphere.
With the help of God's strength and wisdom, determine to be the kind of parent whose child is proud to say, "That's my dad!" --M. R. De Haan, M.D.
A father who emulates God
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Don't Forget Your Children
June 21, 1998
It's one of the saddest stories I've ever heard. A father was to drop off his infant child at daycare on the way to work, but his mind was preoccupied and he forgot. Left alone in the car, the baby girl died from the excessive heat. The father will bear that painful memory the rest of his life.
While this dad inadvertently forgot his child, many other fathers are forgetting their children deliberately--abandoning them to pursue their own selfish desires. They forget their children when they engage in an extramarital affair. They forget their children while they indulge in pleasures, or become preoccupied with work, money, sports, or any number of distractions. As they do, their children are left without the guidance only a dad can give.
The importance of a father in a child's life is monumental. He is to nurture his children by giving them instruction, protection, sustenance, companionship, assistance, love, discipline, and example.
A good father provides a wide-ranging supply of godly advice and wisdom as he guides his children (Prov. 3:1-12). But a father can't do that if he ignores his children because he is busy with self-serving activities.
Dad, don't forget your children. They need you. --JDB
Our children need a home where love
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Watching And Learning
September 17, 1998
I was browsing in a used book shop when an irate customer stormed in and loudly demanded a refund. When the man couldn't get what he wanted, he began swearing at the clerk. He continued the tirade for several minutes as a girl of 7 or 8 stood passively at his side. Eventually he stomped out of the store, cursing as he went, with the little girl following close behind.
I wondered if the girl was his daughter. If so, what did she learn from her dad that afternoon? More important, the event caused me to ask, "What does my daughter learn from me at home and all the places we go together?" She learns a lot more from watching my behavior than from all my little talks about life and God.
"Fathers," the Bible says, "do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). This speaks to me of my own relationship with Christ and the example I live before my children. Only as I submit to God's training and instruction can I bring up my children in His way.
There are children watching us today, deciding what to believe about life and God. What are they learning from us? --DCM
No written word nor spoken plea
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A Nurturing Parent
September 18, 2000
Learning a trade as an apprentice is not as involved now as it was in days gone by. Today, when someone is assigned to a department or an individual to learn a job or craft, he does so by observation, instruction, and practice.
But in years past, an apprenticeship often began while the learner was still a young person. He moved right in with his teacher and lived as he lived. He was with the master carpenter or blacksmith 24 hours a day, watching his every move and following his careful and sometimes harsh instruction. He learned the skill, but he learned much more than a profession. He was being taught a whole way of life.
This total-life concept is built into the word translated "training" in Ephesians 6:4. The command applies to both fathers and mothers, and it means much more than teaching the Bible and Christian belief, though those are involved. The expectation is that through word and personal example parents will nurture their children and teach them what it means to live for Christ in a practical, daily sense.
Sure, children learn a lot about God in Sunday school. But only from you, Dad and Mom, will they see what it means to walk with Jesus in a total-life way. —David C. Egner
God gives us children for a time,
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July 28, 2002
The unsolicited e-mail was full of truth and wisdom. As the father of three daughters, I recognized that the note titled "Daddy's Rules For Dating" offered advice dads can understand. With humor and sarcasm, it listed 10 rules for any boy who hopes to date our daughters.
Rule One, for example, says, "If you pull into my driveway and honk, you'd better be delivering a package, because you're not picking anything up." Translated: "Don't you dare be rude." Each rule had a nugget of truth fathers understand well: "Do not touch my daughter." "Get my daughter home early." "Treat my daughter with respect."
We as fathers (and mothers) are protective of our children, and rightly so, because God has given them to us as a trust. And because our society does not value modesty and sexual purity, we must protect our sons and daughters.
That's why the difficult but balanced teaching in Ephesians 6:4 is so vital. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." If we properly instruct our sons and daughters about what God expects of them, and live it out ourselves, we can avoid angering and discouraging them.
Instead of exasperating children, let's teach them. —JDB —Dave Branon
We must teach our children clearly
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August 17, 1999
An experienced parent said, "Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories!"
The task of parenting can sometimes seem overwhelming. As we look for help, we find bookstores jammed with "how to" volumes by religious and secular advisors. Yet, when we search the Bible for specific guidance, we find few passages that tell us exactly what to do and how to do it. We often come back to Ephesians 6:4, which states, "Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."
We might wish for more instruction than what this verse tells us, but perhaps God has packed more into it than we realize. If we began to "dissolve" that verse in our thinking and ask God to help us understand how to put it into practice, we might find it to be like a packet of concentrated, flavored drink mix that makes 500 gallons.
When was the last time we thought about what we do that provokes our children to anger? How do our words and tone of voice discourage them? What simple thing can we do today to encourage their spiritual growth?
Why not start putting Ephesians 6:4, God's concentrated plan for parenting, into practice right now! --DCM
Your privilege is beyond all price--