Friday, March 31, 2023
To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
If I asked a room full of people, "What is the hardest task of parenting?" I would get a variety of answers. Some would be based upon the mistakes they think their parents made with them. Others would be centered on what people have read online, in magazines, seen on TV, watched on YouTube, or read in books. Others might look back on their experience raising children and point to challenges unknown to them until they began to parent. Many would suggest that what parents learn with their first child might not apply to future children because each child is unique, and the circumstances in which they are raised can be quite different.
For me, one of the most challenging parts of parenting is learning to properly balance discipline with what each child needs at a particular moment — correction, consequences, concern, redirection, affirmation, tenderness, or firmness. You don't want to crush a child's spirit or snuff out their curiosity. On the other hand, you don't want a child rebelling against you or teachers, ridiculing others, playing on the freeway, or running wild in the streets. You want your child to treat people with respect and courtesy while not being afraid to stand up for what they believe. You want to preserve a child's innocence but not underexpose them to the realities of life and make them vulnerable to predators. Properly disciplining a child is a daunting challenge!
So, how do we discipline our children so that it produces wisdom and character? We understand the principle from our proverb for today — it's clear. But don't you think it is harder being the one who administers disciple effectively, correctively, and lovingly than being the child who receives the discipline? After all, as followers of Jesus, we recognize this child we're disciplining is an eternal person! God made this little person for his specific purposes; then God brought this child into the world and entrusted this person with us!
As parents, God has invited us to uncover the masterpiece He wants to be revealed to the world. That mystery should drive us to our knees, asking for the Spirit's help to guide us. In addition, God has given us a spiritual family where we can share information, gain insight, and learn about many parenting challenges. We also want to invite our children into our spiritual walk with Jesus, sharing "Bible times" with our young children and equipping our older children to have their own. We want to open doors of opportunity to grow in Christ with other young people, go on mission trips with older people who can be mentors and friends for life, and build relationships with other believers who can support us as parents. Thankfully, Jesus promised:
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them," 
Using this principle, we can join together and invite the Lord to help us through the mystery of parenthood, guide us as we seek to instill spiritual wisdom in the heart of our children and ask forgiveness when we mess up things. We are not alone because when our children become followers of Jesus, the Spirit enters them and begins the ultimate work of shaping them to become more like Jesus.  Hallelujah! We are not alone. God is at work in us, our Christian family, His Scriptures, our children's friends and mentors, and the Holy Spirit to make this eternal opportunity bear God's fruit!
Almighty Lord, God of glory and grace, the God who got His hands dirty in the messes of our everyday life in Jesus, I come to you. I need your help, wisdom, and grace to guide me as I seek to be a good parent, grandparent, and friend to children growing up around me. Please help me understand my role. Bless me with insight on how best to discipline my children without crushing their spirit or stomping on their curiosity. Most of all, dear Father, help me be Your person and Your influence in the lives of these children You entrusted to me. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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