Walk Your Talk with Your Kids—Living with Spiritual Authenticity
Train a child in the way they should go….“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”– Proverbs 22:6, King Solomon of Israel.
This is a great concept, promise, principle, and protocol for fathers. “Training up” has the idea of a parent graciously investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, nurturing, and discipline is needed for him to become fully committed to God. It presupposes parental emotional and spiritual maturity.
“In the way that he should go” is to do the training according to the unique personality, gifts, and aspirations of the child. The idea here is to, equip, resource, and be a catalyst for your child’s gifts, skills, and natural abilities. We must study our kids and know just what their strengths and weaknesses are.
The converse is to help the child avoid whatever natural tendencies she might have that would prevent total commitment to God. For example: a weak will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to depression, etc… Knowing where our kids are prone to weakness will help us to help them avoid the pitfalls of poor decision-making, lack of character, immaturity and more. This is as important as knowing their strengths and gifts and facilitating those.
The promise is that proper development with great parenting ensures the child will stay committed to God and love people… the two basics of the 10 Commandments. May we stay focused, diligent and intentional in this key role!
Tools of Effective Legacy: Grace. How Do We Use Our Authority?
When I talk about fathering, I think of how God the Father deals with me. And then I realize His kindness, patience, and love and see how short I fall as I deal with others.
God doesn’t always use a stick to beat us when we make mistakes, so why are we as fathers so quick to apply the stick of punishment to those around us, especially our kids? It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to not like injustice, disobedience, immaturity, and some of the zany things kids do in their selfishness.
But what gives you and me the right when we are tired and frustrated to dole out law in the spirit of anger? Our Lord never modeled that type of authoritarianism. He did everything in love, including correction, chastisement, teaching, and encouragement.
You and I as men need to re-learn authority. We need to not get caught up in the disciplinarian model and playing the heavy, which is so common in our society. We need to learn the authority of Jesus, based in love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.
We need to re-learn the father heart of God, and how that applies to our leadership and authority over those for whom we have responsibility. We must be intentional and incremental in learning this model, as it will transform our parenting, and indeed, our lives. So, the next time you’re faced with someone’s shortcomings, or your own, for that matter, what’s going to be different?
Will it be grace or law? Which have you been given more of?
Grace versus law- means that we translate His heart to those around us in how we use our words, authority and actions. How can we successfully use godly authority in a way that shows His heart and love and kindness?
How do you personally dole out correction and discipline? Do the following mark your approach?
• Cussing and swearing
• Yelling and raising your voice
• Withholding your favor in some way
• Silent treatment
• Launching out in anger
• Physical violence
• Verbal violence
How do these mirror the Father Heart of God (see Appendix B.), and how he’s treated you? Does God do any of the above as He has occasion to correct and admonish you? In your walk with God, has He ever treated you with anything but kindness, love in the heart of a father? The answer is God corrects and chastens us in great love and patience and kindness. His encouraging and teaching Spirit reminds me that the kindness of God leads me to repentance… every time.
We get caught up in stress and with our authority; we often default to become the great disciplinarians. We get hard, mean, and even cruel—often with those we love the most.
This is wrong, and an incorrect application of authority. We do need to have courageous conversations, and even dole out consequences as needed, but if our default is dictatorial we’ve missed the mark in the Jesus example.
The authority that Jesus wielded can be learned, applied and given freely, but we need to be intentional…. How will you discipline, correct, and encourage someone who is under your authority the next time? Will you default to a baser form of handling authority, or will you be intentional and model the kindness and encouragement of Jesus Christ? Next time, what will be different?