This is the fifth in a series of posts featuring ways God
used my family and the Scriptures to draw me closer to Himself.
I share some of those insights to testify to His faithfulness. ❤️
WORDS TO GROW BY:
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.”
I Peter 3:10
“To love life and see good days“–isn’t that what most of us yearn for? Yet when our goals are skewed by unrealistic, worldly ideals such as–living a perfect, happily-ever-after kind of life–we are more prone to depression than true joy. The problem none of us can escape is that life can be messy–exceedingly so–and when it is, SIN is often at the center of it. There are times when, no matter how well organized or disciplined the effort, even our best laid plans can be thwarted.
In my last post I wrote about the connection between discipline and discipleship, using II Timothy 3:16, 17 as the framework for Godly discipline:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful
for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work.”
In that post I shared seven insights about Godly discipline:
Insight #1: Godly discipline has to be learned before it can be applied. (Hence, there is no place for the foolish maxim: “Do as I say, not as I do.”)
Insight #2: Godly discipline is meant to be a lifestyle, not a series of events. (Teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness should be an on-going part of family relating.)
Insight #3: God does not have grandchildren; He only has children. (Only those who enter into a personal relationship with Christ has the assurance of being a child of God–John 1:12, 13)
Insight #4: Make regular worship at a Bible-teaching church and fellowship with other Believers a priority. (The strength of those relationships, will likely be invaluable as you support each other through the tougher seasons.)
Insight #5: Help your children think biblically by reading to them–A LOT! We especially enjoyed learning about the lives of Christian heroes, various series of books as well as reading the Bible itself.
Insight #6: When disciplining your children–draw them close to you–rather than isolate them. (Such times can provide special opportunities to minister the mind and heart.)
Insight #7: Along the way, look for opportunities to bring laughter, adventure, and ways to serve others into your family routine.
In this post I will share additional insights into Godly discipline as it connects to love and truth using Hebrews 12:10 & 12 as our basis,
“Our fathers disciplined us for a short time as they thought best,
but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness.
No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it yields a peaceful harvest of righteousness
to those who have been trained by it.…”
The passage speaks:
- Assurance to all with this declaration of LOVE: God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness.
- TRUTH with its promise of ultimate blessing (a peaceful harvest of righteousness) to those who choose to trust God.
I share the following story to help you appreciate my five remaining insights:
We had one preteen and two teenagers in our home. At times, the pressure was immense–especially in making last minute decisions. In fact, looking back I can see that I was starting to shut-down–saying “no” to almost every request. Feeling convicted, I turned to God. I confessed my bad attitude and asked for His help. Nothing remarkable occurred when I prayed, except that I felt slightly more hopeful. However, several days later, after another request was made, I was startled when these words came out of my mouth:
“I”m not sure. If you have to have an answer NOW,
then the answer has to be NO.
But if you’ll let me pray about it . . . we’ll see.”
I was shocked by my inward calmness, and their response was amazing–they backed off completely! In fact, they very wisely would approach me almost warily saying, “I’m not demanding an answer, Mom, but . . . have you prayed yet?”
That was the day I learned the importance of setting an example as a praying mom before my kids. Where before, every request made was a burden, I learned the importance of setting an example of prayer. With that new parameter in place, my kids approached me with greater respect as they asked, “Mom, have you prayed yet?” The results? The majority of the time I was able to answer, “Yes but . . . “–adding some qualifiers to assure their safety. When I had to say no, they never argued; I suspect they already knew it was wasn’t a good idea.
By far the best part was that my kids saw me
as a praying mom (rather than a roadblock mom)
who honestly cared about them.
Insight #8: The key to effective Godly discipline is PRAYER.
God is all about relationships–our relationship with Him as well as with one another. When we keep Him at the center of how we relate to others through reading the Scriptures and prayer, we are blessed with the wisdom and perspective we otherwise lack. Ecclesiastes affirms this in 4:9-12,
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If either of them falls down,
the other can help him up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
When we keep God and the Scriptures as our third strand to guide us, humble thanksgiving becomes a friend and our prayers are more effective.
Insight #9: Speak truth in love–relying on the Scriptures for the best means of ministering to the mind and heart.
There are many passages in Scripture that provide what is needed to speak truth in love. Ephesians 4:17-32 is one of my favorites, especially verse 29:
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,
but only such a word as is good for edification
according to the need of the moment,
so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Insight #10: When dealing with sin, resist the temptation to minimize it.
SIN is not “a mistake”, nor is it merely “a phase” that kids go through. Sin is a contemptuous act that is offensive to God. Much of the messiness of life is the result of sinful attitudes and actions. II Peter speaks powerfully about the plight of Christians who take sin lightly:
If they have escaped the corruption of the world
by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
and are again entangled in it and are overcome,
they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness,
than to have known it and then to turn their backs
on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”
and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.
II Peter 2: 20-22
Referring to sin as, PUKE ON GOD’S THRONE–your own included–serves as a good reminder of the grossness of sin.
Insight #11: With older children/teens, resist using long-term restriction as a weapon.
While temporarily taking away certain privileges may be necessary to keep them safe, I recommend using what I call, prayerful regrouping, as you lean on God to help you minister to their hearts rather than to simply isolate them. (See Insight #6 in my previous post for the reasoning behind this. I will expand on this in my next post.)
Insight #12: Problems seldom occur at convenient times. Check your attitude by giving thanks that God’s timing is always perfect.
I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed, “Lord, I didn’t know it was going to be so hard!” Life IS hard, but God is EXCEEDINGLY GOOD to those who seek Him for the wisdom and perspective they lack. James 4:7 declares:
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Satan uses doubt to separate us from God.
By refusing to doubt God’s Sovereign Goodness,
He will provide the courage and strength you lack.
All to His Glory~