Thursday, August 21, 2014

On-Target Christian Parenting - Colossians 3:20-21

Colossians 3:20-21 "Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasingto the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart."

Note: The reader is invited to look at a differently worded version of this post at the other blogsite:


I wanted to begin today's post with a text I received this week from a Godly man:
"We know Satan wants us to fail as fathers. In particular, I think he wants our boys. There are several reasons for this. First, Satan is like a shrewd financial investor seeking a huge return for his effort. He seeks the biggest bang for his spiritual destruction buck. Young men represent a golden opportunity for him if they can be led astray. Young men can do a lot of damage physically, financially, relationally and socially -when they are not serving the Lord. 

Second, Satan not only reaps immediate dividends from his investment in young men, he yields exponential long-term results. When Satan reviews his investment portfolio, he reveals the compounding problems he can create when men have lost their way. The history books are littered with men who had explosive, multi-generational negative impact, from the absentee father to the crooked executive to the ruthless dictator. Take down one man and you often get several generations afterward.

Finally, Satan destroys godly womanhood through the men. We are unwittingly dragging generations of women through the filth of our selfish passions and absence of leadership. Destruction of fatherhood gets calateral damage: the demolition of the Godly woman. 

So if you are a father of sons, you are one of satan's prime targets. Let us commit as men to stand in the gap for our boys. Let us pray for them, engage them, rebuke them, encourage them and inspire them to follow the Lord."

That text confirmed to me the direction I knew I was going to be heading this week in both these blog posts. Undoubtedly the book of Colossians urges readers to understand and apply the truth of: "Jesus is enough". Whenever husbands love their wives as Christ loves the church, she will desire to fulfill the command given to her to submit to his role as her covering or head. How a husband treats his wife will govern how she responds, and the manner in which she reacts to his leadership in the home. Today's post is aimed at identifying on-target parenting.

Point of Application:

So how can you know when your parenting is on target? The main point of application for today's post will propose the following answer: When your parenting is aimed at Jesus Christ, you will have all you need to thrive.

Normally in sermons or discussions on passages like Colossians 3:20-21, people like to point out the significance of the need for children to obey their parents. Undoubtedly this observation is true, however it does not cover all that is being communicated in the passage. 

In Ephesians 6:4 we note similar wording to Colossians 3:21: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Whenever we consider the things a father could do to disrupt the harmony in the home, Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:19,21 spell out the following things that a father ought not to do, followed by what he must do.


Ephesians 6:4 "Father, do not provoke your children to anger...". (NASB) The phrase translated "do not provoke your children to anger" speaks of not doing something that would intentionally incite a person to be frustrated or to be moved to outburst and retribution. The command here in Ephesians 6:4 is warning fathers to not engage in a parenting style that could intentionally irritate their children and create within them a resentment. Such activity speaks of a father whose parenting style and interraction with their child produces rebellion rather than right behavior.

The parallel worded passage of Colossians 3:21 reads in the NASB "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart." A child who is "expasperated" by their dad represents a high tension spring just waiting to "let loose" by the slightest irriation. 

Perhaps we could say that in viewing both Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 together, both respectively warn against beginning to provoke the child, lest it leads to an all-out war later on down the road!

If fathers are to expect their children to submit to their authority or if they expect to produce children who will heed and respect them, they must parent in such a way as not to knowingly frustrate their child. Not only can such outcomes result from willful, intentional acts of bad parenting, but also in the opposite extreme of neglecting to set boundaries. (see Proverbs 13:24)

In as much as Paul issues for these negative admonitions to fathers to "not provoke their children to anger" in Ephesians 6:4 and "to not exasperate their children" in Colossians 3:21, what then ought Godly father be aiming to do? Certainly there are sins to avoid in these texts, however, what kind of parenting ought a father being exercising toward their children as seen in these texts? I find it interesting that in the positive commands given to the children to "obey their parents", the reasoning for doing so points to the Heavenly Father. Why is this significant? Whatever the Heavenly Father does and Who He is ought to provide the standard for earthly fathers.

Jesus speaks of the correlation between earthly fathers and the Heavenly Father in Luke 11:11-13 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Being that the Heavenly Father loves his redeemed people and provided all that is necessary for their salvation; obedience and submission ought to be a no-brainer. Why wouldn't a son or a daughter love a father who is nothing but loving, nurturing and caring? Thus by implication and based upon the character of the Heavenly Father, earthly fathers ought to love their children with the love of God through and through. (see the Father's character in James 1:17 & Matthew 6:25-33) They will know when to lovingly apply the firm hand of discipline and when to show the proper measure of patient and mercy.

Closing thoughts:
Today we considered on-target Christian parenting. Our main point of application was: When your parenting is aimed at Jesus Christ, you will have all you need to thrive.

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