15th September 2012

The Encouragement of the Family, Part 2

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:4 NKJV)

In this second study we will look at the need to bring children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. What does this mean? The Concise Oxford Dictionary states, ‘Nurture:  Bringing up, training, fostering care; nourishment.’ and ‘Admonition:  Warning, reproof.’

As the father of four, I know that parenting is not easy, but there are some things that are of first importance, and they are mentioned in the above scripture.  We would all recognise the need to provide food, shelter, clothing and security for our family, but this verse puts emphasis also on upbringing and training.  It is not just training, it is the training and admonition of the Lord.

What is often missing in child-training today is what used to be accomplished when families did a whole lot more together than they now do–eating, talking and playing together.  Modern-day living often robs us, and, particularly, our children of these family activities.

You might recall hearing the older generation talk of the things they ‘learned at their mother’s knee’.  And what were these things?  They were often the moral standards and virtues that prepared and set them up for life.  This is what the apostle is talking about here.  He is specifically talking about the standards that we learn from Jesus, from his teaching and his life and the need to teach them to our children.

God’s desire as expressed in the words and life of Jesus is to teach us how to live in such a way that things go well for us and for all those who are touched by us.  We have to learn to live together in such a way as to produce the best for everyone.  Sadly we live in a world today that puts the self first and cares little for the rest.  As scripture says, men have truly become lovers of their own selves!  As parents we should seek to instil in our children a way of living that is not primarily selfish, but rather that takes into account the needs of all.

Father in heaven, thank you that we are all unique creations, each with our contribution to make.  Help us to encourage the development of that uniqueness in our children and young folk, to see themselves in the larger picture recognising the needs of all.

Study by David Stirk

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