In my last blog post, we explored some of the problems in children resulting from the lack of biblical discipline from their parents. In this post, I’ll give you 3 practical steps to begin the process of forming discipline in your children.
We have to deal with laziness. We must instill a desire for godly dominion in our children. God put us on earth to work, not to play. Your children have a responsibility to exercise dominion over the world, not to run away from the responsibilities that God has given them (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15, 19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11; 1 Timothy 5:13). Man has the responsibility of getting his hands dirty in the task of taking dominion in God’s created world. The Dominion Man desires to rule over sin and solve the problems and hardships that tempt him to deny God’s law. Often, we fail at this but we keep trying with reliance upon the Holy Spirit. When we are disciplined, the sin that overcame us yesterday is the sin that we conquer today. The errors we made in our callings yesterday are tools and learning experiences for dominion today and we must thank God and take pride in our work knowing that our labor is not in vain. We must teach these principles to our children. The self-centered child who is used to thinking only of his own immediate gratification will have trouble with this. It will be difficult for the parents to cultivate a godly desire toward work in the child but it can be done with the Sprit’s enablement. Self-centered children only see the here-and-now. They are not future oriented. They do not see that hard work done today will pay off tomorrow. God will give future blessings to those who are obedient to His Law and put their hands to the plow. The opposite is also true. Those who do not work and obey will experience God’s cursing. We must teach this to our kids.
We must teach our children that their first priority is to obey and please God before pleasing themselves. We must also pray that God would give our children the heart that cries out: “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times” (Psalm 119:20). We must pray that our children’s source of joy is to serve the Lord their God with cheerful obedience.
We must cause a little godly frustration for our children. Things will not go well for a child who is never frustrated. Why? Because it’s impossible for an adult to live in a fallen world to not have frustration. In our fallen world, the conflict of wills is a daily battle and some level of frustration results. We must teach our children to cope with frustration in a Godly way and one way to do that is to “stage” a little frustration in their lives when they are still little enough for you to control the outcome of their decisions in a controlled environment. Discipline in childhood is an education in frustration and a training in patience and work (Hebrews 5:8). Discipline prepares them for frustration by giving them the character and fortitude to overcome it. Scripture says by frustrating the child, we deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:13-14 tells us that if we withhold godly discipline from our children, we will do just that. You will help deliver them into eternal frustration. Our children naturally do not want to read. They don’t want to study. They don’t want to work. They don’t want to keep working on that math problem until they get it right. They want you to make it easy for them. They want you to give them the answers. Don’t give them the answers. Frustrate them by making them read. Frustrate them by making them try the problem until they get it right. This doesn’t have to be done with a sour face. Do it with a smile. Encourage them to persevere because it will pay off down the road. For the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.