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A Balanced Diet For Kids

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There is great concern over the diet of our children.

And this debate is finding its way into our diets.
More and more kids today are on special diets.
There are low carb diets, gluten-free diets, and even grain free diets for children.
There are kids on gluten-free diets.
There are kids that are on grain free diets.
When I was a kid, I didn’t know what a diet was.
The closest thing to a diet I knew of was Ultra-Slim Fast, and Tommy Lasorda was on it … and it didn’t seem to work for him.
And after all this special attention paid to children and their diets none of it’s working.
As of 2016, the average obesity rate among children was 10% higher than it was 40 years ago.
Up to 18.5% of children today are now considered obese.
That’s with an increased focus on healthy foods.
While we are concerned about the physical health and diet of our children, there is an even more pressing need on them.
There is a spiritual diet that children need.
Our text for today is .
It’s a small verse, but one that speaks of the spiritual diet that our children need.
It comes in the second half of Ephesians which is very practical.
Paul had just talked about marriage, and now he is talking about the family.
— 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
(NASB95) — 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
In the middle of the verse it says, “ bring them up”
To bring them up is similar to the diet of a child.
It has to do with the daily food, the daily nourishment of a child.
This verse has to do with what a healthy spiritual diet for a child is.
So let’s look at what the spiritual diet a child needs.

It begins by telling us not to provoke our children to anger.

I was a youth pastor for about 10 years.
And during that time, I have countless stories on how not to teach youth.
One of my favorite ways to not teach children is to try and provoke the behavior you don’t want in them.
I hope you’re following me in my use of double negatives.
One time we were teaching on anger.
And I thought, the best way to teach them not to be angry was to get them angry then tell them not to do that.
So we built a life size Sorry! board game.
It was huge.
My goal was to draw that Sorry! card as much as possible, you know, the one that allows you to remove any piece from the board, and send them back home.
Basically start them over.
It worked great, because by the end of the night I had an angry middle school youth group in tears.
By the end, we had a youth group of middle schoolers in tears.
I thought to myself, now they get it.
Now I can tell them not to be angry.
There were a few problems with my strategy, but one of the big ones is that it’s not a good thing to be angry.
The other error is that the kids didn’t listen to anything that I said, they were too angry.
In fact, it’s not a trait that we should strive for.
Outbursts of anger is mentioned in as a work of the flesh.
We may even justify our anger, and think that we have an anger that God would approve of, yet says that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Anger is dangerous, and not something we should strive for, which is why famously says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin ...”
Anger is dangerously close to a loss of self-control and never something that should define us.
Anger should not be a part of a healthy diet for your child.
In raising a child, there is sometimes this temptation to use emotions to gauge how well a child is learning.
The though is that if my child gets angry, if I can prick an emotion then he must be getting it, he must be listening.
But that is not the case, nor is that the diet that God has outlined for us.

A healthy biblical diet for your children is one of discipline and instruction

Discipline is the thought of correction.
We must remember, that our children need to born again.
Like King David before us, we inherit sin.
We are brought forth in iniquity.
We don’t have to learn to sin.
In fact, the first words out of your child’s mouth, probably weren’t “Mamma” or “Pappa”, it was … “No.”
Strange we have to teach them obedience, but never how to lie, steal or disobey, these things come naturally to them.
And so we must correct our children.
says — 13 Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. For the purpose of knowing the Lord.

For the purpose of knowing the Lord

You have been charged by God to discipline your child.
This is part of a child’s healthy diet.
Just as a physical diet needs more than fruit and vegetables, there’s also a need for protein.
A healthy spiritual diet for children needs more than just discipline, it needs instruction as well.
This is teaching them.
There are truths that they need to learn.
We get the wonderful privilege of sharing the glories of God with them.
says, “We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord ....”
Just as God has charged you to discipline your children, God has charged you to teach your children.
And use as an example.
As you go through the day, as you drive them to school, as you enjoy a meal at home together, use those times to teach your children of the glory of God.

This is all for the purpose of your child knowing the Lord.

You feed your children a healthy diet, because you don’t want them to be sick.
You have a goal in what you feed them.
And you are to give your child a healthy spiritual diet, because you know that their heart is sick, and you desire them to be born again and to receive a new heart.
In God’s great providence, godly parents are one of the tools that God uses to convert the next generation of children.
May you take the call and be diligent in how you spiritually feed your children.
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