The Discipline Years
Introduction (10 min):
Jab 1: In his book Revolutionary Parenting, George Barna says there are three dominant approaches to parenting in the United States. Parenting by default is what Barna terms the path of least resistance. This approach is influenced by cultural norms and traditions. The objective is to keep everyone as happy as possible so the parents can still enjoy the other prioritized aspects of their lives.
Trial-and-error parenting is based on the notion that every parent is an amateur at raising children. There are no absolute guidelines to follow, so the best that parents can do is experiment, observe outcomes, and improve upon their successes and failures. In this incremental approach, the goals of parenting are to continually perform better than most other parents.
Barna found that a more revolutionary approach to parenting was the least common approach. Revolutionary parenting takes God's words on life and family at face value and seeks to apply them faithfully and consistently.
Perhaps the most startling difference in these approaches to parenting has to do with the desired outcomes. "Parenting by default and trial-and-error are both approaches that enable parents to raise their children without the effort of defining their life," Barna explained. "Revolutionary parenting, which is based on one's faith in God, makes parenting a life priority. Those who engage in revolutionary parenting define success as intentionally facilitating faith-based transformation in the lives of their children, rather than simply accepting the aging and survival of the child as a satisfactory result."
Jab 2: A.W. Tozer, in his book, Men Who Met God, wrote, “We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the musician's instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not "disciplined"?
Right hook: There is what seems to be a lack of discipline in our culture today. This is evident in weight loss crazes, new year’s resolutions, and in the massive debts that Americans carry. Our Churches are filled with spiritually undisciplined people. Our homes are filled with undisciplined children. As mentioned earlier, parents are looking for the easiest ways to raise kids and not cause any trouble. Today in our series, Parenting Through Proverbs, we are talking about the Discipline Years in parenting. My prayer for us is that as we look at God and discipline that we would be encouraged to implement the same into our families. God is the one that sets the precedent for discipline, let’s follow His example.
Read: Proverbs 3:11-12
Explanation (10 min):
Three Foundational Truths: *We as Parents need to understand and we must teach to our kids.*
1. God made us: Your kids need to know that God is the creator and that He made them with purpose. Genesis 1:26 says,
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
2. God loves us: Your kids need to know that God’s love for us is amazing. Romans 8:37-39 says,
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. God disciplines us: Your kids need to know that because God loves us, He disciplines us when it is necessary. Revelation 3:19 says,
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Application (10 min):
Knowing that God mad us, loves us, and disciplines us helps us as parents to properly raise our children. There are two essential practices that we learn from God that we must pass to our children.
Love Unconditionally. Our love for our children should be endless. There are going to be, if it hasn’t already happened, times where your children will hurt you greatly. In these moments you may want to cut ties and let them go or you may ridicule them and never forgive them. We must remember what 1 John 4:19 says,
We love because he first loved us.
We must never let conditions rule the love we are to have for our children. They will disappoint you, they will hurt you, but never stop loving them. It may be that love that eventually helps them see their errors and bring them to repentance.
Discipline Persistently. This is a very difficult thing to do. I feel this can be the most exhausting part of parenting. But it must be done. Proverbs 13:24 says,
Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
We as parents are counseled to discipline our children so that they do not continue in their foolishness that ultimately will lead to their destruction. When we discipline we impart wisdom and promote a happy, healthy family that is rooted in love. Proverbs 29:15 says,
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
One of the most amazing things about parenting for me has been my kids still coming to me to hug me after they have been disciplined. When discipline is done right they will still love you and come to you. This is what we should be doing with God as well.
Conclusion: John Owen said very simply, “Love precedes discipline.” The Discipline Years of parenting are crucial. It is the time when we as parents have an opportunity to affect culture by raising up God-fearing, honest, and integrity filled children. Discipline points them on the right way and helps them stay off of the paths of destruction. Remember, our discipline should come fourth out of our love. I challenge you this morning to allow God to teach you through discipline. I challenge you to in turn teach your children the way of the wise through discipline. May God bless you as you guide your children in the ways of the LORD.