Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4
Young children are so simple minded, but man can they create confusion in our lives. As fathers, obviously we are smarter, stronger, and more capable in every way than our young children. So why does it seem like they are always winning the war?
Well, maybe “war” is a bit strong. But all fathers of young children know there really are plenty of parenting battles throughout week, and it can be hard to know if we are doing a good job or not. Thankfully the Bible gives us some really specific advice on what our goals as fathers should be.
Ephesians 6:4 is one of the most specific verses given directly to fathers. So let’s unpack what Ephesians 6:4 means for fathers of young children.
Most Christians desire to give biblical counsel to those in need. Christians have been given amazing insight to humanities’ problems through the wisdom of God found within the Bible. But knowing the truth and counseling other people to understand the truth are entirely different.
So here are 3 tips for Christians who desire to offer biblical counsel to those in need.
Tip 1: Christians Must Show They Care Before They Offer Biblical Counsel
During my years as a pastor, I had a reoccurring experience while counseling people at public places like coffee shops or restaurants. I would be right in the middle of offering biblical counsel to someone and a nearby Christian who neither of us knew would over hear our conversation and chime in with their thoughts.
What just happened? A moment ago I was the captain of my high school hockey team. I was a college student who married young. I was a young professional going on all kinds of crazy adventures with my hot wife. Life made so much sense. But then it happened.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”-Mark 10:27
The American dream is taught to children at a young age, “If you work hard and believe in yourself, you can be anything you want to be.” Is this really true? Does the Bible really say that if you believe in yourself, you can be whatever you want?
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you deeply? Sadly this is a question every human will have to answer if they hope to keep their heart healthy.
If you have close friends, relatives you love, a spouse, children, or any other significant relationship, the possibility for hurt will never leave and thus forgiveness will always be deeply needed.
Therefore, the first step in forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply is to prepare in advance before the hurt even happens.
1 Peter 2:16, 2 Timothy 3:5
Many modern Christians have traded in legalism for spiritualism. The legalist emphasizes what you do externally. The spiritualist emphasizes your motivations, thoughts, and feelings that occur internally. Christians however, are supposed to focus on the inner and outer life.
The way to avoid legalism in Christianity is not to abandon good deeds in exchange for good motives. The way to avoid legalism in Christianity is to have good deeds with good motives, to obey God’s law out of a relational love for him.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Colossians 2:16-17, 23
In Jesus’ time on earth, one of his main battles with the Pharisees revolved around the Sabbath, which was supposed to be a time of resting from working. The Jews were governed by the laws of the Torah, and there it explicitly states not to work on the Sabbath.
Jesus could have just gone along with what they wanted as a way of keeping the peace, but he didn’t. Jesus clearly had an equally strong conviction about how the Sabbath rest should be viewed. He wanted to show people that the Sabbath is important not so much because we are to rest from our work, but more so because we must rest in God. So what’s the importance of resting in God?
Those who Jesus spent his time with were the very ones the Pharisees sought to avoid. It’s easy to pass judgment on the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, thinking we would never act as repulsively as them.
Jesus did heal the physically ill, but ultimately he came to heal the spiritually ill. Jesus performed miracles on the sick to symbolize how he alone is able to perform a miracle on the sinful. The mission field for all of us, if we are followers of Jesus, is not ultimately the physically sick, but the spiritually sinful.
I am sure we all have heard the phrase, “Time heals all wounds.” But does time really heal? Does the Bible actually say that time heals all wounds?
(Note: Most of AGW’s content is much shorter. I’ve categorized this piece under “sermons” due to its length.)
In Genesis 20, Abimelech was deceived by Abraham. Abraham lied to Abimelech about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife. In Genesis 20:18 we see that Abimelech was negatively impacted by the deceit of Abraham. Abimelech did nothing but believe the words of Abraham, and yet God did not spare Abimelech of the consequences of following Abraham’s lies.
Likewise, when we are deceived by others and thus participate in their wrong doings, either inadvertently or otherwise, God still holds each of us accountable for doing the right things regardless if we were duped or not.
In short, God expects all of us to avoid being deceived by others. Thankfully, we can learn from Genesis 20:1-18 on how to avoid falling for the lies of others.