Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4... Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, ubut bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. This verse stuck with me when I read it in my devotional time with Jesus last week.
It led me to the conclusion that It's time for the MEN to OBEY!
Fathers... it doesn't get any more manly than that. Not all men are fathers, but all fathers are men. Paul is speaking directly to men in this passage. He's speaking to men with responsibilities, with a family, with a wife and children. He is speaking to the men of the church in Ephesus.
Bring them up in the discipline & instruction of the Lord... When I read this I started to think about it deeply. I began asking myself how I'm doing at this task, this charge, this calling. I have two 3 year olds. Am I bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord? If this is my calling, how can I do it? If it's my responsibility, how can I be ready, equipped & prepared?
Then I began thinking about the men in my city? The word father evokes so many different emotions. Many have no father. Many don't know who their father is. So many in our city have been abused, neglected or flat out ignored by their father. Some have been brought up by their father, but in the ways of the world rather than the ways of the Lord.
When I think of the word father I think of men who should be the rock that holds and leads a family together by faithfully following and pursuing Jesus. Instead I too often see men who leave, run from and shirk the responsibilities of family. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord? So many fathers don't bring their children up at all. Mother's are too often left with the full responsibility of raising their children. Why? For no other reason than God created them to bear children therefore it's much easier for men to run away, ignore or completely abandon what they see as a "problem."
What if? What if the Fathers in your church decided to Bring them [their children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord? What implications would that have on your family, your church, your community, our nation, our world and most importantly the Kingdom of God? As I think, as I pray and as I dream of a church full of men who passionately pursue obedience to this instruction from the Apostle Paul, I think of quite a few amazing, life altering, God-glorifiy implications.
1) More children than ever would have a father. Not just a "baby daddy" as so many in our culture describe the man who "simply" impregnated the mother. Children would actually have a man in their life, married to their mom, who is actively engaged in their up-bringing. Children would have a daddy who loves and pursues them the way our heavenly Father loves and pursues all of us.
2) Father's would have an active relationship with Jesus. In order to bring children up in the ways of the Lord, you have to know the ways of the Lord. In order to learn the ways of the Lord, Father's would find themselves engaged with the church... the body of Christ. They would find themselves reading God's word... the Bible. They would find themselves praying... because that's what the Bible tells them to do. They would find themselves filled with, led by and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God! How amazing this would be.
3) The horrific cycle of shattered homes, absentee fathers and aimless, godless, directionless children would be broken. Son's would grow up to be godly men. Daughters would be raised up to marry men of character, men of integrity... men of God.
4) The Kingdom of God would expand... rapidly! If only men would listen to this simple instruction from Paul, God's Kingdom would multiply. When we bring our kids up in the ways of the Lord, we're making them into disciples of Jesus. We're fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). What do all fully developed disciples do? They make more disciples.
From the simple decision to obey God's command... Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, ubut bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord... we could see an entire city, an entire nation, a whole world flipped upside down by men, husbands and fathers, making the choice to stand up and be what God has called and equipped them to be.
I believe It's time for the MEN to OBEY. By the grace of God... I'm in.
Will you join me?