Category: guidance

Skillful Living 101—22 Parenting

Parenting . . . the hardest most complex job on earth. Yet parenting holds the highest value and reward of anything we might possibly do with our life.

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

As a parent I am so grateful to have an instruction manual on child rearing—as I’m sure all parents are.

Unfortunately—most instruction manuals or directions don’t get read until completely necessary. If you’re young—please be encouraged to read the manual now! If you are in the middle of raising children—read the manual now! If your children are young adults—especially read the manual now! If you are a grandparent—read the manual now! It’s never too early or too late!

Being on this end of life where all but one of my kids are grown adults, I sometimes bemoan the fact that there are no “do-overs” when it comes to raising children.

If your kids are grown and your heart is heavy—caught up in regretfully recounting your mistakes—remember there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. Ask for forgiveness—forgive yourself and do God’s best from here on out. God is a faithful redeemer—He redeems our errors and covers our sin.

The first ingredient to parenting is humble, unconditional love. We must by grace and the Holy Spirit’s assistance, love our kids the way God loves us—He never gives up on us. We must always hope and believe in our children. Sometimes love takes on different forms of behavior—this means—tough love is sometimes necessary.

At times I marvel at how complex parenting really is. Parenting is a letting go adventure. These children are born to us, of our own flesh and blood—and we lovingly train them to grow up—leave us—and live their own lives.

Parenting, from the very first hour, demands complete reliance on God. I am so thankful to have an all knowing, all loving, all understanding One to lean on. Prayerfully depending on God is imperative. Since raising children is a lifelong commitment with so many ups, downs and curves—all scripture applies.

One of the things I know—from experience—is we the parents, cannot instruct or impart to our children what we do not ourselves possess. If we want our children to be healthy people of integrity and good character, then we must be as well. There is no room for double-mindedness. Most things are caught rather than taught.

Proverbs—the Book of Skillful Living has crucial advice on parenting—no matter your stage of life.

Let’s look at Proverbs 22 and, with a sincere heart, intentionally live these principles and purpose to teach them to our children and grandchildren.

Verse 1—“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

  • Taking on the name of Christ—invaluable
  • God’s favor—vital

Verse 2—“The rich and the poor have this in common; the Lord is the maker of them all.”

  • Identity is found in Christ alone

Verse 4—“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.”

  • Humility and the fear of the Lord are high priorities to God
  • The fear of the Lord inherit within a person helps them to love and obey God and parents
  • Honoring God aids us in honoring our self and others, as well as authority

Verse 5, 3, 8, 10, 24, 25—“Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.”

  • Guarding your soul from evil is crucial to a successful life

Verse 6—“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

  • We can never stop pouring God’s love and Word into our kids. I’ve seen this dynamic take place in the life of my 2nd son. When he gave up living for himself and surrendered to God—all that had been poured into his heart as a child never departed—God’s Word is timeless, alive and active, it never sleeps but always accomplishes what God sets out to do.
  • Love the church and teach kids the same

Verses 11 & 14—“He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.” “The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; he who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there.”

  • A love for purity and grace are never overrated
  • Friendship with the King—highly valuable!

Verse15—“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:17, Proverbs 13:24

  • The Word repeatedly warns—If we love our children we will discipline them
  • Loving discipline and correction will create healthy adults
  • Warning to fathers: Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Verses 18 & 19—“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord”

  • Preserve wisdom, knowledge and trust in your heart
  • Teach kids to bind themselves to Godly wisdom

Verse 29 & 13—“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”

  • God seriously does not approve of slothful behavior
  • Diligently teach Children diligence
  • A good work ethic is priceless

Skillful Living Tools:

    • Children are a heritage and reward—enjoy them!
    • Children are a huge responsibility—train them in the ways of the Lord
    • Read and apply the instruction manual—the Bible
    • Pray without ceasing
    • Teach kids to prayerfully depend on God
    • Teach integrity and Godly moral character
    • Do not be double minded
    • Teach kids to be single focused—God first
    • Love never fails—unconditionally love the kids God gifted to you
    • Fathers, do not provoke your children
    • Love the church and teach kids the same

Please be encouraged to surrender your parenting to God and His Word—trusting Him for all the answers.

Side Note: God is redeeming the struggling, wayward child—no matter their age. My heart knows the anguish of watching your child self-destruct. My advice to you—keep your heart focused on God. Find peace and rest for your heart, in relationship with Him for He cares for you and can carry your burden, if you will just give it to Him. I am praying for you and your children.

Read and apply all of Proverbs 22 and please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated) at the top of this page!

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Skillful Living 101—13 Correction

Correction. A common thread throughout Proverbs 13.

It seems an almost unacceptable concept and such an abrasive word these days. We live in a culture that does not want to be corrected, convicted or disciplined—no just pacified with an extreme illusion of grace.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a grace person—I couldn’t live without it. In my less mature stages of life, I used grace—basically as a pass to do what I wanted and to view Christianity from my own narrow perspective. As I’ve grown in understanding of the fear of the Lord and the Bible, I now know grace to be the wind beneath the wings, of my obedience to God’s will.

Proverbs 13 starts and ends with guidance on discipline, obedience, correction and rebuke. By now we see that the entire book of Skillful Living (Proverbs) is saturated with scriptures referring to these topics. The Lord is speaking to us— instructing us, for our own good, to be wise and embrace understanding, discipline, correction, rebuke and instruction.

The following six verses from Proverbs 13 portray the importance of submitting to correction.

Verse 1—A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.

Verse 10—Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.

Verse 13—People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.

Verse 14—The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death.

Verse 18—Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored. (NKJ)

Verse 24—Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Proverbs 13:24 bluntly states, if parents do not discipline their children—then they hate them! Pretty drastic don’t you think? Let’s face it—God’s Word is radical. (To be honest that’s one reason I love it so much!)

Some may protest—how can God the Father, the God of love, discipline or rebuke His children??? Essentially it’s because of love that He disciplines us—otherwise He’d hate us!

God the Father cares enough for us that He will discipline, convict, correct and rebuke us, so that we can be humble and wise. Please do not get caught up in the devil’s plan and get offended by this.

Hebrews 12:7
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?

Proverbs 3:12
My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.  For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

It’s truth—it’s Bible!

Be encouraged to embrace God’s love by accepting correction—you’ll be all the wiser if you do!

Skillful Living Tools:

  • Embrace God’s correction
  • View grace as that which helps you obey God’s will
  • Be humble—take advice
  • Respect a command
  • Accept instruction—avoid the snares of death
  • Regard a rebuke and be honored
  • Love your children enough to discipline them
  • Stay clear of offense
  • Endure divine discipline
  • Don’t get upset when God corrects you

Please share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated weekly) at the top of this page!