Do not hold back discipline from the child.
—Proverbs 23:13

How do you parent with S-U-C-C-E-S-S? The “E” in this acrostic stands for this: successful parents EXEMPLIFY godly character to their children.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Some things are better caught than taught?” Make no mistake about it: your children are listening to your words. But they are also watching your behavior to see if your walk is consistent with your talk. It is significant in Deuteronomy 6, before Moses tells parents what they are to teach their children, he says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” You can’t give to your kids that which is not in your own heart. If you want to teach your kids to love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength, then you as the parent have to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

The next “S” in the acrostic stands for this: effective parents SEEK to discipline their children consistently. The Bible talks about the importance of consistent discipline. We find three principles about discipline in the book of Proverbs. First, discipline should begin early in life. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” That word “diligently” means literally “at early dawn.” We need to begin discipline early in our child’s life, before it is too late. Second, discipline should be tailor-made for your child. Experts debate what kind of discipline is best–corporal punishment or verbal correction. You know what the biblical answer to that is? Both. You ought to tailor-make the discipline for what works best with your child. Some young children respond very well to physical discipline. Proverbs 23:13 says, “Do not hold back discipline from the child.” But there are some kids with whom verbal correction is the way to handle discipline. In Proverbs 29:17, Solomon says, “Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; he will also delight your soul.” That word “correct” refers to verbal reproof. And then third, discipline should be grounded in love. We never discipline out of anger but out of love. One sign that you are really a child of God is that when you step out of line, God brings correction into your life. Why does God do that to His own children? Not because He hates us, but because He loves us. Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” In the same way, the measure that we really love our children is our willingness to discipline them, not out of anger, but out of love.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Parenting with S-U-C-C-E-S-S” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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