5 Ways You Might Be “Provoking Your Children To Wrath”
No one will have as much influence on the life of your child as you will! Don’t let that scare you…that is God’s design for the family! There is nothing that scares me more, though, than realizing that my actions have long-lasting and often irreversible consequences on my children. The path that I direct my children along will be the path that they follow the rest of their lives.
While there are many examples of parents in Scripture, some good and some not-so-good, there are actually few passages with direct commands given to parents. Let’s consider one in this article. In Ephesians 6:4 Paul writes, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Parents, fathers specifically, are commanded not to provoke their children to wrath. What does that mean? Better yet, what does that look like? I remember watching a video on Animal Planet years ago of a man trying to release a tiger.
credit: Animal Planet
The tiger was reluctant to leave the cage, even though the door was wide open. The ranger began poking the animal with a stick and made the tiger very angry; so angry in fact that he jumped out of the cage, sprang into the window of the truck, and wildly attacked the man!
credit Animal Planet
There are things that you can do as a parent that will ‘provoke’ your children to sinful actions. Is it possible that there are areas you are overlooking in your parenting that might be walking your child down a wrong path? Consider these five areas!
1…having unconfessed sin in your life
Proverbs 28:13 says that “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” God hates sin so much that if left un-confessed, the consequences often can reach down to your children. Have you considered the example of Achan? He sinned by taking the gold and garment and hid them under his tent.
As you read the story, Scripture reveals that not only did Achan pay for his sin but his whole family as well. In fact, it is quite possible within the text that Achan’s family knew about the gold and was involved in the hiding. We don’t know that….but either way his sin caused the destruction of his family. Keep the slate clean with God and sins confessed!
2…being a stumbling block
Your child does not have the life experience that you do as an adult. There are choices that you might make for yourself that you wouldn’t give second thought to how they would affect you. You have enough life experience and understanding to put things into perspective. Your child does not!
Paul tells us on many occasions in I Corinthians that we are to moderate our actions in order to protect those who have a weaker conscience. This would include your children! This doesn’t mean that you keep them in a bubble forever, but you need look for ’teachable moments’ to help guide and direct their Biblical understanding.
Keep this in mind as well…what you do in moderation, your kids will do in excess! The things that you think are no big deal can easily become life-long distractions for a child that is impressionable.
3…giving excuse to sin
Are there habits (maybe even sinful habits) that have a foothold in your life? Your sin might possibly become a stronghold in the life of you children. Consider for a moment the sins with which David struggled. Adultery, lying, and murder! What a list! …and yet God was able to still use him because he had a repentant heart and cried for mercy. However, it is sad to see that David’s sins affected his immediate and distant family in ways that were devastating!
Are there areas of family life that could provoke your children to wrath? Is it possible that the priorities in the home are directing your children toward a path that will lead them away from righteousness?
4…by not disciplining
A child left to himself will bring his mother to shame…Proverbs 29:15. Why? Because the heart of a child is the same as the heart of every man. It is bound up in a nature that is dominated by sin! What does that mean? I means that self-discipline (which is the goal of discipline) will not come automatically but must be developed over time through Biblical means. Scripture is exceptionally clear that a father that loves his child will chasten him! Don’t provoke you children to wrath by leaving them up to their own sin nature.
5…by not focusing on God’s Word in the home
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Although this is a command for the Israelites, the lesson is both clear and very applicable for us today! We should be just as persistent as the Israelites in teaching our children Biblical truth at all times of the day! The benefits of this could be in incredible Godly heritage passed along from generation to generation!
Do you see that your actions can have a profound effect on your kids? YOU are charged with bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and YOU are commanded not to provoke them to wrath! You will be the greatest influence in you child’s life…influence for righteousness.
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DJHarry Isaiah 64:8 We are the clay!