Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
There comes a time when our children may not listen to our words or even follow our example, and that is the time for discipline. The Bible has a great deal to say about the discipline of our children. For example, Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” And Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” And Proverbs 23:13-14: “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.”
Let me be clear: anytime you harm a child, anytime you discipline out of anger, that is not godly discipline; that is abuse. Biblical discipline is measured, it is appropriate, and it is done out of love for the child, not anger. And that is what Paul exhibited toward his spiritual children in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 4:18, 21, he warned the Corinthians of the discipline he was going to bring to them: “Some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. . . . Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?” As we discover in chapter 5, Paul went to discipline a group of church members who were misbehaving.
I have seen it happen in far too many churches: somebody is practicing open immorality and shaming the name of Jesus Christ, or teaching false doctrine and leading people astray, or sowing seeds of division in the church–and church leaders do absolutely nothing about it. They reason to themselves, “We do not have a right to judge. Besides, we do not want to run anybody out of the church. Maybe the problem will just take care of itself.”
Have you ever known cancer to just take care of itself? Sometimes things need to be dealt with in a loving but firm way. There comes a time when we have to say to our children, “I love you too much to allow you to continue in this behavior.” That is how we help mold our children to become like Jesus Christ.
One day, we are all going to give an account of our lives. Have we invested our lives in things that are going to last for eternity, or have we poured our lives into that which is worthless? There are only two things that are going to last for eternity: God’s Word and His people. The best use of your life is to spend it instilling the Word of God into the people of God–starting with your own children and grandchildren.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Building a Legacy That Lasts” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.