Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, Provoke Not

4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

To exasperate children produces the opposite result a parent desires. The nurture and admonition of the Lord, suggests that we consider how the Lord Jesus Christ gave His trainees direction and do the same ourselves. He “chose Him twelve, that they might be with Him…” To be with children is probably one of the best ways to pass on to them what they need to learn. After spending 3 ½ years with the Lord, His disciples were on their own but were empowered by the Spirit of God for all of their lives. Children who have learned from a present (not an absentee) father, have the power of his personality to give guidelines and direction to decisions they must make – “What did Dad do in this situation?” “How did he use his time and abilities?” A clear understanding of the Bible and its contents as it relates to life is a must. An active prayer life in which a man is an intercessor for his family is a must. An oral or written history of one’s own experiences is a great asset in instructing children.

“The nurture and admonition of the Lord” indicates that the father is still under the tutelage of his own Master. He is not above saying. “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” The “bringing them up” process is not done until they are on their own and out from under your roof.

From fathers come the joys, privileges and responsibility of lives yet to come to completion:
Life-blood flows from one life to another – across the generations unseen and real.
Look-alike eyes, features, skin tones, facial shapes, body language –
All join together to form a new personality, a new entity, a new person made in the image of God to be entrusted into the hands, heart and care of a father.

This new person originated in the mind and power of God who chose the ways and means of passing on what He knows is best, to those He entrusts with His heritage – children.
But who is to care, comfort, protect and instruct those who come from God? – fathers.
They are those who have learned from those before them, good or bad – they have learned.

Pressures applied: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, familial, cultural – all used.
Used to mold, direct, encourage, challenge, reveal, instill, unfold – things that are up to now unseen. Then comes the problem – how to do this great work in a proper way for all concerned. What is at the disposal of a father to produce in the lives of his children what God intends?

Sarcasm, antagonism, scorn are never acceptable tools to use to direct another person into the way of life eternal. Expectations expressed clearly, reasonable demands, parameters that are precise enough to know are ways to direct a young person’s mind and actions. Consistency in practice, discipline, modeling has influence that goes far beyond mere words. A child could be provoked when demands are made on them that we have never made on ourselves. Provocation comes when directions are given loudly, forcefully, unkindly, impatiently. None of these will produce the desired results and has the tendency to provoke others to anger.

“O Gracious Father of fathers: the heritage of children entrusted to our care is such a great blessing, I can hardly express properly how much I appreciate it. And yet, the necessity of bringing them up for Thee and in Thy ways is more than I can accomplish without divine guidance. Instruct me please, each day in every way possible that I might not provoke them and at the same time, not leave untaught what my family has a right to learn from me. Amen.”

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