“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:1-3). While this command and promise are directed to children, the following verse addressed to fathers, makes it clear that parents, and fathers in particular, are required to make sure this command is obeyed, and in so doing, become recipients of the promise also. The whole family is blessed when children are obedient. “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother… Correct your son and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Prov. 29:15, 17).
This is not just talking about “some day” when the kids are all grown and have somehow magically come to their senses and become civilized human beings. That rest and delight for your soul should be starting now. A home that is disciplined according to the word of God is a restful place to be. A home where the children are corrected and required to honor their mother and father is a place the whole family wants to be. But a home where whims and lusts and emotions rule, where children are left to their own devices and parents let them, is an embarrassing and oppressive place to live.
But you cannot command this peace or delight in your souls to appear. You cannot stamp your feet and holler and spank and expect joy to break out in your home out of nothing. You are not some kind of god. No, that joy and peace must first be settled and abundant in your hearts. It must be spilling out of your mouth, in the tone of your voice, in your laughter at the dinner table, and in your delight over your family, your children, your spouse, and all rooted in the goodness of your Savior.
Then, correction and discipline are not tyrannical weapons, but rather they are love, insisting that your family stay together in the joy of the Lord, stay in the peace of the gospel. Children will give delight to your soul when the center of everything is God’s delight in You in Jesus, and discipline and correction is merely joyfully guarding that precious treasure.
Worshipping on the West Coast says
My first child was born on January 7, 2020. This is, needless to say, a gift of a blog post.