Enemies of the Family: Part 2 of 2
by John Lowe
ENEMY #4 IS CARELESSNESS.
Ephesians 6:4 states—“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Fathers are advised not to provoke their children to anger. This means, obviously, that discipline must be fair and just. But it also means that fathers must not be careless with their children. No father is so poor that he cannot pay attention to his child! Children experience deep anger when they realize that one or both of their parents are not really interested in them.
A man once said to his pastor, “My father was an excellent carpenter, but he never showed me how to do one thing. He could have helped me so much, but he never noticed me.” Behind that complaint, the pastor was able to detect a hidden anger that had blocked the son’s emotional and spiritual growth for years.
Children know they have a right to be considered. They feel deep anger, which is usually repressed, when parents don’t listen or set boundaries or show interest or expect excellence. We must not be careless with our children, not only for their sakes, but also for our own. One way or another, fathers have to pay attention to their children. Ideally, fathers will be there to offer support to their children at the time in their lives when it can bring joy and growth. If support comes too late to help, all that is left to do is hurt.
ENEMY #5 IS IGNORANCE OF THE LORD.
Listen as I read Ephesians 6:4 again—“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The greatest strength in any home is the knowledge of the Lord. The Jewish fathers were given the high task of instructing their children about the Lord and His deliverance of their people from bondage. It was a command of God to Israel, but it is also for us today.
In Deuteronomy God said—“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the ordinances which the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it; that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged. Hear, therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them; that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; (Now,
this is what I want you to hear.) and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).
God has given to His people commands that are to be passed along to their children so they “may fear the Lord” and keep His commandments so that their “days may be prolonged.” As the children of Israel trekked from Egypt to the Promised Land, the teaching of children was not an activity to be done at a particular location or during a particular time of day. Rather, it was instruction that was interwoven with all the activities of life. The teaching was to be while they were sitting, walking, lying down, and rising up.
In our text, Paul reminds us that children must be brought up “in the training and instruction” of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4). If they are not taught, they are ignorant. It is not because children are dumb or stubborn that they don’t know God’s way; it is because their parents have not taught them. It is not the school’s fault, and it is not the church’s fault if children are spiritually illiterate; spiritual knowledge is the responsibility of the parents. However, in godly matters, we cannot teach others what we have not experienced ourselves. If we are not on speaking terms with God, we will not be able to teach our children what they need to know.
Beware of the enemies that seek to destroy your family. Ask God to help you defend against permissiveness, drunkenness, selfishness, carelessness, and ignorance.
If you must confess that you do not know the Lord well enough to teach your children, then He invites you to start to walk with Him in faith, so that you may indeed be wise and successful in making the most of the time you have with your family.
Ephesians 5:15-16 states—“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
There is an opportunity for each of us to serve the Lord, to witness for Christ, to be a channel of blessing, and to advance the cause of Christ. We must recognize the opportunity, and appreciate it, and take hold of it for God’s glory.
Because the days are evil, there are many obstacles in the way, and there is much opposition to God, and much corruption in the world. The days are full of difficulty, danger, darkness, and death. Therefore, we dare not lose one opportunity by letting things drift aimlessly and carelessly. Instead, fight against the enemies of our family by trusting God and being obedient to what He says through His Word.