Many folks will recognize the reference to the “camp song” in the title of this post. I am a “C”. I am a “C-H.” I am a “C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.” And I have “C-H-R-I-S-T” in my “H-E-A-R-T” and I will “L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y”!
It’s catchy. If you don’t know the tune, click here to check it out.
More on that later.
Today I took the first of a much needed two day vacation. My children have a snow day, so it is family day at the Coughlin home. I sat with my eldest 3 children to do a devotional today. I wanted to communicate to them why we have discipline for our youngest, Wesley who is only 1. Often I find my older children giving in to his mildly tyrannical demands, a trend I don’t want to see continue. I also don’t want my older kids who are just trying to help and who are genuinely trying to love their little brother to be discouraged.
So I turned them to 5 verses, studied in the following order.
In this verse we noticed the stark contrast between parents who are loving (provide discipline) and haters (neglect discipline).
In this verse, we saw the nature of children (foolish) and the remedy (discipline).
Here we saw the use of the rod bringing the opposite of the innate foolishness of a child, to the child. We also see the unfortunate effect of a foolish child. Shame to Mom! May I confess my own personal sin in that area for which Jesus (and my Mom) have graciously forgiven me.
Finally, we saw this wonderful promise that proper discipline will not harm the child, but rather, it will provide him/her with life. It is this type of discipline which loving parents apply to their children which allows children to see the personal promise which is offered when they obey their parents. (Exodus 20:12). We saw how parents and children work together to eliminate foolishness from the child’s heart God’s way.
So I asked my children, what is the proper heart response to parents who are trying to discipline according to the nurture and admonition of God? They responded that it should make them feel good; they realized there should be an acknowledgement that they are inherently foolish in their hearts and that they should actually crave discipline…so that they may reach the point where they are no longer fools.
Any child who claims to be a Christian ought to be challenged to believe these Scriptures and respond as if they really believed them which would look like gratitude, affection toward parents and ultimately, obedience.
Then I thought of this song referenced earlier and I asked my children to each write a new song with the truths they learned. I gave them a starting point, here are the results to the tune of “I am a ‘C.'” Say capital letters individually, not as words.
Bailey – 14
I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHILD.
and I am FOOLISH in my HEART and if I am not disciplined I will DIE!
Alexandra – 10
I am a C, I am a CH. I am a CHILD.
and I have FOOLISHNESS in my HEART and only DISCIPLINE and CHRIST can SAVE me!
Nicholas – 12
I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHILD.
and I have FOOLISHNESS in my HEART and I will need DISCIPLINE!
Special thanks to LOGOS Bible software for the cool verse images and Daniel J. Phillips and his book God’s Wisdom in Proverbs.
Jason Marianna says
Good stuff, bro. It’s amazing how an issue so clear in Scripture can become so confusing, even to believers
Random thought: I need to make use of Logos more.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Jason!
I read that the rod in Proverbs is the same rod shepherds used to guide their sheep, not beat or hit them. I also interpret discipline to mean “make a disciple of.” The most effective I’ve been in my parenting has been when I teach my kids using words, examples, and empathy, rather than harshness, rigidity, or strictness. Maybe we’re saying essentially the same thing, but, knowing our differences, probably not.
Just my two cents. I finally got my face out of Facebook, and now you get to deal with my comments! 🙂
Thanks for reading and commenting, Katelyn!
Jon Feuerborn says
Godly discipline is often viewed as counterintuitive to even well-meaning Christians in our society which (obviously) doesn’t value the concept, or even think too much about it – except to challenge Christians who take the Bible’s commands seriously.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences on the matter, brother. It’s a subject that should garner much attention in our lax American culture.
Vaya con Dios, mi hermano.