It grieves my heart to hear a dad say he isn’t leading his family in the Word every day. We aren’t to be motivated in a legalistic, checking a box sort of way, but rather to use it as a joyful opportunity to wash/feed your family with the pure living Word of God (Eph. 5:26). It is a daily opportunity to build up while Satan is working to tear down.
God uses the analogy of building a house to a legacy of descendants that will follow the Lord. “And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, …” (1 Kings 11:38).
I love the example in Nehemiah as he rebuilt the walls. “As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built” (Nehemiah 4:18). This pictures always having the Word of God ready and at your side while you build. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Many dads have experienced heightened emotions–okay, terror–on handing their car keys to their son for the first time. The combination of the son’s driving ability, attitude, and level of responsibility all might proportionally affect Dad’s emotions. Dad is giving his son the authority to drive the family vehicle, registered in Dad’s name, and hereby Dad might have over-the-top liability should something go very wrong.
God established authority structures on earth and in marriage has given husbands the higher authority as exemplified in Ephesians 5:22-24 and 6:4. Husbands and wives are a team, but Dad leads the team because God has placed him in that role. Therefore, we will answer to God for what we did with the authority He entrusted to us.
Cars and dollars are temporal and will burn one day. However, our children have eternal souls. We will be held accountable for what we have poured into their lives.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24).
How heavy is your burden for your children and grandchildren that they would be dynamic followers of the Lord Jesus Christ? Not that they would merely spend eternity in heaven and not hell, but that they would love the Lord with all their heart soul mind and strength. The Lord is clear in how we do this.
“… The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,…” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
Notice the first command is to “thou” (you). God’s Word is to have a treasured place in our hearts (Matt 6:21), and we live it out as examples before our children. Then we purposefully teach it to our children at a minimum in our daily family Bible time. Our life affirms what we are teaching them.
A man I was sharing Christ with this week’s most significant problem with Christianity was all the hypocrites. That will be our children’s difficulty, too, if they see Dad as a hypocrite.
We live it, because “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:17).
I didn’t know that a husband and wife could hate each other to that level. Their marriage didn’t get “there” overnight. It took years of unresolved offenses piling up until the “dam” broke loose. They were both to blame, but God held the husband to the greater responsibility. How do I know that? Because God gives husbands greater authority and therefore holds them responsible for its use.
That husband once told me, “But you don’t know my wife.” Likely others might say the same thing about their wives, but they shouldn’t count on the Lord’s sympathy. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus died a horrible death to purchase His bride with His blood. I am commanded by God to love my wife to the extent of dying for her. One thing about a dead man hanging on the cross—he isn’t going to argue or get angry.
Do you want to treasure your wife? Invest in her. The more you invest, the more she feels valued, and the more you will treasure her. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 5:21). Why not invest to the point of being thrilled with your love for her?
(BTW: The dad I mentioned above is dead now due to a serious health problem. Coincidental? I don’t think so. I believe God took him out.)
Any man who reads his Bible will likely remember Jehu. Elisha anointed Jehu king and gave him instructions from God. Jehu was to eliminate many wicked people from the nation, and Jehu was zealous in his obedience.
All appeared to be good with Jehu until 2 Kings 10:29-32, where we learn of Jehu’s struggles. Jehu was enslaved with the same thing that also brings many believers down today–idolatry. Do you know you likely struggle with idolatry too? Today our idol appears to be “covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). The idols we covet may be food, pleasure, entertainment, sports, beauty, or whatever the idol du jour may be for you.
Brothers, lay your hearts and lives open before the Lord. Ask Him to examine your life, then repent of whatever your idolatry might be, and follow Him.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them” (Colossians 3:5-7).
Recently, a dad was sharing how the current pandemic is affecting them. He wasn’t the first to say that he is allowing his son more online game time to pass the time he isn’t in school. Inwardly I groaned.
Why did I groan? This young man is missing what could be a great blessing in his life. Time is the most valuable thing we have. Not only is there the question of what we redeem our time for, but also what appetites are developed or fueled by time usage. Rather than helping their son redeem his time, this young man’s parents appear to be encouraging him to waste it and create appetites for more time-wasting in the coming years by allowing him more gaming time.
When I am cutting down a tree, how I notch it, will determine whether it falls on a fence or in the clear. The appetites created in your children’s lives right now impact what their time is worth to God’s kingdom now and in the future and it also impacts their future family.
Challenge your children to learn information and skills that will make their time valuable. Create an environment in your home where learning is desirable, the norm, and where entertainment is considered wasteful.
If you have a TV, this is the perfect time to get it out for the trash pickup. Brother, lead your family by example. If you need encouragement, read with your children Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family and Buying a House Debt-Free, Equipping Your Son. Then after reading these books, if you still need some ideas and encouragement, let’s talk.
“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want” (Proverbs 21:5).
What do Noah, Abraham, David, and Judas all have in common? What came to my mind is that each was living normal life and suddenly a significant, unforeseen opportunity was presented to them. In response to that opportunity:
- Noah could have told the Lord he knew nothing of shipbuilding.
- David could have followed worldly wisdom and chosen not to fight Goliath.
- Abraham could have said he wouldn’t sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.
- Judas could have said he would follow Jesus and not betray Him.
A real measure of a man is when he is presented with a challenge. How does he respond? Your family and others are watching your response to the current world situation and possible disruption to your “entitlements.” Are you focused on self or others? Are you at peace and purposing to redeem the time?
My brothers use every minute. Invest in your family, love them, be at peace and full of praise for the Lord Jesus Who is worthy.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Children with an entitlement mentality will seldom (ever?) be pleased, grateful, or content. Unless they get what they want, and when they want it, they are bitter and complaining. Might the children of Israel be an example worth considering?
The Israelites were Egyptian slaves and had been in Egypt for 400 years. God sent Moses, the meekest man in the world, to lead them out. There were hardships as they traveled, but they should have said, “We are free. Thank You, Lord, for every breath of air You give us outside of Egypt. We are on our way to the promised land!” Instead with every hardship, they grumbled and complained.
How could your family learn from the Israelites? During family Bible time, read and discuss the exodus. Might there be other examples in Scripture that could be learned from as well?
Through this study, you can seek agreement in the family that:
1. We don’t want this mindset.
2. We agree to work on thanking and praising God for all that He provides.
3. Everyone (Dad and Mom too) is looking for bad and good examples in their lives and the lives of others with the eventual goal of sharing good and bad examples at the end of the day.
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me” (Numbers 14:27).
A brother wrote after last week’s Seriously asking, “How does one avoid or reverse an entitlement mentality in children?” Here is what I’m learning about this.
Always at the top of the list for discipling children is the double-edged sword of the parent’s example. Nothing will do more harm or more to reverse negative behavior/attitudes in the children than the parent’s harmful or beneficial example in daily life.
Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” That describes the relationship of abiding in Christ (John 15). When we abide, we ask, and God answers. As God responds, we acknowledge, we praise, and we thank Him for Who He is and what He does. “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
Does that describe us or at least the desire of our hearts and the direction we are headed? A grateful heart connects to a mouth overflowing with praise to our God for His blessings. That sort of heart also notices, appreciates, and verbally expresses all that is done around and for us. That is much different from the man who notices and complains about all that doesn’t fit his liking.
Our children are watching us! Which example are we?
To be continued.
Parents who love their children delight in blessing them. However, have you noticed how consistently doing the same kind thing for someone can (usually does) cause that blessing to become expected? Then if for some reason that blessing is not done, the blesser (you) is resented instead of appreciated. If that continues, over time bitterness is likely. Oh, how quickly the flesh develops an entitlement mentality.
Some symptoms your child is developing an entitlement mentality might be: ungratefulness, laziness, and resentment toward you. Real gratitude is deeper than him replying with a simple “thank you.” Observe how he responds when an expected blessing is not forthcoming, or you ask him to do an additional job?
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).