It would do us well to remember that, as parents, we are not just raising children; we are raising disciples of Christ. Our ultimate goal in discipline is NOT to make our children behave so that we look like the perfect parent. Teaching children right from wrong is good; however, teaching them to turn away from sin and receive forgiveness and restoration is the higher calling of a godly parent. Discipline is at the very core of discipleship.
Our heavenly Father has given us the perfect example of a loving parent in the way He disciplines us. As we allow His thoughts to shape our thoughts, our hearts are challenged to be godly parents rather than just good parents. Look at the following concepts of God's discipline of us, His children:
• God loves us enough to discipline us. (Hebrews 12:6)
• God's discipline is evidence that we are His children. (Hebrews 12:7-8)
• God disciplines us to bring us into a closer relationship with Himself. (Hebrews 12:10)
• For a time, God's discipline may seem "painful rather than pleasant," but eventually it produces "the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:11).
• God's ultimate desire is for our repentance and restoration. (Revelation 3:19-20)
God's Word is so precious and so powerful. When we live by His Word, we live in His power. God's first instructions to parents in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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."
This is a blueprint for how we should live, love, and parent. First, God wants our hearts to be intent on fully loving Him. He wants us to hide His Word in our hearts. Then, God wants us to teach these words (His Words) diligently to our children. If we are loving the Lord with everything in our being, and our hearts are filled with Him and His Word, then teaching our children God's way (through His Word) will be a natural overflow of our hearts… and our children will be the beneficiaries of His grace in our lives.
Ephesians 6:4 further teaches parents “do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Discipline and instruction "of the Lord" is rooted in love and is for the good of the child. Loving instruction encourages repentance and seeks the restoration of the relationship between parent and child. As we teach children the proper response to parental authority, we are teaching them the proper response to the authority of their loving heavenly Father… and so begins the legacy of discipleship.