There are only two commands to parents in the entire New Testament:
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21
In Revolutionary Parenting in the Lord, Jessica Thompson points out that most Christians "have focused on the wrong parts of these verses."
"We have solely focused on what we are to do and forgotten what Jesus is about and what he has done. Without the “of the Lord” at the end of Ephesians 6:4, we would have no good news to give to our children. They would have no motivation for obedience, and we would miss out on sharing the joy of the gospel of Jesus with them."
The phrase "of the Lord" is as revolutionary today as it was in the first century. Many Christian parents do more behavior-modification than heart-focused discipleship. We have taught our kids to be "good," instead of pointing them to who Jesus is and what He has done.
Thompson gives examples of how we can raise our children in the instruction of the Lord, such as when they:
- feel alone
- troubled by their sin
- feel friendless
- feel misunderstood
Be sure to read the full article.