Ephesians 6.4 “bring them up”
Focus Verse-Ephesians 6.4
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”
Insight-Everyone wants to be loved and no one knows how. We don’t know how to be loved or how to give love. It all starts in the home. Paul advises fathers to, first of all, not provoke our children to anger. It’s amazing how easy it is to provoke our children, whether it is through the things we do, the expectations we have, or even the things we don’t do. How am I helping my children learn what it means to be loved as God loves us? Is my parenting about me and my interests or am I sincerely seeking to help them live the best life possible? Am I expecting them to serve me or am I serving them?
Paul follows this up by telling fathers to instead, “bring them up”. The Greek word here actually conveys the idea of nourishing or nurturing-providing for their physical and spiritual needs. It is a word used in Ephesians 5.29 that is translated as “feeds and cares for”. This isn’t an idea that we usually grab onto as men, but it is our calling. I am to nourish the hearts of my children and to help them learn how to live the best life possible, a life in harmonious, intimate-dependence on God and sacrificial love for others. Helping them to discover who God created them to be, not who I want them to be. I need to be a conduit of God’s love and grace to them. Would my children one day describe me as someone who nourishes and nurtures their hearts? I pray that by God’s grace they will.
Active Response-I will take seriously the call to nourish my children’s hearts. I need to ask God to give me wisdom, discernment, and love beyond myself to nourish them to be who God created them to be. It’s time to pay attention to more than their behavior.
Loving, Nourishing Father, help me to love my children as You do. May my heart be tuned to theirs as well as Yours. Help me to lift them up and to be their biggest encourager. Amen.