Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Don’t Move!

In Gospel Living on October 24, 2016 at 9:14 am

 

4344035767_b86ce883a0_oSo, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.    1 Corinthians 15:58

Clemson defense had been tried and tested through the game but was immovable when it counted.  Louisville tried 4 times and could not score at the end of the game.  That kind of strength we demand from our defense.  That kind of immovability is what we desire from them!

Be strong – pertaining to being firmly established in one’s position or opinions—‘firm, steadfast, unwavering.’ ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοί, ἑδραῖοι γίνεσθε ‘my dear fellow believers, be firmly established’ 1 Cor 15:58; εἴ γε ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει τεθεμελιωμένοι καὶ ἑδραῖοι ‘if, indeed, you remain well-founded and established in the faith’ Col 1:23.[1]

Immovable – pertaining to not being readily shaken in one’s opinions or beliefs—‘firm, unshaken, steady.’ ἑδραῖοι γίνεσθε, ἀμετακίνητοι ‘be steady, unshaken’ or ‘… not wavering in belief’ 1 Cor 15:58.[2]

When we think of SOMETHING being immovable we rack our brains, hire engineers, and figure out how to move something.  However, when we consider SOMEONE to be immovable we can get hateful unless they are on our side of the line.

Paul is writing to a church who is strong but movable on certain items.  He calls them, and us, to be immovable when it comes to the truths of the Gospel.  They were in a moment in time when they could be killed for being immovable.  Yet, Paul calls them to that level of faithfulness to God.

We are called to no less.

There are points that matter and those that do not.  Here are a few that DO NOT matter as much.  In other words, those beliefs we argue and divide over that are not primary to the expansion of God’s Kingdom through the expression of the Gospel.

  • Wine or Juice during Communion
  • Your millennial position
  • Your musical preference
  • Your Bible version preference
  • Your dress code
  • How your group chooses to accomplish missions
  • Your political party

The denomination to which I belong and serve God through has, over the years, made mountains out of some molehills.  While I have my positional arguments for some on the previous list, we must be careful in our presentation and movability.

Through 1 Corinthians 15, Paul expresses the important things. Here are points that MATTER MOST:

  • Mankind is sinful by nature and eternally separated from God.
  • Jesus is God and God’s Son.
  • Jesus was born of a virgin.
  • Jesus was sinless.
  • Jesus lived a real life in the flesh.
  • Jesus died an actual painful death.
  • Jesus was dead and buried.
  • Jesus was bodily resurrected by God Himself.
  • By faith in Jesus’ activity, we are forgiven.
  • Our earthly bodies will be transformed into the eternal ones.

Do not misunderstand.  If you hold fast to the important points then you will face difficulty in this life.  You will branded an intolerant elitist.  You will be ridiculed for backward, old-fashioned thinking.  You will be considered an intellectual midget for accepting such items as truth.

We are called to be strong and immovable.  It is not enough to simply be knowledgeable.  We must stand firm too.  We cannot waver.  As God told Joshua when we took over for Moses, do not look to the left or the right.  Be strong and courageous and focus on the things of God.  This sentiment is echoed here and through Paul’s writings.  Be sure you not only know the tenets of scripture but are immovable on the gospel.  We cannot let the arguments of society sway us from what is right and true in the Gospel.

[1] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 376–377). New York: United Bible Societies.

[2] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 375). New York: United Bible Societies.

Does God Write Hot Checks?

In Faithfulness on June 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm

bad-checks

Have you ever received the notification that you had insufficient funds?  What a horrible feeling!  Your stomach ties up in knots, you have immediate anxiety over what else will bounce and how much the total charges are going to be.  If we’re honest, we have all probably had this happen.  When the bank has it happen that is even worse.  Can you imagine if you went to cash a check from a bank and it wouldn’t go through?  Can you imagine if you went to your bank and found it closed and unable to transact your business?  The trust you would have had in the bank would be torched.  You would want to change banks.

Or maybe it was just a holiday and the sign had fallen down from the drive-thru window.  Maybe you had misunderstood the reason.

Or maybe you just think another bank could do this better with better fees and benefits.  They have a better online system.

As we approach 1 Samuel 8, the people are having similar thoughts about God as we see about our banks!

  • The Insufficiency of God. (1-9)
  • The Insecurities with God. (10-18)
  • The Irreplaceable Image of God. (19-22)

Ask yourself the questions:

  • What should they have done differently?
  • What should I do differently?
  • What would that look like in real life right now?

What is God desiring from us as we hear this lesson?  I think a key word is contentment.  Israel was on the rise.  The cycle of oppression seems to have shifted toward independence.  Samuel is the prophet, rather than judge, and is leading the people from a spirit-political position.  They are a theocracy.  God speaks through his chosen man and Israel’s elders hear and pass the message and obedience is called for by the people.  Now that Israel is on the rise in the region, they begin to get discontent with this situation.  I hear my teenager voice arriving, “everyone else has a king.…”

The desire to keep up with everyone else is a distinct issue in America.  Every child grows up wanting more, bigger, faster whatever.  As adults we do the same thing.  The car payment is almost over so we trade for the new one.  The credit cards are almost paid down, so what can be the next purchase.  Our house is not what it used to be so let’s get a new one.  We ALL do this.  We are ALL susceptible to this insidious trick the of the Devil.

  • We feel that what God is offering is no longer sufficient and need to find what is.
  • We feel that God is not giving us the security (absence of all bad or uncomfortable issues) so we change.
  • We feel that God’s call on us is too much to ask and we shirk away.

All the while, if we would learn to just relax and BE with God, we would find the perfect peace we long for even when we cannot come up with the words to describe what we want.

ARE YOU READY?

In Chrisian Life, Gospel Living on May 23, 2016 at 2:24 pm

 

Are You Ready 4

Samuel is my wife’s favorite story and for whom (along with her grandpa) our son is named!  Samuel was chosen by God for a purpose long before Hannah conceived.  You, and everyone you teach, have that same story!  Samuel was specifically chosen to be the national prophet at the conclusion of the Judges period.  He would be the bridge between deliverers and monarchs.  He did not know this, but God did.  As look back on this moment in the life of Samuel, let us trust that God has a plan.  He ALWAYS has a plan.

We must be ready to receive God’s Word.  I want to take a moment here and share a few thoughts on how we can be ready to receive God’s Word.  This is where it all begins.  God will try to get your attention through a number of ways.  It wasn’t until the third time that Samuel became ready.  He had gone to Eli before.  Now, Eli helped Him get ready to receive from God.

When my daughter first showed interest in softball it was because her friends were signing up to play.  We were not ready.  We made the decision to play.  We wrote the check and filled out the forms.  We waited for the draft to happen.  She waited anxiously the evening of the draft to find out which team picked her and who was on the team.

Had we received a random call, we would not have thought anything about it.  However, because we had put ourselves into a position of readiness we were ready to receive the call.  For each of us to be ready to receive we must ask ourselves if we have “signed up” to play.  Have we placed our faith in Jesus?  Now, are you waiting anxiously by the phone?  Just like our daughter who was guaranteed a spot on team, your faith guarantees you a plan from God to accomplish something extraordinary.  Are you ready?

We must be prepared to hear what God has to say.  Between the call and the first practice, there was much to do!  We needed to buy a helmet, a glove, and a bat. How silly would it have been to go out to practice without a glove?  She would not prepared to receive the ball that was hit her way.  How silly would it have been to stand at the plate without bat?  She would not have been prepared to do anything except get hurt.

There is preparation we must make in our lives concerning God, too.  Maybe you have thrown up requests to God but hold on to a pre-determined response that is acceptable to you.  A friend of ours just lost their 2-year-old little girl who had a terminal condition.  They struggle now because they believed by faith God would let her walk out of the hospital.  God did, in fact, heal her.  However, it was not in the specific way desired.  If you ask God to heal your family member and He chooses to take them are you prepared?  If you ask God to protect your child/grandchild as they drive away but are in a bad accident are you going to remain faithful?  Are you prepared to hear whatever it is that God sends your way?

The Bible gives us “gear” that we should acquire in order to be prepared for WHATEVER God decides to tell you.  You can find this in Ephesians 6.  Samuel was given some difficult words to express but he was prepared.  Are you?

We must be prepared to deliver God’s message to others.  It’s game time.  Are you ready?  There had been 3 weeks of practices and it was opening day at the softball complex.  It was time to put into practice what had been practiced.  The anthem was sung and the pitcher had warmed up.  With that first pitch everything was now in motion.  While we could coach form the dugout, there was no opportunity to stop play and go “fix” a problem.  They had to perform to the best of their abilities.  We won on that day and the season championship, but we did not win every game.

Once you have understood your purpose is to glorify God and share the gospel it is time to put it in practice.  We can go to class after class and hear many sermons and watch a plethora of videos but there is nothing like ACTUALLY doing it.  It is time to go and be witnesses infused with the power of the Holy Spirit.

God is speaking.  Have you opened the channel?  Are you ready to hear whatever He says?  Are you ready to go and tell the message?

Go. Fight. Win.

The Dilemma of Divorce

In Leadership on May 2, 2016 at 3:44 pm

torn piece of paper with divorce text and paper couple figures

As Baptists we have, over the years, taken a firm stance on divorce.  We have, in effect, treated it like the unforgivable sin.  We have run from men who have divorced when it comes to them serving as a Deacon.  The traditional position has been absolutely negative to them serving.  The passage cited is 1 Timothy 3:12.   Some versions read “husband of one wife” while others read “faithful to his wife”.  Thus, we have had a conflict of praxis concerning deacons and their service if a divorce is in the past.

Whenever we have one verse on which we place an entire position we find ourselves on narrow footing.  In order to give it proper review there are a few things to consider:

  1. Original Language – the Greek text is the original in this case at it strictly reads, “one woman man”. From this alone we cannot determine exactly what was meant without regarding the next 2 parts or infusing personal opinion.
  2. Original Context – The culture and morality of the day lent itself to polygamy and multiplicity. The Christians of that time struggled with false teaching and wayward living as they tried to mature.  Paul encouraged Timothy to remind those he led that leadership needs to show stability.  They were to be focused on the one to whom they were married.
  3. The Whole of Scripture – The very character and Word of God comes into question if we are not careful. By saying that a divorced man cannot serve we hold a certain grudge.  We hang a scarlet letter on him and say “not forgiven”.  How can we do what God does not?  He forgives.  He casts sin to unreachable places.  He moves forward.  The character of God in light of scripture informs us that God forgives and so should we.  Further, God’s choosing of men with questionable backgrounds is many.  One does not look far to see Him forgiving and using flawed people with difficult pasts.

In light of these 3 basic positions, divorce, with remorse, does not preclude a man from service.  There are those in your church right now with such history.  May we not hold against them what God has already relieved.

8 Motivations You Probably Choose Everyday

In behavior, Gospel Living on March 31, 2015 at 7:51 am

wall_decal_theater_masks_s

“What’s my motivation?”

Nearly every actor will ask this question at some point.  It is important for the actor to know the motivation of the character being portrayed in order to make it look real.  The writer or director will inform the artist as to the mind and heart of the character. This question comes from a need to know the heart of the character being portrayed.  If the actions and the heart do not match then every knows it is fake or someone gets miffed. Bad acting comes from the inability to have the behavior and heart match.

What about real life, though?  Why do WE do what we do? Each of the following is a good reason at times, but when we push them too far or too often they break down.

1. Obligation – when people operate out of a sense of obligation everyone feels it.  You speak to Ed because you have to do so.  You apologize because you are being made to do so.  Your work is because you have to do so.  Cain can be seen as someone who was bringing an offering to God in this way.  It was rejected.

2.  Honor – much of men are taught to do is out of honor.  We are taught to stand for God, Country, and Mom.  Boys will fight over bad-mouthing one’s mother.  Men will fight and die to uphold the honor of God and Country.  This is not a bad trait in and of itself.  Yet it can spill over to being the only reason and then it falls flat.  David’s honor rose up during Nathan’s story only to discover he was the subject.

3.  Pride – for all that honor is for others, pride is for yourself.  We act out of this without even knowing it.  When we feel threatened our pride rises up for all to see.  We cannot handle our work, creations, or efforts being challenged.  When our blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into a project, we dare someone to criticize!  Haman could not stand Mordecai.  His pride overwhelmed him!

4.  Desire – we act because we want something.  The boy who over-flatters the girl wants something she may not be ready to give.  The suck-up at the office is hoping for a promotion.  The child who voluntarily cleans their room wants something.  At our animal level we have wants, some say needs, in our lives that we will do whatever is necessary to achieve!  This usually leads to addictions and/or family meltdowns.  Delilah working Samson over is an example.

5. Spite – while this is an emotion much like desire it takes on a nasty tone.  This is the evil side of desire.  When this is our motivation we are premeditating a way to harm someone else out of revenge, usually.  Again, Cain comes to mind.

6.  Envy – we often want what we cannot have.  Worse, we want that thing somebody else has.  Operating out of envy can create an entire lifestyle foreign to who you really are and brings no real satisfaction.  Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard.  He whined and carried on because he was envious of him.

7.  Jealousy – this can become an extremely controlling factor in our lives and int he lives of those around us.  When this is our motivation we claim love and cry protection, but really it can be pushed too far.  Jealousy and envy are closely related and are often linked in the Bible.  While envy focuses on objects, jealousy focuses more on attention.  Joseph’s brother’s were jealous of the attention he received from their father.

8. Love – God has shown us the way we should go.  He loves us.  Through Jesus we see God’s love.  He did not provide Jesus because of any other reason than He loves us.  When we place our faith in Jesus’ death burial and resurrection as sufficient for God’s requirements, we give our lives to God.  We are transformed into something new.  God changes us so that we can love others.

At work, school, home, or church, if we operate out of less than love we become that clanging cymbal of Paul.  To a hurting world anything less than love as a motivation comes off wrong.  Why do you act the way you do?  May it be out of love from this point forward.

We love because He first loved us.

3 Ways to Lose on the Biggest Stage

In Life and Culture on January 12, 2015 at 9:57 am

NFL: Divisional Round-Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers

Pride brings loss.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Dez Bryant.  During the divisional playoff game against Green Bay, Bryant ran a good route and went up for a ball.  He snatched it out of the air and the defender’s reach.  He took 2 steps and as he fell he reached for the goal line.  The ball came loose and the catch was overturned by the review booth as incomplete due to lack of control through the fall.

What?

I heard so many complaints about the catch/no catch issue.  As the rules change, nearly daily, it is hard to keep up.  We can argue with the pundits, but that’s not really the issue.  Here’s the issue:

If Bryant had just secured the ball falling short of the goal line they would have likely won the game!

There was time on the clock.  They could have burned it with running plays to gain a touchdown and a date with Seattle next week.  They could have put Green Bay in an impossible situation.  2 feet had already come down in bounds.  Secure the ball and secure the win.  Because he stretched for the touchdown he lost control and was ruled incomplete.

Why, then did he do this?  Why do we do what we do so often?

Pride. Bryant wanted the TD.  I have watched him since he was at Oklahoma State (Go Pokes!).  As he entered the NFL his pride was magnified.  He is a great athlete and receiver!  However, when he does not get his way, his catches, his touches, and his TD’s he throws a fit on the sidelines, whines to Garrett, and yells at his teammates.  Why?  Because of pride.  He has certain goals he wants to reach.  But we have a problem.  Because of HIS goals, the team is now in the off-season.

How do you know if pride is a problem with you or the organization?

1.  When the individual is ahead of the team.  This happens often, especially in pro sports.  ESPN makes its living off of highlights and stats.  Bryant wants both, but it cost the team the game.  When one person’s goals outweigh the team’s goals we have a problem.  Last time I checked this was a team game.  The team wins or loses.  The team plays on or the team is in off-season.  Don’t let one person’s pride cost the organization the game.

2.  When you count the wrong stats.  As mentioned, ESPN has created a monster because of statistical research.  Counting the right stats is critical to organization health.  What stat really counted yesterday?  The answer is the win-loss column.  The playoffs are different from the regular season.  Personal stats are irrelevant if you lose the game.  If you count the wrong stats (# of TD’s) rather than the score, you could lose the game.  If the RB and WR’s are all arguing over who gets the most touches, most yards, most TD’s but lose the game, who cares?  Count the right things at the right times.

3.  When you blame others rather than accept responsibility.  Everyone makes excuses.  The ball was under-thrown.  The line did not give enough time.  I was held up.  The rule is wrong.  The ref’s are blind.  Bryant had the ball.  He made the catch.  He made a mistake, but is not owning up to it.

One choice.  One loss.  That’s how it can go.  We must examine our motivations, goals, ambitions, and pride.  We don’t live in isolation.  Every choice we make, has a chain reaction effect.  What one chooses effects many.  Don’t let pride cause the fall of your company, team, or organization.

Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. Proverbs 29:23

3 Ways to Unpack Joy

In Journey on October 10, 2014 at 8:34 am

unpacking

Boxes adorn each room of our new house and, while it is exciting to be in a house, now we have to unpack it all.  Each night we take a few more and get them unpacked.  We are diligently trying to get this done before needing to decorate for Christmas.  Because of the hurried nature of packing, some things were not noticed.  As we unpack and try to find the right spot in the new home we come across some interesting stuff.

Last night, my wife comes in from a room where she has unpacked with a stack of pictures and an album.  The pictures are of me and my parents.  As we sat down to look through them, I noticed a few pictures I had not recalled seeing before of my parents and a couple of me.  We sat there for about 30 minutes just walking through my life from their wedding day to my college graduation.  It was fun. Unpacking can do that to you.  Each night someone in the house is finding joy in the bottom of a box.

In the Bible, we read “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” from Lamentations 3:23.  Every day that you awake, God’s mercies start new with you.  What a joyful spiritual idea!  Life can be filled with spiritual joy in the midst of physical or mental disaster.  Jerusalem had been overtaken by the enemy because of their disobedience to God.  In the midst of this disaster, Jeremiah writes that God’s mercies start fresh each day.

What are we talking about?

  1. After confession and repentance, God doesn’t hold a grudge. Humans do and this makes it hard for us to accept.  However, God, in his power and choice lets it go.
  2. In a disaster, God does not run away. Sometimes it feels like He does, but we must walk in faith not feeling.  God loves us and wants to bring us joy.
  3. No matter how bad yesterday was, you can start fresh with God today.

Tale a minute and unpack a spiritual box you have held onto in the back room of your heart.  Let God bring you joy!

Cartography and the Christian

In Chrisian Life on September 23, 2014 at 6:23 am

terrestrial globe

“Ok Google”

Ding.

“What is the distance between Chicago and Santa Monica?”

“The drive between Chicago Illinois and Santa Monica, California is 2031 miles.”

Maps today are so different.  I remember keeping maps in the map pockets of the vehicle, which now are used for trash.  Whenever travelling, I would bring the maps in and pour over them to make sure we were going to take the right path.  Now we just speak to the phone and it will tell you how to get where you want to go.  Maps…

  1. Reveal big picture in small-scale
  2. Communicates information of terrain, distances in ways all can understand
  3. Guides and shows roads and options
  4. Helps in planning for the trip

The Bible is our map as followers of Jesus.  It reveals the big picture in small-scale.  Consider that in one book you can become aware of the universal problem, solution, and current issues.  If you were to sit and read it like a novel, it might take a while but the revelation would be incredible.  The Bible communicates information important to the journey.  Is this portion smooth or bumpy?  Are there unexpected curves ahead?  The cool thing about the GPS on the phone is that it will also tell you how heavy the traffic is ahead and provide a different route.  Did you know the Bible can also?

Your life is a trip.  Like any trip it helps to have maps and navigation so that you can enjoy the journey.  There can be joy in this life; hope in this life.  The Bible gives us these since it leads us to God.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

 

3 Benefits From Reading Scripture

In Chrisian Life, Faith on July 23, 2014 at 8:00 am

bible-reading

I grew up during a time that emphasized the “Quiet Time”.  We had retreats, seminars, classes, studies, and more sermons than you can count that were designed to teach us how to have a quiet time with God.  If we were really devoted to our devotions than we would get up earlier to have this elusive moment with God.  The tactics used were usually guilt and shame. If you really loved God you would do this.  If you were really committed you would read every day.  If you missed a day, then you must not really love God.

Living Life on a Checklist

We were being pushed in dutiful readers of the Word that simply became a checklist.  We would mark our envelopes, receive praise, and take the awards.  Of course we would lie.  It was almost as if we were driven to do it.  Who does not want praise vs. guilt?  Who does not want honor vs. shame?  When it all backfired, we could run down the aisle weeping and rededicate our lives only to do it again at camp, revival, new year, and more.  We found ourselves in an obscene pattern of guilt.  The very thing we were trying to avoid by doing the checklist we came into contact with anyway.

All a Twitter

In a current culture that does not read as we once did, there is a question as to whether we should spend our time reading the Bible.  Unless it is in 160 characters or less, how would we ever finish?  We live in a Biblically illiterate moment in history.  The Bible is the best-selling book every year, but the least read.

Is it outdated?  Is it irrelevant?  Is it useless?  Absolutely not!

The Word of God is living, powerful, and necessary in our lives as it contains the message God has for us.  As the people waited on the Plains of Moab, Moses began delivering the final messages of his life.  God knows the entire future of Israel.  He knows that they will demand a king.  He knows what will happen as a result.  Look at the words of Moses in Deuteronomy which were 400 years before it would happen.

18 When he is seated on his royal throne, he is to write a copy of this instruction for himself on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to remain with him, and he is to read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to observe all the words of this instruction, and to do these statutes.

20 Then his heart will not be exalted above his countrymen, he will not turn from this command to the right or the left, and he and his sons will continue ruling many years over Israel.

Deuteronomy 17

When, not if, the demand a king to lead them, Moses instructs what the King is to do.  He is to acquire a copy of the scriptures and read them everyday.  He is to meditate on them, observe them, and learn them.  Moses is telling the people that the King is to have a “Quiet Time” all the time.  However, this was not some checklist.  Moses was not prescribing a duty simply to be mindlessly accomplished.  The king was to keep the word close and read it, but that was not all.  This is what we do.  We buy new translations with cool colors and funky covers.  We keep the word close through out computers and phones.  We breeze through a reading and then it ends.  Moses added that through the reading, the King would learn to fear God and to observe the instructions.  These are relational terms.  Moses instructs to not simply go through the routine of daily meditation, but to do so with purpose.  From Genesis 3 where everything went wrong, God has worked to redeem humanity.  Israel was to be the beacon of light to the nations of God power and personal attention, His love and affection.  Being close to the Word and reading it leads to a deeper love relationship with God because of the revelation found within the Scriptures.  We continually see God reaching out to the World through Israel to bring them to Himself. We read the Bible because it leads us toward God.  He teaches us how to live life.  Verse 20 reveals three benefits of this improved relationship:

Humility

A student of the Word recognizes that life is not about the fulfillment of our dreams, but those of God.  The scriptures reveal the importance of God’s plan that is to be fulfilled through us as much as it is for us.  We are an instrument and extension of God’s grace, mercy, and love.

Focus

A student of the Word hones a razor-sharp focus on personal purpose as it plays out in the Kingdom of God.  When our life purpose is viewed in a larger than life purpose such as that of God, we aspire to new heights.  We begin to let go of the entanglements and run free to finish the race for which we have been called to run.

Legacy

A student of the Word naturally lays the groundwork for the next generation.  The humility and focus lead to a life that is inspiring.  The atmosphere in the home of those who have firmly placed faith in Jesus and develop this relationship through communication and meditation is amazing!  Those homes see the proverb come true:  Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  This legacy is a the result of modeling as much as anything.  A legacy is built that will last generations.

Have you read the Bible today?

3 Reasons Why I Spank My Kids

In Parenting on July 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

Family Fighting

I was asked to weigh in the other day amid a group of religious leaders on the issue of discipline.  The concept up for discussion was the phrase “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”  Does it mean:

1.  If you do not discipline your child you will spoil him/her.

2.  Spoil the child with love so you can spare the rod.

The scripture that best suits this discussion is found in Proverbs 13:24

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Because this is in Proverbs it is hard to find context as you would with other passages.  Proverbs is written as wise statements to be taken on their own merit and value.  With that said, this has two statements which relate to each other.  Discipline is designed to be a loving, caring, guiding principle for raising our children.  If we do not discipline our children the Bible is clear that it is as if we hated them.  In the same vein, if we love our children we care enough to provide the necessary discipline.

When it comes to discipline I believe there are a few considerations to make.

1.  Love – We should never discipline out of hate and anger.  Especially if you choose to use physical discipline.  I have chosen to use this with my children.  The caution we must take as parents is to do so without the angry energy.  Our patience runs thin.  Our coping mechanism fail us too.  However, if we punish from hate and anger then we are not helping our children see the love.  This does not, however, mean it cannot hurt.  While I do not use the phrase “This hurts me more than you”, I do tell them that while I do not like to punish them, I must because the boundaries must be established.

Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.  Col 3:21

2.  Redemption – The reason we use discipline is to achieve redemption.  Because we love our children, we seek to keep them safe.  The rules we establish are there to teach them where the line is of obedience/disobedience as well as reward/punishment.  Both are of equal value.  If nothing ever happens with regard to a child’s behavior then there is no development of respect for authority or understanding of boundaries.  They will believe anything is OK because nothing was ever done to them.  In essence, we discipline in order to bring them back into right standing with us and with the rules established.  God established this process in Leviticus through blessing/cursing and the sacrificial system.  Something had to be done with the sin in order to maintain a right relationship with God.  Disciplining our children actually helps to express the Gospel and provide understanding later.  If we never discipline, then another generation will grow up not understanding the need for Jesus.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom 6:23

3.  Relationship – Know your children well enough to understand the type of discipline to which they will respond.  One child might need a swat on the behind.  Another child will need a stern talk.  Another child needs restrictions.  Each child is different in their triggers.  Additionally, as the child develops a different style might be necessary.  There is no one style fits all rule about discipline.  As parents, we must understand our children enough to know what works at the age/stage they are in life.  Discipline out of the relationship you have.

In some ways to spank or not to spank is the question.  However whether to discipline or not is a moot point.  We must discipline.  Howe we go about it is the real question.  What have you found that works with your children?

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