What is a Biblical View Of How To Discipline My Children?

What is a biblical view of how to discipline my children? I answered that question on this episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

Show Notes:

Principles:

  1. It’s problematic when a parent’s view of discipline always involves spanking their child.
  2. Discipline that always involves spanking is lazy and not very thoughtful.
  3. The purpose of discipline should be to train your child. It is a part of the discipleship process.
  4. Love is always the motivation behind Godly discipline.
  5. The goal of discipline is not to have obedient children, but rather to raise healthy adults.
  6. Relationships without rules produce chaos.
  7. Children do childish things.
  8. Parents must determine if their child has made a childish mistake or a foolish mistake.
  9. Childish behavior needs godly patience. Foolish behavior needs godly discipline.
  10. Discipline is not for the benefit of the parent. It is for the benefit of the child as they learn that life and every good thing is found in adhering to the ways of the Lord.
  11. The ultimate goal of discipline is to conform your child to the image of Jesus Christ.

Scripture:

“The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord.” Exodus 34:5

“Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, 

and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;…” Exodus 34:6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will 

make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” Proverbs 19:18

“I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; for now, O Ephraim, you have played the harlot, Israel has defiled itself.” Hosea 5:3

Therefore I am like a moth to Ephraim and like rottenness to 

the house of Judah.   Hosea 5:12

“For I will be like a lion to Ephraim and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear to pieces and go away, I will carry away, and there will be none to deliver.” Hosea 5:14

“A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.” Proverbs 29:1

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” – Josh McDowell

Additonal Resources:

Parenting Resources

Is It Wrong For Parents To Spank Their Kids? 

What Is The Biggest Mistake Parents Make? 

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How Christians Should Speak to Kids and Culture on the Gender Issue

Given the media’s choice to largely ignore the story, you may have missed the details about a recent court case in Dallas centered on the custody of a seven-year-old boy. The mother of the boy said that he should be identified as a girl, claiming he made that decision himself at the age of three because he liked Disney princesses and so-called “girl toys.” She saught sole custody to “transition” the boy against the father’s wishes, and administer hormone treatments as the child neared puberty. She also wanted a court order to forbid the father from calling his son “son,” speaking his name, or referring to him as a “he.” The father said that the boy still wanted to be a boy while in his custody (in fact, the mother’s own paid “experts” testified that he “does not identify with only one gender”). He also accused the mother of contributing to his son’s perceived confusion by telling him that “monsters only eat boys.” 

Thankfully, after a jury recommended 11-1 to confirm the mother as sole custodian, the judge has intervened by ruling that joint custody will be maintained. The judge’s ruling will at least temporarily slow down the likelihood of the boy soon beginning harmful hormone therapies which would have suppressed his natural development. It is, however, easy to imagine a different judge deciding the opposite, perhaps in a state without the governor and other top politicians speaking out against it.

Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: cases like this will come up again, and the judges sometimes will decide differently, in ways that will harm children and set dangerous precedents for others. So, if you “identify” as a Christian and as a mature adult, how should you respond?

For starters, if you have kids yourself, be a parent. It is your job to be the adult. Children will be childish, by definition. They think like children (1 Corinthians 13:11). They are not reliably knowledgeable, reasonable, or wise. They lack life experience, a firm grasp of reality, and the ability to make decisions of ultimate importance. In fact, they are legally not allowed to make any major decisions on their own, and any such agreements they try to enter into are not binding. 

You are to teach them and guide them through this early stage of life. You will often, quite literally, save them from themselves. If a kid wants to put on a cape and jump off the roof because they say they are a superhero, you don’t affirm them in that decision no matter how passionately they believe they can fly. You can try to reason with them by explaining the facts of what the consequences might be. But if they don’t listen to reason (and they often won’t), you don’t just throw up your hands and let them experience those consequences. You protect them because you love them. You are the parent and parents are there to protect, not enable.

The progressive “experts” of the day say the loving thing to do is to embrace a child’s self-proclaimed “gender identity” (a new term), and give them drugs to block puberty (and likely make them permanently infertile) so they can later more easily “transition” by surgically removing healthy organs. Considering that 80 to 95 percent of kids with gender dysphoria end up identifying by their true birth/genetic gender after puberty, helping kids prevent puberty in order to change genders seems like an especially twisted form of lifelong abuse. 

In addition to being a parent to those in your own family, you need to speak up for what is universally right for all members of the human family, and especially those who have no powerful voice of their own (Proverbs 31:8-9). A key strategy of those who seek to redefine truth or promote progressive postmodern ideologies is to try to bully those who disagree with them into silence. That’s why we have a “cancel culture,” the advancement of the idea that “words are violence,” and countless other efforts to curtail free speech and civil discourse both online and off. A loud and vocal few can sound like a majority when the majority is too afraid to speak up. The resulting “spiral of silence” leaves multitudes afraid to acknowledge the “emperor has no clothes” even in the face of his obvious nakedness. 

Speak up now, lest we are soon in a world where courts do say that it’s illegal to call your son a “son,” and judges decide for you how to raise your kids. By speaking with conviction now, you can at least take comfort in knowing it wasn’t your silence that made the abuse possible. 

Finally, above all, you should love people in word and deed. Every single one of us has areas where our natural tendency is to stray from God’s design for our lives. All of us have “gone astray”; each of us has areas where we have “turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). None of us is without need of admonishment, encouragement, and help. When we meet someone who is struggling, we meet ourselves, and we should lovingly point them towards the same truth we want them to use for our encouragement. That especially includes the Truth that making choices which go against God’s desires will not bring ultimate joy, peace or fullness of life. 

To speak is to love. Love without truth is not loving, and truth spoken without love will not be heard.

The greatest Truth we must continually share is that even when we do make foolish or rebellious choices, God still loves us. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He made provision for our sin, so that we don’t have to remain a slave to its consequences in this life or the life to come. His love waits for all who seek it. Let’s make sure we daily speak of God’s love and model its effects, so that we may make it known to every human who has lost their God-given identity as a son or daughter made in His image. 

Todd Wagner is the senior pastor at Watermark Community Church. He is the author of the book Come and See and has a weekly podcast, Real Truth Real Quick, on life, leadership and the world we live in.

What Is the Biggest Mistake Most Parents Make?

What Is the Biggest Mistake Most Parents Make? I answered that question on this episode of Real Truth. Real Quick.

Show Notes:

Principles:
1. It’s not what we do as parents, but rather what we don’t do, that provokes our kids to anger.
2. We are to be a loving authority in our child’s life, not their best friend.
3. Children eventually become angry if you let them believe that life is all about them, and there are no consequences for their choices.
4. One of the ways God drives us to grace is by allowing us to experience the pain of living a rebellious life.
5. God wants you to be a present parent who lovingly disciplines.
6. You are going to have your child on the path to destruction if you continue to let them do what they want to do without consequences.
7. If parents do not discipline their kids, the world will and it won’t be because it loves them.
8. The biggest mistake is not allowing kids to experience little consequences, because later, they will be angry about the larger, unavoidable consequences of an undisciplined life.
9. Admonishment is not enough as fools advance in their sin.

“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 exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” Colossians 3:21

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

“For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12

“For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7

“Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.” Proverbs 23:13

“You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.” Proverbs 23:14

“Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” Proverbs 19:18

“The one who despises the word will be in debt to it, but the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.” Proverbs 13:13

“Good understanding produces favor, but the way of the treacherous is hard.” Proverbs 13:15

“…Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who
despise My name.” Malachi 1:6

Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD. 1 Samuel 2:17

“Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the
doorway of the tent of meeting.” 1 Samuel 2:22

“He said to them, “Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people?” 1 Samuel 2:23

“No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the Lord’s people circulating.” 1 Samuel 2:24

“This will be the sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them will die.” 1 Samuel 2:34

Other Resources:
How Do I Talk To My Kids About Sex?
Can the Bible Be Trusted?

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11 Things to Teach Your Son Before He Heads Off to College

Much to my surprise, I have found dropping off (“turning loose” may be a better term) a young man on a university campus to be a much more sobering experience then dropping off a young woman.

The first two times I loaded the Suburban and headed to college towns it was to drop off my oldest daughters, which, as you can imagine, has its own set of concerns. When I dropped off Ally and Kirby, they were ready to meet, enjoy, and integrate into their college campuses with their eyes wide open and their hearts cemented to the idea that whatever college was about, it was more than just themselves.

My girls and I had long ago shared all the necessary conversations about the duties and dangers of being a young woman in a university setting. Though it is never easy to leave any child you have invested in and enjoyed daily for eighteen years in a strange land to care for themselves, I knew it was time and we were all sad, excited, and ready.

Fast-forward a few years and all of a sudden my wife and I were about to make our way to Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks (the boy had said “no” to the Ivy League option) to drop off our firstborn son. As the day neared, and much to my surprise, I had a growing and much different sense of responsibility in sending off a young man to college then I did a young woman. I knew college meant my son, like my daughters before him, would have a new and greater freedom to live and lead his life as he wanted, AND I knew that there were dads, just like me years earlier, who were dropping off their freshman daughters where they would either be blessed or burdened by the young men around them.

One might think that dropping off a girl and leaving her alone around a bunch of newly unleashed young “men” with unlimited freedom and limited maturity was the more daunting task, but such was not the case for me. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that I found it more sobering to turn loose a potential predator then I did potential prey.

What you have below is a summary of the last hours of conversation this father had with his son as he dropped him off to prayerfully be faithful in “Fayetteville and forever.” I pray daily that these truths would be embedded in his heart for more than just the four years of college, and you can be certain that I am praying now that they will be in some way useful to you as you seek to be faithful yourself and with any men you are charged with shaping. Fayetteville is not the only place that needs faithful men…right where you are does too.

So to my son Cooper (and later Cade and Camp) and to you today, I say…

It’s all about Jesus.

  • College is not a time to taste the world. It’s a time to increase your appetite for God’s Word.
  • First, believe that college is not a time to sow your wild oats. It is a time to show your world Whose you are.
  • John 1:1-4Colossians 1:15-171 Corinthians 6:19-20

Jesus is all about bringing you to the Father, and the Father is all about restoring His glory in you.

If you know the Father and the Son and yield to the Holy Spirit, you will love and serve others.

 You can’t love and serve others if you don’t lead and feed yourself.

How you start each day, each week, and each semester determines more than you can imagine.

Who you choose to run with and live life with is how you will choose to run and live.

Who you are when you’re alone is alone who you are.

Women are not play toys. They are God’s daughters. Honor them. Protect them. Serve them.

  • Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • Wait to taste the lips of a woman. Don’t waste yourself on lust.
  • Consult your dad on all dates and consider every time you are alone with a woman a date.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Proverbs 31:30Proverbs 22:31 Timothy 5:2

Do not choose your friends or your future career by how much fame or finances they offer.

 Be wise. Be humble. Be fun. Beware of the lie that those three are mutually exclusive.

  • You have a powerful enemy who wants you to be foolish, be prideful, and believe that faithfulness to the Father is a fast track to futility. He is a liar.
  • John 8:44Proverbs 13:13-15Psalm 16:11

Be ready. Be bold. Be kind. Be faithful.

If you’re dropping off your own son at college (or know that you will be in a few short years), now is the time to teach him these things. And if you are the newly-minted freshman yourself, commit to building your adult life on these life-giving truths.

How to Live Faithfully in Fayetteville and Forever

Much to my surprise, I have found dropping off (turning loose may be a better term) a young man on a university campus to be a much more sobering experience then the dropping off of a young woman.

The first two previous times I loaded the Suburban and headed to college towns it was to drop off a daughter, which as you can imagine, has its own set of concerns.  When I dropped off Ally and Kirby, they were ready to meet, enjoy and integrate into their college campuses with their eyes wide open and their hearts cemented to the idea that whatever college was about, it was more than just themselves.

My girls and I had long ago shared all the necessary conversations about the duties and dangers of being a young woman in a university setting, and though it is never easy to leave any child you have invested in and enjoyed daily for eighteen years in a strange land to care for themselves, I knew it was time and we were all sad, excited and ready.

Fast-forward to the fall of 2015 and all of a sudden my wife and I were about to make our way to Fayetteville Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks (the boy had “said no” to the Ivy League option) to drop off our first born son.  As the day neared, and much to my surprise, I had a growing and much different sense of responsibility in sending off a young man to college then I did a young woman.  I knew college meant my son, like my daughters before him, would have a new and greater freedom to live and lead his life as he wanted, AND I knew that there were Dad’s, just like me years earlier, who were dropping off their freshman daughters where they would either be blessed or burdened by the young men around them.

One might think that dropping off a girl and leaving her alone around a bunch of newly unleashed young “men” with unlimited freedom and limited maturity was the more daunting task, but such was not the case for me. Without going into too much detail, suffice it say that I found it more sobering to turn loose a potential predator then I did potential prey.

What you have below is a summary of the last hours of conversation this Father had with his son as he dropped him off to prayerfully, be faithful in “Fayetteville and forever”.  You can be certain I pray daily that these truths would be embedded in his heart for more than these next four years and you can be certain that I am praying now that they will be in some way useful to you as you seek to be faithful yourself and with any men you are charged with shaping.  Fayetteville is not the only place that needs faithful men…right where you are does too.

So to Cooper (and eventually Cade and Camp) and to you today, I say….

If you would like to hear a message I gave at a men’s breakfast at Watermark on this very topic listen here, http://www.watermark.org/message/3498

IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS:

  • College is not a time to taste the world. It’s a time to increase your appetite for God’s Word.
  • First, believe that college is not a time to sow your wild oats. It is a time to show your world Whose you are.
  • John 1:1-4; Col. 1:15-17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20

JESUS IS ALL ABOUT BRINGING YOU TO THE FATHER, AND THE FATHER IS ALL ABOUT RESTORING HIS GLORY IN YOU:

  • God does not deny men pleasure, He makes them great.
  • College is the beginning of your revealing the greatness of your God, not having what the world calls a great time. What the world calls a great time does not make great men, God does.
  • John 14:3; 1 Peter 5:10; Col. 1:13-14; Psalm 84:11; Prov. 22:4; Heb. 7:25

IF YOU KNOW THE FATHER AND THE SON AND YIELD TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, YOU WILL LOVE AND SERVE OTHERS:

  • Nothing is about you. Your life is not your own. Great men know this. College is for men.
  • Men understand the principle of delayed gratification. College boys do not.
  • Eph. 5:18-21; Phil. 2:3-5; Prov. 13:16; Ecc. 10:16-17

YOU CAN’T LOVE AND SERVE OTHERS IF YOU DON’T LEAD AND FEED YOURSELF:

  • Discipline is the heavy door that leads to freedom. Lead yourself to be free to serve others. • Everything you read, watch, eat and do is a blessing or a burden.
  • 1 Tim. 4:6-8; 1 Cor. 9:26-27; Prov. 12:27

HOW YOU START EACH DAY, EACH WEEK, EACH SEMESTER DETERMINES MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE:

  • You will be what you are daily becoming.
  • Every day is a day you are preparing for something. Make that something faithfulness.
  • Galatians 6:7-9; Matt. 6:33-34; Psalm 27:4; Prov. 15:14; 18:15

WHO YOU CHOOSE TO RUN WITH AND LIVE LIFE WITH IS HOW YOU WILL CHOOSE TO RUN AND LIVE:

  • The best way to lead yourself is to run with men who follow the King.
  • Make sure your “mighty men” are committed to going to war against enemies of God’s people.
  • 2 Tim. 2:22; Prov. 1:10-18; Heb. 3:13; 1 Cor. 15:33

WHO YOU ARE WHEN YOU’RE ALONE IS ALONE WHO YOU ARE:

  • Live honorably in the dark so you can walk boldly in the light. • Prov. 10:9, 11:3; Mat. 5:11,16

WOMEN ARE NOT PLAY TOYS. THEY ARE GOD’S DAUGHTERS. HONOR THEM. PROTECT THEM. SERVE THEM:

  • Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • Wait to taste the lips of a woman. Don’t waste yourself on lust.
  • Consult your Dad on all dates and consider every time you are alone with a woman a date.
  • 1 Thess. 4:3-8; Prov. 31:30; Prov. 22:3; 1 Tim. 5:2

DO NOT CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS OR YOUR FUTURE CAREER BY HOW MUCH FAME OR FINANCES THEY OFFER:

  •  Money takes wings. Fame is a vapor. Character endures.
  • Love people. Use things. Avoid those who love things and use people.
  • Prov. 23:4-5; 28:20; 1 Tim. 6:9; Heb. 13:5

BE WISE. BE HUMBLE. BE FUN. BEWARE OF THE LIE THAT THOSE THREE ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE:

  • You have a powerful enemy who wants you to be foolish, prideful and believe that faithfulness to the Father is a fast track to futility. He is a liar.
  • John 8:44; Prov. 13:13-15; Psalm 16:11

BE READY. BE BOLD. BE KIND. BE FAITHFUL:

  • Go forth with courage. Return with honor. Live fearlessly because of your future hope.
  • Play the man: Step up. Speak out. Stand firm. Stay humble. Serve the King.
  • 1 Cor. 16:13-14; Jeremiah 1:17-18; Micah 6:8; Prov. 20:6; Heb. 6:10

I will build my life on the truths above.
I will attend my classes (tend to my business) every day.
I will be excellent in my work, diligent in my effort, and my work will  produce results.
I will welcome accountability in all areas of my life.
I will self-report my failures.

Faithful in Fayetteville - Page 1Faithful in Fayetteville - Page 2

Click Here To Download A Hardcopy of this Hand Out

What Does It Mean To Be “God’s Man” Or “God’s Woman?”

FAMILY-LIFE-RADIO-TODD-WAGNER

This week I had the opportunity to speak on Family Life Radio on what it means to be “God’s Man” or “God’s Woman.”

I’ve attached the interviews below for you to check out, and encourage you to download the handouts that go with these interviews here (characteristics of a Godly man) and here (characteristics of a Godly woman.) Be sure to visit the links, print out the handouts, and follow along as you listen to the interviews below.

How To Be A Godly Man

 

How To Be A Godly Woman

There’s no greater gift  a parent can give their children than helping them become the person God created them to be. I encourage to check out the series, Gifts I’d Give My Children, for some additional resources to help you do that.

What ways are you helping your children become the person God created them to be? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!

11 Questions To Regularly Ask Your Kids

Todd Wagner's Questions to Ask Your Kids

The Wagner Family

(Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for additional parenting resources.)

My wife and I were asked to speak a couple of weeks ago to a large group of parents on the topic of “Leaving a Godly Legacy.” (Click here to listen to that talk.) We were encouraged by the presence of so many parents and especially the passion and leadership modeled by the Mom’s leading the ministry at Watermark Community Church. We spent well over an hour talking about the topic.

At one point we shared how we regularly like to give our kids a chance to give us feedback/ help us measure how we are doing at modeling for them the things we HOPE we are modeling for them. ( Deut 6:4-9) While the specific questions change each time, the general idea is still the same. We give our kids a chance to give us direct feedback on the full spectrum of our parenting/leadership.

Below is the latest set of questions I use for the “Wagner family survey.” I encourage you to use them if it would be helpful with your own kids, and please feel free to add some better questions of your own (be sure to leave them in the comments as well!) My only encouragement to you (in addition to actually doing this) is to keep it short, specific and easy to answer. This isn’t the SAT….though it just might be more important!

Questions to Ask Your Kids

  1. What have been some of the best times you have had with your Dad this past year?
  2. If you had to give me some advice on how to be a better Dad, what would it be and why?
  3. If you and I could sit down and talk about ANYTHING…what would it be?
  4. What are some of the things that are making you anxious, fearful or discouraged right now so I can pray for you.
  5. What is something that you would like to do with me?
  6. How can I help you grow in your love for God and in your ability to serve Him and live faithfully for Him?
  7. What has been the best thing I have done this last year, or that we have done together as a family this past year that has helped you the most in your understanding of God and His love for you?
  8. What would you say has been the biggest area of growth for you in the last year?
  9. What have you learned about God/Christ/faith this last year that has blessed you?
  10. If you could grow in any area in the next 12 months….where would you want it to be?
  11. What do you think your Dad is most passionate about?

Additional Resources:

#1 Mistake I See Most Parents Make

If you were with us at Watermark this past Sunday, you heard me talk about what I believe to be the biggest mistake I see parents making.

Check out this condensed clip from Sunday here, or the whole thing here and be spurred on as you love and challenge your children.

Also, stay tuned in the days ahead for more on parenting on this blog.  We hope to post a “Parenting’s Dirty Dozen” soon!