Finding Their "Bent"....discipline

Posted by  | Thursday, September 24, 2009  at 5:00 AM  
Does God punish his children? No, the punishment of God was laid on Jesus at the cross. But does He discipline His children? Yes, He disciplines us to put us where He wants us and to teach us so we can be used for His glory. This is exactly how God has planned the parent/child relationship to be. Keeping the end goal in mind is essential in our discipline/training that we use with our children. What’s the goal? For our children to come to know Jesus, to love Him, serve Him and desire for Him to be glorified in their lives.

Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof. For the Lord disciplines those he loves as a father the son in who he delights.”

Discipline is necessary as parents but what does the bible say about HOW we discipline. One of my favorite verses says,“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. I believe this verse is one of the most misunderstood verses in all of scripture and is taught wrongly in most churches. Most interpret this verse to say that we teach our kids about Jesus, they will turn away, but then one day they will come back to Him. How many times have you seen parents raise their kids, teach them about Jesus, they ran the other way and then really never came back to Him? I know of many…so, what does this verse really say about “training our children in the way they should go?”

I recently heard a sermon from a pastor I highly respect and this is how he explained this verse. “The way he should go” comes from a Hebrew verb derived from a bow hunting term. It is a picture of a hunter trying to find just the right bow. The hunter used to go out and look at tree branches to find just the right one with the right “bend”, would study the grain and then would work that branch until it was the perfect bow so he could shoot his arrows in just the right direction that he wanted them to go. This is what scripture is referring to in regards to training (or disciplining) our children. We are to study them according to their “bent” so we can shoot them as arrows where God desires to use them for His glory. So, if we were to put the bow hunting term in that verse it would read, “Train up a child (according to their bent) and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

How do we know our child’s bent or the bent of each of our children? There is not one parenting style that works for all children. If you have more than one child, you know exactly what I am talking about. We all know that all children are different so it is so important for us to know what makes our child tick (or find their bent) when it comes to discipline. So, how do we practically do that?

1.We have to be hands on with our time….study them, learn their spiritual gifts, learn their love language, and know their likes and dislikes.

2.Study our kids…When we study our children we can teach them to take those gifts to make an impact on the world for Christ. When we train/discipline them according to their bent, they will recognize how God made them and will see where they fit into His plan. For example, one of my children has very strong, leadership type characteristics…you could say she is bossy!:) Now some would say that being bossy is not a good quality to have. But we are tapping into that, studying that and directing that leadership quality to be used for God’s glory.

3.Use right discipline at the right time. When we study our children we quickly find out what makes them happy, mad, silly or sad. If we are too rigid we will “break the bend” and if we are not rigid enough the “bend of the bow” will be flimsy and not be shot in the direction that God desires. Pray for wisdom each day to know exactly how and when to discipline.

Bending our kids in ways they weren’t meant to be bent is dangerous. This happens when we don’t really study and know our children….

God, give us wisdom with our children in knowing exactly how to train/discipline them. We know they are a gift from You. Help us understand our children and their “bend.” Teach us to spend quality time studying them so we can know how they tick. Help us not be too rigid or not rigid enough. God, we want to shoot these kids as arrows into Your perfect will for their lives to see You glorified!!!


Courtney said...

I really like this post, because I feel that verse is definitely misunderstood. I have had so many parents return to the church after having their first child and are "rededictating" their lives while participating in our parent commissioning (similar to baby dedication) service. They choose that verse and don't seem to understand it at all.
Did you listen to that sermon online somewhere that you could give us the link? I would really enjoy listening to it I think...

Matt and Stacey said...

the sermon was from the pastor at The Church at Battle Creek in Broken Arrow, can find them online..his name is Alex Himaya...he is a great pastor and may have heard of him speaking at youth camps...he does that a lot. He may still have the series online..I think it is called "In the Right Order"...a parenting series.


mzyelle said...

Interesting that you said you heard the paster in Broken Arrow. I was planning on visiting that church myself as my husband and I are searching for a church home! I live in Tulsa and have heard great things about him. Are you from this area?

Matt and Stacey said...

Oh is a GREAT church and you will love he and his wife, Meredith! No, I am not from that area but we went to college with Alex and Meredith and were in each others weddings. He and my husband were study partners for all nighters for their bible classes.:) A couple that was on staff there for several years just moved where we are and actually live in our apartment building...Battle Creek also sends groups here to encourage us overseas. Go try it out..very cool!

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