Never assume you are entitled to blessings.
In about 620 BC, the prophet Habakkuk questioned God as to why He was allowing moral decay in and around Israel. God’s answer undoubtedly surprised Habakkuk. God proclaimed He was going to allow pagan Babylon to conquer Israel. He would use evil to punish evil.
The problem was that Israel had “assumed” God would always bless them, no matter what the circumstances. But God said no. If Israel did not obey His Word, all of it, they would pay the price. And true to the prophecy, Israel spent 70 years exiled in Babylonian captivity.
In 45 AD, Paul quoted this verse as he exhorted a congregation in a Jewish synagogue not to allow complacency.
Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you:
“BEHOLD, YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH;
FOR I AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS,
A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE, THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.” —Acts 13:40-41
The lesson for the Jews in 620 BC, the Christians in 45 AD, and for believers today is simple. God wants us to concentrate on our spiritual growth, not our physical and emotional comfort.
We have three children ages 16, 18 and 20. One is in college and the other two are a sophomore and senior in high school. It is so easy to give up on them because of their attitudes. Especially the senior. Most of what we read says that they are going through that time of “detaching” and that we should leave them alone. But that’s hard, especially when they give us snippy answers to simple questions.
We seem to always be walking on eggshells just to avoid making waves—but there are waves anyway. We feel that they are basically great kids—involved in youth group and go to church. But somewhere we have failed, and this is a situation that constantly gets us down as parents. Of course, we have prayed about this. Please help!!
(This response is to the dad.)
Regardless of age, the Bible commands children to respect their parents.
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged . . . —Deuteronomy 5:16
It is your responsibility to see that your children are continuously taught key Biblical principles.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. —Deuteronomy 6:6-7
So the problem is not entirely your children’s insolence. But regardless, your children are moving into a difficult time of decision making in a self-centered state. If you, or someone else, can’t reach them with the Biblical armor they need, it could be disastrous. So you should quit worrying about “making waves.” By “walking on eggshells” you are promoting their own self-centeredness, not Christ-centeredness.
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but the child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. —Proverbs 29:15
Explain to them that because you love them, you are going to push for God’s best in their lives. But your children need to be taught that God not only loves them (John 3:16) but also is a God who places a high priority on obedience—for their own good.
You must take control of your children. Consider taking some consistent, quality time to do Bible study with your children. You could begin by asking for their forgiveness for not teaching them Scripture like you should have. Start with the basics, even if you think they know them. Then concentrate on verses where God says He expects them to do what He says regardless of their feelings or what the world believes. Naturally you would want to eventually study the verses on authority like:
Obey your leaders, and submit to them; —Hebrews 13:17
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. —Ephesians 6:1
If they don’t respond, you have no choice but to take away privileges, etc.
This should serve as a reminder to all who have children that teaching them spiritual values, foundation, priorities, etc., is more important than anything else in the world.
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Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.
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