Today’s Scripture: And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

On Father’s Day in previous years, at Quentin Road Baptist Church, we would give a young tomato plant to all the dads in attendance that day. The first dad who brought back a ripe tomato from the plant would receive a gift card. It illustrated the similarities between gardening and parenting.

When you grow a plant, you make sure it gets water and attention – you’re going to go out and nurture those plants every day. It’s the idea of tutorage or training.

If you’re going to be an epic dad, you’re going to have to have both sides of the equation found in our Scripture passage today. If you only have admonition, rebuke, chastening, and discipline, your children will not respond properly. You are a tyrant if all you do is focus on the negative, always criticizing and correcting. Correction is important, but it must be balanced with the nurturing side.

The nurturing side is the positive side. It is you learning how to encourage, to teach, and to not provoke. We need to find this balance in life. When Ephesians was written, it was in a different culture and a different age. However, the command still applies to us today, just as much as when it was written.

It is important to lovingly discipline. If kids are left to themselves, they will become rebels. Modern psychology says that man is basically good, but God’s Word tells us that we are naturally sinful. Our kids are born with a sin nature.

Proverbs 3:12 reminds us that whom the Lord loves He corrects. God’s not going to just let us run rampant and do what we want to do. If we do that, we are harming ourselves and other people. The best thing for us is to learn that a little discipline now will spare us from a lot of pain later. God disciplines us for our own good (Hebrews 12:10, Proverbs 29:15).

Children who grow up in homes without discipline often feel unloved. Don’t follow the modern psychiatry and humanism; follow what God says. Love them and discipline them, but always have more love than discipline.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.