What Does it Mean to Bring up a Child in the Admonition of the Lord?

The Bible makes it crystal clear that fatherhood is the sole property of biological males, starting in Genesis chapter 1-4. God wants men to flourish and grow up into the idea of fatherhood.

In fatherhood, we learn from our errors. When you make a mistake as a father, all that’s left to do is to learn from it and say, “I’m not going to do that again.” Don’t marinate in the emotion of your failure.

Although fatherhood provides lots of emotion and happiness, biological fatherhood is not necessary for happiness as a man. The Scriptures list several passages to describe what gives true happiness. (See Proverbs 29:18, Ecclesiastes 3:22, Ecclesiastes 7:14, and Romans 14.)

Having biological children isn’t the focus of biblical manhood. Paul highlights the spiritual nature of fatherhood in many of his writings. Fatherhood as God intended progressively matures in the Holy Spirit’s interest in fatherhood.

Correction (Man’s Defense)

Ephesian 6:4 commands fathers to not provoke your children to anger. This means not to exasperate your children.

In 2 Samuel 7:11-17, we learn that David, now settled as the king and nearing the end of his life, longs for a place for Jehovah God to settle. God needs no human-made place and didn’t long for that. However, God recognizes that David is temporal and feels the need to have a place to mark his life. God tells David that He will make this house that David desires through David’s son. God will also discipline the house of David.

The focus of God’s discipline is love. God tells David in verse 15, “My favor will not depart from him.” He will not let him go.

It's one thing to love children; it's another to be loyal in that love. It goes beyond mere sentiment to action. Loyal love sometimes needs to be expressed in discipline when we have to say no. Our love should never center around our own self-interest.

Commitment (Man’s Defense)

A father sets a clear direction for the family. In Joshua 24, Joshua encouraged the Israelites to do away with idols and to serve the Lord with sincerity and truth. Joshua makes it clear that God has done something incomparable to any of the so-called gods. He announced that they needed to choose who they would follow, but as for Joshua and his house, they would serve the Lord.

If you choose any other way, you are putting your family on the losing team. What kind of leader is that? Choose God, and put your family on the winning team. It's the only rational thing to do as a father. God is the only one worthy of hero status.

Giving Good Gifts (Man’s Offense)

In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” God is happy to give us good gifts. God's gifts are not always given when or how we want them, but they are good.

Fathers should have an offensive strategy, a plan for giving gifts. Think for a long time about how to emphasize and plan good things for your family. Don’t always spend a lot of time saying “no.” Instead, think of ways to say “yes” and make memorable gifts for your child.

Forgive and Restore (Man’s Offense)

The parable told in Luke 15 can leave a man feeling intimidated. The father here deals lovingly with both sons even though they have different dispositions. The father hugs his son and embodies fatherhood on a deeper spiritual level to restore his son.

Fathers are responsible for the disposition of the home. Be the father who creates a disposition of joyful forgiveness and excited restoration.

Application Points

We serve the Lord exclusively because God is amazing and always wins. That is why fathers need to be in control of their homes and look to God as our example and our source of strength.

  • Are you planning for what is good for your children?
  • Does your love center around your own self-interest? Are you sitting on your failures? Fatherhood should not focus on self but allow the Holy Spirit to transform men to maturity.
  • If you are a dad and you do not know Jesus Christ, consider what He’s done. Without Him, you have a criminal reality because you have violated God’s Law. This reality won’t go away unless you repent of your sins. The Bible describes someone who doesn’t know Jesus as heavy laden. But when you put your faith in the hands of Jesus Christ, He will take away your burden of sin.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Proverbs 29:18
  • Ecclesiastes 3:22
  • Ecclesiastes 7:14
  • Romans 14
  • Philemon 10
  • 1 Timothy 1
  • 1 Corinthians 4
  • 1 Thessalonians 2
  • 2 Samuel 7:11-17
  • Hebrews 12:12-13
  • Joshua 24:1
  • Matthew 7:7-11
  • Luke 15