What happens to a person who continually yields the members of his body to a particular sin? He becomes a slave to the sin by which he chose to be mastered. (Rom. 6:16)
What does God call an individual who continually gives himself over to folly? God calls him a fool. (Proverbs 26:11)
Rebellion does not just happen in a child's heart overnight. It goes through a series of steps. First, the child has a wounded spirit or hurt feelings (possibly due to the way a parent disciplined the child or some other offense whether it is real or just perceived). Next, the child grows bitter. Then, angry. And Stubborn. Finally, Rebellion sets in and you see that you have a major problem and need to change.
A rebellious child is a child whose characteristics have gone beyond that of an angry man and assumed the characteristics of a proverbial fool.
25 Characteristics of a Fool:
Despises wisdom and instruction Proverbs 1:7
Hates knowledge Proverbs 1:22
Grieves His mother Proverbs 10:1
Enjoys devising mischief Proverbs 10:23
Right in his own eyes Proverbs 12:15
Quick to anger Proverbs 12:16
Hates to depart from evil Proverbs 13:19
Deceitful Proverbs 14:8
Arrogant and careless Proverbs 14:16
Rejects his father's instruction Proverbs 15:5
Despises his mother (and/or father) Proverbs 15:20
Does not respond well to discipline Proverbs 17:10
Does not understand wisdom Proverbs 17:16
Has a worldly focus Proverbs 17:24
Grieves his parents Proverbs 17:25
Hurts his parents Proverbs 17:25
Will not discuss any viewpoint but his own Proverbs 18:2
Provokes others to strife and anger by his words Proverbs 18:6
A smart mouth usually gets him into trouble Proverbs 18:7
Is quarrelsome Proverbs 20:3
Is a spendthrift Proverbs 21:20
Repeats his folly (foolishness) Proverbs 26:11
Trusts in his own heart Proverbs 28:26
Cannot resolve conflicts Proverbs 29:9
Gives full vent to his anger Proverbs 29:11
As hard as it is to admit, I started seeing this problem in one of my children very early on around the age of 18 months. Most parents would just dismiss it and say that it was just typical childish behavior and that this child would just outgrow it. No, the problem just gets worse with age. I dealt with it, but not always biblical, making it worse. I thought that because I was dealing with it that I was better than the mom who just gave in and gave their child whatever they wanted. In fact, I was addressing the issue and not ignoring it. My sinful behavior was never being dealt with. Then I tried to justify it by using scripture. Now, I am not saying that it is wrong to discipline your child! I firmly believe that the rod of correction used in love will fully drive out the heart of folly within a child. I am just saying that a parent should first examine his or her own heart before dealing with their child's heart and determine the motive for the discipline in the first place and see it as an offense against God and not an offense against him/herself. That is the issue anyway- we have sinned against our Almighty, Heavenly Father when we discipline in anger or provoke our children to wrath by our own sinful response and we need to seek His guidance and counsel first.
I know that this is a long post, but I found a lot of helpful advice in Lou Priolo's book that I was hoping would help others to examine their own hearts. I would like to talk next about whether your home is a child-centered home or a God-centered home. Since it is still very early in the morning I have time that I do not normally have to write this blog post. I hope that someone out there will find it helpful as I have.
The Child-Centered HomeInterrupt adults when they are talking
Use manipulation and rebellion to get their way
Dictate family schedule (including meal times, bed times, etc.)
Take precedence over the needs of the spouse
Have an equal or overriding vote in all decision making matters
Demand excessive time and attention from parents to the detriments of the other biblical responsibilities of the parents
Escape the consequences of their sinful and irresponsible behavior
Speak to parents as though they were peers
Be the dominate influence in the home
Be entertained and coddled (rather than disciplined) out of a bad mood.The God-Centered HomeTo joyfully serve others
To cheerfully obey parents the first time
To not interrupt parents who are speaking to each other
To understand that they will not always get their own way
To work their schedule around their parents' schedule
To have input into family decisions but not necessarily an equal vote
To understand that God has given their parents other responsibilities in addition to meeting their needs
To suffer the natural consequences of their sinful and irresponsible behavior
To not speak to parents as though they were peers but honor them as spiritual authorities
To esteem others as more important than themselves
To fulfill various household responsibilities (chores)
To protect themselves from certain bad influences
To not divide parents over disciplinary issues
To not be more intimate with either parent than the parents are with each other.
Which model best fits your family? Child-centered or God-centered. In the child-centered the child perceives that the entire family exists essentially to please and make him or her happy. Mother and Father and siblings exist only to serve and meet the child's needs and desires. In the God-centered family the child perceives that the husband is the head of the family and the wife is submissive to her husband. Theirs is the primary relationship. It is permanent and exists to glorify God. Children have a secondary and temporary relationship.
As I sat and read Lou Priolo's book this morning I was brought to my knees in repentance. You would think that a pastor's family who places God as first in our lives and faithfully seeks to teach our children about God by having family worship twice a day because we realize the importance of teaching our children about God would be a family that is God-centered and have it all together. We are sinners just like everyone else on this journey called life. In fact, we do not have it all together. We have a long way to go. Many days our life we have a very child-centered, chaotic, and not peaceful home. I began this morning by confessing my sins to God and asking His forgiveness and help to obey His Word. I want to live a life that is pleasing to my heavenly Father.
This book will offer helpful advice on how to have a God-centered home and will address the heart of anger by giving practical help. As I continue to read more, I will write more. For now, God has created us to glorify and honor Him by loving Him and doing what He commands.