Encouraging Obedience

Proverbs 16 provides wise instruction for parents who want to train their children to obey. It offers key, comprehensive insights about establishing authority on the basis of righteousness; this kind of authority is essential for biblical parenting. Let’s take a look at what the Holy Spirit has prepared for those whom God has placed in authority. I will pay particular attention to how these truths apply to the family, but the principles are valuable for anyone who has authority over others.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit to the LORD whatever
you do,  and your plans will succeed.

This is the starting point. The commitment indicated here is total. This verse is not to be thought of as an instant formula as in: Step one – commit my plan to God. Step two – success for my plan. The commitment mentioned here is one of giving your life totally over to God and his ways. Pro. 3:5&6. Commitment to the Lord because of your love for him is the focus of the proverb. This is not so much as achieving a single outcome as it as committing all of your life to honor God. In parenting this would mean a commitment to use God’s methods to accomplish God’s purpose.

Proverbs 16:11

Honest scales and balances are from the LORD;
all the weights in the bag are of his making.

This couplet stresses the importance of integrity in leadership. Authority should be accompanied by personal integrity. Parents should mean what they say and say what they mean. Forgetting to keep promises made weighs heavily on children. Give careful thought to what you promise.

Proverbs 16:12

See the last few posts.

Proverbs 16:15

When a king’s face brightens, it means life;
his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.

Your countenance is a huge part of your effectiveness as a parent. It is easy to lose sight of how important facial expressions are to your children. Showing appreciation and gratitude for your children must not be neglected. A warm smile directed at your young child is a great encouragement. If all your teenager sees is a worried frown, that will not encourage him to come to you with the things he needs help with.

Proverbs 16:16

How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to choose understanding rather than silver!

Consistency is important. If you tell your children that serving God and obeying him is the most important thing in life but constantly worry and fret about financial matters you are in effect saying that the financial issues are the ones of most importance. Children are especially adept in picking up on areas of inconsistency. This proverb is an excellent one to check your own heart. What really is important in your life?

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.

If haughtiness and open frustration mark your parenting, trouble will not be far behind. How do your children perceive your spirit? Are you thrilled that you have the opportunity to bring the words of life to your children? Showing exasperation with your children is actually conveying a haughty spirit.

Proverbs 16:20-24

Pleasant words promote instruction.

This is a powerful passage. As James 1:20 says, man’s anger will not bring about the righteous life that God desires. The thoughtful use of pleasant words will richly bless you and your children as well help to establish your authority.

These proverbs are worth your time to ponder, consider and apply them to your life and your parenting. Let me know your thoughts as you work through them.

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