Sharon, one of our readers, requested an example of what using wisdom from above would look like. She referenced the last post where we saw that James 3:17 tells us what wisdom from above is like. Here is the verse:
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
This verse, in context, is addressing personal conflict and our use of words. James 3:3-4:3. Parental authority is not absolute, it is derived. “Because I said so”, indicates absolute authority. “Because God said so”, indicates derived authority. This is significant. Your children must understand that you are submitting to the same authority that governs their lives.
Therefore, discipline, in all of its forms, is to be administered with a pure heart, in peace with gentleness. The ones receiving discipline should perceive that they are being treated with mercy and grace in a way that is sincere and impartial. They should be confident their parents are open to reason based upon their accountability to God’s authority.
This is God’s standard.
Irritation, anger, frustration, indignation are all at odds with James 3:17. Parents, we must always allow for the reality that we may be wrong, that we have misread things, or that we are unreasonable. If your children say these things to you it is not necessarily rebellion. It may be the truth! To realize this is not weakness but strength.
I am not advocating that your directions to your children be tentative or weak – just the opposite. The more confident you are of God’s wisdom the more peaceful, gentle, and open to reason you will be. If things are already in a state of conflict in your home, it may take awhile to show the difference that wisdom from above makes. God’s wisdom will turn things around. If things are going relatively well then making the transition to implementing wisdom from above will bring encouragement. In both cases wisdom from above is how God’s wants you to proceed.
It is vital to establish God’s authority with young children. Your three year old should not be demanding explanations or calling you to account. But, as your children grow older, you want to be able to engage them about how they perceive your discipline and your accountability to God.
Sharon, this may not be the exact answer you were looking for. But, here is the takeaway from James 3:17 that will help you live out wisdom from above:
As a parent, you do not want to take your children to where you are. You want to take them to the place you long for – the cross.