May (he) walk after You, God, and fear You and keep Your commandments and obey Your voice. May he serve You and hold fast to You (Deuteronomy 13:4).
“No.” he stated defiantly.
When I repeated my request for him to share his crayons with his younger brothers, the “Noooo” was repeated as a battle cry and the crayons were flung across the room. Now his two younger brothers were crying, and I was one frustrated mama.
This isn’t an unusual scenario. No, it’s all too familiar. I’ve often wondered why obedience is so difficult for him when his brothers seem to understand. Where have I failed him as a parent?
Like my son, I’m stubborn. I must get to my wit’s end before I’m driven to prayer—where I ask, “What God, should I do? How do I deal with this young man?”
Praying for an Obedient Spirit
As my husband and I each continued to come up against a brick wall with our son, all of our discipline seemingly for naught, we finally were driven to prayer and searching the Bible. We were driven to seek out wise counsel.
We learned that God doesn’t instantly change our children just because we want him to. Like many things in life, we often learn much about ourselves through prayer. We learn how we need to change; we learn how we need to grow.
Once upon a time, I thought I knew the way to discipline. It seemed to work quite well with my oldest son. I would proudly say, “I won’t ever have a child that acts like that.” Famous last words, right?
It wasn’t long after I uttered those dreadful words, that I realized the child who acts like that, was mine. Oy.
We are not all the same. God does not dole out discipline to his people in exactly the same manner. The Lord sent the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years after their incessant grumbling, complaining, and lack of faith. Jesus reproached Peter for his violence with a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane with a harsh rebuke.
God knows his children. He disciplines them the way they need to be disciplined—in a way that will bring about repentance. What an eye-opener.
My husband and I began to ask ourselves:
- If God uses various methods to discipline us, should we begin to think about more effective ways of disciplining our son for his disobedience?
- Does the way I discipline bring about a spirit of repentance and sorrow, or does it create rage?
- What do we want the end result of discipline to be? Simply physical obedience? No. We desire our boys to have a humble and submissive spirit of obedience, ready to obey his parents and God.
We began to realize the way we were disciplining our son, the way we thought was the only way to do it, was in fact driving a wedge between us and our son. It was inciting him to anger. He wasn’t receptive to our training. We’ve had to begin observing how different types of discipline impacts our child. We’ve had to get creative with our discipline.
Disciplining in this manner may be more labor intensive, but it’s worth it in the end.
Through seeking God’s will in this issue, we have begun to make progress. As we deal with outbursts of anger and defiance in a more God-honoring way, we are beginning to see changes in our son.
- His spirit has begun to soften.
- He is more receptive to our instruction.
- We are dealing with the outbursts of anger and disobedience much more infrequently.
How can you foster a spirit of obedience?
Trisha is the happy wife to Luke and homeschooling mom to four boys. She enjoys blogging, creating homeschool resources, and resources to help families raise godly families with her husband at IntoxicatedOnLife.com. Stop by for free access to their growing library of resources!