Fifth, a father TRAINS his children.
Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:16–19, NLT)
The less politically-correct way of saying this is “disciplinarian.” I don’t like that word because we think of discipline as just punishment, but it is really training. But let’s face it: most of us don’t like discipline – either from our earthly father or our heavenly Father.
My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:11–12, NLT)
Most of us grow out of this notion (but some never do) that love means getting to do whatever you want. But it is impossible to love without discipline. How can you love someone and not care if they are harming themselves or others? How can you love someone and not want them to reach the full potential they were created for?
Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24, NLT)
Think of the difference between the discipline of a judge and the discipline of a father. A judge is just following the law. He has no emotional connection. He has no desire to see the guilty reach their full potential. He’s just concerned with protecting the public. He doesn’t love the accused. He doesn’t have time for the accused. You’re just a number to the judge.
But a father… a father is tender and compassionate. He can lay down the law if that’s what his child needs or he can show mercy if that’s what would most benefit the child. The father loves his child and desires not just to protect society but to train his child in the way he or she should go. The father takes time to train his child. This isn’t just a number. This is my son; my daughter whom I love.
Fathers, care enough to train your children.