The following outline depicts areas in which families need wisdom, that is, areas in which they have it tough.
Then, the Scripture gives the type of BEHAVIOR that will lead to BLESSING in each of the areas in which families are challenged.
1. Families are challenged in the FUNDAMENTALS. Proverbs 3:1-2
1My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
2For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
Every parent is looking for children to obey their law and commandments. This is fundamental.
The BEHAVIOR needed is OBEDIENCE FROM THE HEART - "let thine heart keep my commandments."
Fathers and mothers must seek to guide a child’s heart if they expect them to follow their instructions. The kind of obedience that God wants in all of us comes from love.
The BLESSING rewarded is A LONG AND PEACEFUL LIFE.
Many psychological and physical problems in life stem from inward disobedience. ATTITUDES are essentially important to a blessed life.
Helping our children obtain and maintain a positive attitude by our example and instructions, by the way we reward ATTITUDES, not just BEHAVIOR, is the foundation to child behavior modification.
2. Families are challenged in FORGIVENESS. Proverbs 3:3-4
3Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
4So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
These verses teach that mercy and truth must be balanced. Mercy is the disposition to forgive.
The BEHAVIOR sought is FORGIVENESS by TRUTH.
There are basically three types of parent:
1) The Permissive Parent, who allows anything, failing to lovingly confront their child’s misbehavior out of laziness, ignorance, or misunderstanding of their God-given place as a parent. (Children raised by this type of parent have a hard time leaving the nest.)
2) The Authoritarian Parent, who goes too far in discipline by judgmentalism without builing a loving relationship. (Chilren raised by this typeof parent can’t wait to leave the nest!)
3) The Authoritative Parent, who balances love and discipline. The child knows his or her boundaries but also knows he or she has been given those boundaries because of love. (Children raised by this type of parent will leave the nest at the right time with a good attitude.)
The Authoritative Parent balances MERCY and TRUTH properly as these verse teach. They raise well-adjusted children who are able to get along with others and function productively in society and when they begin their own families.
The Authoritative Parent is a reflection of how God parents. His correction of us includes mercy and truth!
The BLESSING of authoritative parenting, that blends mercy and truth, is FAVOR AND UNDERSTANDING from God.
3. Families are challenged in regard to the FUTURE. Proverbs 3:5-6
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The BEHAVIOR sought after is TRUST. When we think of the future for ourselves and our children we could be plagued with worry if we fail to trust God. As we trust Him our children follow our lead. They become confident and well-adjusted because they acknowledge God.
The BLESSING of TRUST is DIRECTION from God! As we need light for our path, God provides it because we trust Him!
4. Families are challenged how to have FUN. Proverbs 3:7-8
7Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
8It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Entertainment and amusement are great ways for families to share lighthearted moments of laughter together. But the resources provided by a culture that bay and large does not know God are fraught with danger.
The BEHAVIOR sought after is RESPECT & RESTRAINT. "Fear the Lord, and depart from evil."
As with mercy and truth there needs to be a healthy balance and good Christians disagree on where to draw the line. Just make sure that every fun-filled activity in which your family is involved is respectful of God and not associated with evil.
The BLESSING of such behavior is HEALTH & VITALITY!
Children, especially in a Christ-honoring home, need to discover that following Christ is not a hum-drum experience. Wise parents will provide wholesome ways for their family to have fun - but it is not necessary to be a "stick in the mud."
5. Families are challenged in FINANCES. Proverbs 3:9-10
9Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
10So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
The BEHAVIOR sought: Honor the LORD with your material possessions. "Firstfruits" means that God comes first in how we earn, invest, and spend our money.
God is the owner of all we have. We are managers for Him.
Convential wisdom says that we can’t give to God until we’ve paid all of the bills and taken care of our family financially. But God’s wisdom says that His work comes first.
The BLESSING? Barns filled with plenty...presses that burst out with new wine. The truth is that he who gives to God first has more left over!
6. Families are challenged with FAILURE. Proverbs 3:11-12
11My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
12For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
BEHAVIOR: A positive attitude about correction and discipline.
Start young teaching your child that when they fail you re-direct their attitude by loving discipline so that they will be better equipped not to fail in the future.
This is a reflection of how our loving Heavenly Father relates to us.
BLESSING: God’s love and DELIGHT!