Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
I’ve been going back through Heartfelt Discipline, and just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to discuss some of its ideas on here
In the first chapter of Heartfelt Discipline, Clay Clarkson discusses the above verse and where many parents go wrong in their attempt to watch over their children’s hearts.
You have to buy the book if you want all of the greek word study
The words used in this verse for “watch over” are used to refer to ideas like guarding a facility or being a watchman on the walls. These are ideas that convey guarding what goes INTO the heart rather than OUT of the heart.
Let’s say there are two kinds of parents: those who watch over what comes out of their child’s heart and mind, and those who watch over what goes into their child’s heart and mind. The first group is vigilant to restrain their child’s sin (what comes out of the chlid’s heart). They carefully watch over their child’s words and actions so as to catch the sin as soon as it appears. When the child sins, there is an immediate and usually negative response from the parents…
…rather than obsessing over what comes out of a child’s heart, an advocate parent focuses on what goes into his or her heart. Such parenting is all about cultivating “good soil” that will receive the truth of the gospel. The parents’ role is to prepare a child’s heart to receive the seed of the Word of God that will “lead to salvation.”
Yes! I love this. So many parenting gurus want you to focus on what is coming OUT of the heart. That misses the point entirely! If you only change what comes out of the heart, then you are never REACHING the heart!
To a busy, frustrated parent, applying purely practical solutions to a spiritual problem might seem to “work”: It stops the negative behavior. But such practical “solutions” gloss over the real, spiritual problem. Parents can almost always exercise enough power over younger children to gain control over a behavioral problem. But what happens when the parents aren’t around to monitor and control the child’s wrong behavior? If the root cause hasn’t been addressed, then the behavior will continue.
It is our job to guide our children and to help them stay on the narrow path. When they stray, we help them back on. It doesn’t stop there though, there must be something done at the heart level, not just a quick bandaid.
You are a Godly guide… training and instructing them about how to walk this path in order to find life as God intended it to be. You are also warning them about the dangers that would lead them away from the path and correcting them when they stray from the path. This full, biblical picture of discipline reflects an ongoing heart-to-heart relationship in which you are patiently and lovingly guiding the child.
Childhood discipline is a process, not a formula, a list of rules, or a set of laws. Childhood discipline is about relationship and instruction, about parents seeking God’s wisdom, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, and trusting God.
I understand why parents long for an easy “10 steps to a perfect Christian child”, but that’s not the way the Bible works. Think of all of the details that God gave when it came to eating, which clothes to wear, how to shave beards, and how to build houses. He wasn’t that way with raising children. There are a few verses spread throughout the Bible that leave a lot open to interpretation. As I blogged about before, the verses in Deuteronomy and 1 Thes. are probably some of the most desciptive, but they still have a lot of wiggle room.
Hmm, lots to think about What a great first chapter!