As I was reading this morning, I read a verse that would seem to me to be one of the saddest verses in the Bible.

Samuel was one of the greatest prophets during the Old Testament.  He served as Israel’s judge for many years (1 Samuel 7:15-17).  In fact, he was the one who anointed Israel’s first King.

He had so many accomplishments as the nation’s judge and prophet.

However…

“… his sons did not walk in his ways.  They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” (1 Samuel 8:3)

I cannot exchange ministry success with failure in the home.  It won’t be right to sacrifice family in the altar of success.  I cannot.  We should not.  There’s just no comparison.

I told our staff yesterday at Victory Fort that as a pastor, I am not indispensable.   There are lots who can replace me with what I do for the church – better, smarter and more gifted guys.  But as a husband and father, there’s just no replacement.  My kids will only have one dad.  If the time comes that I’ll have to choose between my family and the church (which I hope will never come), I’m outta here.

You guys know me.  I’m a ‘whatever-it-takes’ kind of guy.  I will do whatever it takes to advance the kingdom of God.  But between ministry success and family, there’s really just no competition at all.

One of our goals as parents is that the older our kids get, the less control we exercise over them.  Time will come that we won’t be there with them 24/7.  We won’t and we can’t.

Therefore, as early as now, one of the things I need to teach my kids is to teach them self-discipline.

Self discipline is saying no to foolish behavior so that he can say yes to the plans and purposes God has for his life.

Our goal as parents is that our kids will eventually become their own disciplinarian.
Here’s how Steve Farrar puts it on raising self-disciplined kids, particularly boys:

  • A self-disciplined son learns to control his emotions and drives.  In other words, he can put a cap on his anger and exercise control in his sex life.
  • A self-disciplined son respects authority, even when he doesn’t agree with it.
  • A self-disciplined son grasps the value of future reward over immediate gratification.
  • A self-disciplined son has learned to see outside his own little world of his own needs.  In fact, he sees it as his honor and duty to sacrifice to meet the needs of those he loves.
  • A self-disciplined son is a self-starter.  He doesn’t need his mom to get him up every morning so that he won’t be late for his senior English class.

Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives. (Prov. 19:18, NLT)