Erin Kranz  

Today's Scripture: “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21, ESV   

Theme: Encourage the next generation; don’t belittle. Spur them on and lift them up.   


It’s interesting that we find this verse about how fathers should treat their children immediately following Paul’s command for children to obey their parents. In some ways, the preceding verse is the one we’re more comfortable with. But God is our loving Father, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that He has a vision for how we should lead our own children, also.   


As parents, or even leaders of children, we are called to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Psalm 22:6, ESV). Yet there is a subtle difference between “training” and “provoking,” and it can be immediately evident when that line has been crossed. Badgering, belittling, or over-correcting a child can take them from learning an important life lesson to making them deflated, discouraged, or angry instead. The lesson is lost, and, over time, the relationship will be lost as well.   


What, then, does biblical training-up look like? In seeking how to teach or admonish the next generation, let’s keep this verse in mind: “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13, ESV). If we want our children to hear and absorb our teaching, we must surround it with compassion and love. I don’t know about you, but I know the last thing I want is for my children to become discouraged and give up. I want Will and I to be the voices that constantly point them back to God, to be their safe place, and for them to live a life free from the fear of judgement or failure. I want to give grace like God, who gives us grace and always welcomes us back to His arms.   

Make It Personal: Even if you don’t have children, who from the next generation can you be encouraging? Your godly leadership and encouragement are valuable! Have you shied away from important conversations or topics, or feel like you’ve not shown compassion like Christ? Pray for God’s guidance, ask for forgiveness, and dive back in.  

Pray: Dear God, thank You for showing us what a true Father’s love looks like. Thank You for Your Word and for all the wisdom and instruction that You have given us. Help us to love, teach, and encourage the next generation so they can learn to love and follow You and continue to grow Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Read: Proverbs 22:6, 23:24, Psalm 103:13; Proverbs 4:10-12 

Weekly Memory Verse: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24, ESV