Fathering Don’ts and Dos from Ephesians 6 – “Exasperate”


Ephesians 6:4

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

The primary verse in the New Testament for fathers begins with an exhortation of what ‘not to do’… exasperate – to provoke or cause someone to become annoyed and frustrated; 

Of all the things that Paul could specifically address to dads, he starts with this. 

What are some ways that a father might exasperate his child without even knowing it?

1. Moving target. 

Kids are wired and even commanded (Eph. 6:1) to obey their parents, but what if a father’s commands, his rules, the standards that he sets are not consistent but are always moving and changing? 

2. Withholding affirmation. 

Kids of all ages are also wired to hear the verbal, unconditional love and affirmation of their own father. God the Father shows us the way here….

Matthew 3:17

“And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

3. Do what I say, not what I do. 

Kids of all ages are going to be provoked to frustration when their father will tell them what to do but will not provide a model for them to follow. Some may call this a hypocrite. Paul, a spiritual father to many, shows us the way as he tells his spiritual children;

I Corinthians 11:1

“Follow me, as I follow Christ”. 

Prayer.  Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to ways I might unintentionally exasperate my own children and help me to be a loving, consistent model that they can be encouraged to follow. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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