The Encourager

The Encourager

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Why Should We Care About Conduct?

Friday, January 07, 2022

Why Should We Care About Conduct?

by David Dann

The apostle Peter writes of the relationship between the Christian, his conduct, and his Heavenly Father in the following manner: “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear” (1 Pet. 1:15-17, NKJV).

Conduct has to do with one’s behavior and manner of life. Why should we care about our conduct? In answer to that question, please notice the instruction provided in the first letter of the apostle Peter concerning the importance of godly conduct. The right kind of behavior on the part of a child of God will:

1. Lead others to glorify God. Peter writes, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:11-12). Godly conduct is not intended to glorify the Christian, but is instead intended to bring glory to the Lord, who has instructed the Christian to behave in an honorable manner. As Jesus put it, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Godly conduct can lead even those of the world to glorify God.

2. Silence those who are foolish. When it comes to submitting to the civil ordinances of man, Peter writes, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Pet. 2:15). The world is filled with foolish people who blaspheme the Lord and who seek to constantly point out what they perceive to be flaws and hypocrisy in the actions of the Lord’s people. But godly conduct on the part of the Christian can silence even the most foolish critics.

3. Win unfaithful mates to Christ. With regard to the marriage relationship, Peter writes, “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear” (1 Pet. 3:1-2). While angry outbursts and malicious behavior will alienate husbands and wives from one another and from the Lord, godly conduct can serve as a powerful influence when it comes to winning one’s mate to the Lord.

4. Cause the enemies of righteousness to be ashamed. Peter writes, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (1 Pet. 3:15-16). Since we refuse to approve of those things which the word of God condemns, followers of Christ are often branded by the world as being hateful, mean-spirited, or intolerant. But godly conduct on the part of the child of God can serve to put to shame those who would disparage and malign His people.

Conclusion: Since the Lord is coming in judgment and will destroy the present world, Peter asks, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” (2 Pet. 3:11-12). How is your conduct?

Parents Shold Teach Their Children... About the Importance of Bible Study

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Parents Should Teach Their Children… About Sin and Keeping Themselves Pure

by David Holder

Standing in the checkout lane, four-year-old Blake wanted the gummy bears as much as he had ever wanted anything. He begged to have the candy. Mom said, “No.” He whimpered a little to see if this would do any good. It didn’t. Blake considered throwing a tantrum, but that usually backfired (in a literal sense of the term!). Then it came to him. He could wait until something diverted Mom’s attention, then slip a package of gummy bears into his pocket. No one would ever know.

But someone did know. His mother discovered the crumpled wrapper left in his pocket, and the truth finally emerged. Mom marched Blake to the store with what little money he had and they talked with the store manager. Blake paid for the gummy bears, apologized profusely, and who knows what else happened when they returned home.

This mother was using a real-life experience to teach her son right from wrong, good from bad. Godly parents are intensely concerned to teach these principles to their children, knowing that a child’s wrong behavior will at some point be sin. Teaching children in their formative years about sin includes two fundamental principles to be noted here and then applied.

Good Kids, Bad Behavior

God didn’t create any bad kids. He makes and entrusts every parent with good kids. But good kids learn to do bad things. Left uncorrected and untaught, it doesn’t take long for a good kid to become a “bad kid.” What is intrinsically good becomes corrupted by bad behavior left unchecked (Eph. 4:17-19).

Parents should recognize their children as made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27; 4:1) and given as a gift from Him (Ps. 127:3). As the poster boy or girl says crudely but accurately, “I know I’m somebody, because God don’t make no junk.” This view will help parents promote their children’s self-worth.

Children need to learn to love themselves in a healthy way, so they may learn to love God and others (Matt. 22:39). To build proper self-esteem, parents should carefully distinguish between a child’s person and behavior. The first fundamental working principle is for parents to help children see they are intrinsically good, though their behavior may at times be bad.

I suggest that parents not say, “Bad boy” or “Bad girl,” but use words that affirm a child’s goodness and our love for them while distinguishing their bad behavior. “You are a good boy, but you have done something bad. Because I love you, I will punish your behavior and teach you to behave better.”

Decisions and Actions Have Consequences

A second fundamental working principle is that decisions and actions have consequences. This principle is a component of discipline. Parents who love their children discipline them (Heb. 12:7-8), both instructively and correctively. Instructive discipline is teaching them right from wrong. Corrective

discipline is helping them understand the consequences of wrong decisions and actions. Corrective discipline typically includes inflicting a degree of pain. By means of an unpleasant or painful experience, parents help their children connect actions and consequences. This same principle is employed positively by reinforcing good behavior.

Parents do a grave disservice by not helping children understand that actions have consequences. Nothing I say here should be understood to sanction abusing children, but the Bible teaches that there are circumstances in which the “rod” is useful. The wise sage of Proverbs writes, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (13:24). “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (22:15; cf. 23:13-14; 29:15).

Most people who object to spanking children refer to the action as “beating.” This is a loaded term that does not properly convey what a parent does who lovingly disciplines with a spanking. This parent is purposefully inflicting a measure of pain to teach a vital lesson: Decisions and actions have consequences; wrong ones have painful consequences. As a child grows, other forms of “pain” are brought to bear.

From employing this vital principle stems the lesson of responsibility. Children learn there are consequences to their actions, that they are responsible and will be held accountable. Is there any principle more fundamental for an effective life and a proper relationship with God?

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