is more than just teaching.

Ephesians 6:1–4 (NKJV)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

This is the same math-hack as the one for marriage. Parents obviously agape their children. Children should recognize and appreciate this. If they don’t, they’re only ruining their own lives. In yet another purpose construct, Paul says they should obey their parents for the purpose that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. That’s a promise.

We’ve all seen this go wrong and watched in horror as a child deliberately makes big mistakes. The last sentence in this passage is advice on how to prevent that. Self-destructive behavior is often rooted in rebellion. To prevent this, parents must not provoke your children to wrath. That wrath starts a process that leads to destruction.

Instead, parents should bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. The key word here is training. Don’t just teach your children about Jesus, train them to follow Him.

A big part of what’s wrong with Christianity today is that we confuse teaching with training. We teach people all about Jesus, but we never train them to practice His kingship. Jesus said, “Follow me,” not, “Study me.”

Almost all current Christian education is about doctrine. Doctrine is important and useful, but it’s only part of following Christ. We memorize stacks of truths about Christ and then don’t do anything about it. It’s like learning to swim by reading books. That can only get you so far. You have to get in the water.

The first Christians turned the world upside down, even though they couldn’t possibly have had their doctrine worked out as well as we do. The letters that would eventually become the New Testament were only starting to trickle in. And it’s not like they could just run off a hundred copies on a Xerox machine either. The information spread slowly. Meanwhile, Christianity spread like wildfire. The Christians blew people away with their actions. They loved, they sang, and most importantly, they endured torture. They acted like they were serious about it.

Conversely, we have the benefit of centuries of great minds sorting out the details of doctrine. That could be a wonderful gift, if we’d only realize what it does and does not do for us.

At the Fellowship of Ailbe, we are investigating producing a more complete curriculum – one which will train people in all aspects of discipleship.

Please pray for us. Ask God to direct us down the path He desires, not the path we think is right.

The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.