Children have a lot of physical wants and needs. Unfortunately, some of these are actually sinful desires. Some parents may have difficulty disciplining their kids if they see these desires as physical needs instead of carnal desires.
Parents must remember that discipline leads to spiritual victories. By helping your kids develop their spiritual side, you are actually helping them overcome the sinful desires of the flesh.
How Discipline Leads to Spiritual Victories Over Carnal Desires
You may have heard quote,“You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Essentially, the idea presented here is that we are not mostly human with brief interactions with the spiritual; instead, we are primarily spiritual and are put into human form. It is important for parents to have this perspective if they desire to honor God and raise their kids to experience emotional, spiritual, and psychological health.
As spiritual parents, we must not only attend to our personal spiritual disciplines, but also consider the spiritual conditions of our children as well. This means that parents must help fight against their teenager’s sinful desires in addition to their own. Let me explain it this way; it is a human instinct to want to come to the rescue when our children indulge their carnal desires and end up facing consequences. It can be easy to mistake this fleshy instinct for compassion. While the devil would like us to view this as compassion, it is not true compassion. This definition of compassion is from the devil’s dictionary. From God’s perspective, it is not compassionate to allow or enable sin in the lives of our kids just because we don’t want them to experience hardship or inconvenience.
Discipline is a spiritual exercise, and it works to counteract the power of our fleshly desires. For example, when we practice discipline and motivate ourselves to get regular exercise, we are also working to overcome the sinful appeal of laziness. The same thing applies to our kids. The difference is that most of them have not yet developed enough self-discipline to put up much of a fight against their sinful desires. This is where parents should enter the equation. By the time we are adults, our brain growth, practices of self-discipline, and any discipline we experienced as children work together to equip us for fight against our sinful nature. Kids are not so equipped, and the development of these skills is dependent on their parents.
You have experienced the adolescent battle between spirit and flesh if you have seen children continually repeat some action that they understand to be illegal, unhealthy, unholy, or displeasing to their parents. At the same time, these children actually want someone to tell them to stop. It is like they are on the back of an angry bull. They do not actually want to be on this bumpy ride, but they are also scared to let go. Kids don’t actually desire to hurt their relationship with their parents by talking back or being defiant. This is their spiritual self in action. At the same time, if talking back and defiance helps them get the desires of their sinful flesh, the sinful side often wins; damaging the relationship with their parents is worth it if they are able to fulfill their sinful desires. They have not reached spiritual or emotional maturity, and it is hard for them to defeat these sinful desires, despite the fact that their relationship with their parents is more significant to them in the long run. This is the same thought process that someone addicted to drugs might use when they steal from their loved ones in order to purchase more drugs.
Parents should be consistent and firm when it comes to discipline—even if they don’t want to be. Parents should remember the words of Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” When parents tend to the spiritual side of their children, they work to train them for righteousness now and in the future. When parents do not lead their kids toward righteousness and shield them from consequences and discipline, they are preparing their children for a future of failure. In which option do you see more compassion? Does one seem more godly than the other? The pleasures of sin always come in the short-run. Sin is simply fulfilling lust and dodging responsibility.
Children need their moms and dads to aid them in the physical development of their brains, so it follows that they also need their parents to help them develop the skills for the battle between the spirit and the flesh. It is foundational for Christian parents to help their kids develop their spiritual side. This will help kids have more victories over their sinful flesh.
Picture provided by: waldryano