A foolish son brings grief to his father
and bitterness to the mother who bore him.
Fools annoy others; they make others angry. Others enjoy fools, finding them to be entertainment. But fools grieve their parents who are filled with shame by the public disgrace and filled with sorrow for the path their children are following. They may also be angry, but their anger is stirred by disappointment and the loss of hope for their children.
It is a wondrous feeling to hold one’s own newborn, to know that this is not just a baby but one’s own child. There is no question for a parent at that moment that he or she will do anything to protect him and to do what is best for him. And no parent cannot but help to invest their own happiness and hopes in the child. This is the reason why parents can seem to be more reasonable with other children than their own. Just as we do not lose sleep over the investment of others, but are anxious about our own, so parents are anxious for their own children.
Your hope for your children and for yourselves is to entrust them to God. You have responsibility to raise your children in the path of righteousness, but you cannot control their hearts, nor be with them everywhere. And you must remember that they ultimately belong to God. You can do nothing better than to hold them up before your Lord in prayer. Certainly there is much you can do to learn how to raise your children and relate to them, but always be faithful in prayer. God grieves also for his wayward children. You do not love your children more than he. And so you can share your grief in prayer with one who understands. For after all, you are his child and he has had plenty experience dealing with your foolish ways.
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Following Paul’s Example
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.