Biblical Parenting 4…
Amazing aspect of Christian parenting: You will need to personally learn/experience that which you pass on to your children (we should be growing/maturing along with them)!
Frightening aspect of Christian parenting: You will need to personally learn/experience that which you pass on to your children (we should be growing/maturing along with them)!
No matter how well-intentioned, tigers cannot teach fish how to be fish…only fish can teach that!
Similarly, we will each need to be learning how to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus in order to guide our child(ren) to become His disciples someday…
As I previously wrote in this series (please click HERE for post 1, HERE for post 2, HERE for post 3), Christian parenting doesn’t mean we should beat and hammer our children like a blacksmith.
But what about parenting them like a potter? What about, with the gentle & loving & firm & artistic & strategic hands of a potter, smoothing and shaping our children slowly, patiently, meticulously, lovingly, sacrificially, personally (getting our hands muddy & our backs sore in the process)?
Please click HERE for a phenomenal video about master potters.
Our children will at some point jump off our spinning wheel. But the hope in our Holy Spirit-powered and Biblically-grounded molding is that they—compelled by the grace and Truth of the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit—will respond, by faith alone through grace alone, jump onto the LORD’s spinning wheel as He rebirths and remakes and transforms them forever.
Below are a few Bible passages on parenting…Sip through them. Ask God to help you notice both the specific descriptions/verbs of parenting, the overarching responsibility that comes with Christian parenting, and the God-chosen consequences for parenting His way or the world’s way.
These verses below should show us God’s high standards as well as our utter inability to meet those standards apart from continual dependence on the Lord Jesus! These verses should discourage us from our own abilities—thus lowering our self-esteem—but also encourage us to cling to the Father’s ability—thus raising our God-esteem!
You don’t have to read all of these passages in one sitting. Perhaps read one each day with your spouse and children, talking briefly about them and closing in prayer. May the Father, Son & Holy Spirit give us wisdom, encouragement, strength, humility, love and all of the fruit of the Holy Spirit as we intentionally guide our children to the Lord Jesus Christ through His perfect Word; may we ultimately trust them into HIS loving hands, for He did say, “Let the little children come to ME, and do not hinder them” (Matthew 19:14 NIV).
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,
for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Oh loved ones, if the LORD is growing a hunger in our children
for every Word that comes from the mouth of God
(though our children might not even realize God is doing this),
if they are hungering for Christ the Bread of Life & thirsting for righteousness,
are we simply giving them the cake & soda of this world?
Are we giving them everything else except the best?
Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV)
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus
for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.
But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
How are we hindering our children from coming to the Lord Jesus?
How are our goals, how is our lifestyle, how is our schedule blocking them?
Are the ways we spend our time stopping us from guiding them to the Lord Jesus?
Are the earthly activities we allow/force them to do
preventing them from the heavenly/eternal activity
of coming to the Lord Jesus Christ,
knowing Him, receiving Him as Savior & following Him as King?
Are we training our children to be Martha…or Mary? (Luke 10:38-42)
Matthew 21:15-16 (NIV)
15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law
saw the wonderful things he did
and the children shouting in the temple courts,
“Hosanna to the Son of David,”
they were indignant.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
My friends, do you praise the LORD–the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit–
with your children, out loud, intentionally, joyfully,
spontaneously & strategically?
Not just at a local church for an hour or so per week,
but also in your house,
do you pause from production & pursue the privilege
of worshiping the LORD through song, speech & silence?
Will you model for them what it means/looks like
to praise God in the valley & on the mountaintop,
in sunshine & the storm,
in pleasure & pain (& numbness!),
not just for what He gives us
but for Who He is?
16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
17 And he will go on before the Lord,
in the spirit and power of Elijah,
to turn the hearts of the parents to their children
and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—
to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Oh loved ones, in the Bible, the “heart” is the seat of
emotions, the will, and the desires of each person…
Is your heart turned toward your children?
Are you merely providing for their earthly needs or their eternal needs?
Are you more frustrated by the opportunities they “take” from you/
limit you from pursuing
or more humbled/honored by the opportunities the LORD gives you
to sacrificially & compassionately & consistently
to know Christ & make Him known,
to learn from Him Who emptied Himself for you (Philippians 2:5-11)
to empty yourself for Him, your family & others?
Are your children merely tools through whom for you to live out your dreams,
or are you helping your children to seek & surrender to & follow
the LORD’s will for their lives?
Without realizing it, is parenting your children
a task that you have outsourced to a number of different experts each week,
or your own personal hands-on responsibility each day?
Are your hearts turned toward, or away from, your children?
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said,
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned,
and revealed them to little children.
Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
Never doubt the power of God to enable your children to understand even the deepest Truth of the Bible. Teach the Bible as best you can to your children at their different ages/stages, but never water it down to make it more easily believed (and don’t only stick to Noah’s Ark & David/Goliath!)! God can help them understand & believe…indeed, He must if they are to understand & believe! Set the bar high–teach them right away that “man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4)! His Word does not return void/empty but fulfills the purposes for which He sends it forth! (Isaiah 55:9-12).
“If anyone comes to me
and does not hate father and mother,
wife and children,
brothers and sisters—
yes, even their own life—
such a person cannot be my disciple.
We need the LORD’s help each day to love our children without worshiping them, to serve & raise up our children without having our lives totally revolve around them, to focus on our children & build them up without building our lives on them (oh what pressure that must be for them!). This is subtle and so we need God to help us with such delicate balance.
Christ must not be a hobby for us in our spare time, or a mascot simply to cheer us on as we chase our dreams, or someone we follow for mere recreation (but rather for eternal re-Creation!). He is to be our Savior & King, our God, our Lord (not our elected official who we censure/vote out of office when He doesn’t do/give us what we want). May we surrender to Him as our very life itself, not just a portion of it. As He enables us through repentance and faith to put Him, not just #1 in our lives but, at the very center of our lives around which everything else orbits, He will enable us by grace to truly have sacrificial compassion & commitment to our children in ways that honor Him (and don’t idolize them).
Don’t despair, Christian parents,
at the dizzying heights and sheer face cliffs
of the mountain of Christian parenting—you are not alone!
“Now to Him
who is able to do immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
to Him be glory
in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations,
for ever and ever! Amen“
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