In the last post we looked at how authority has been devalued in our culture. This is one of the factors that has caused Tedd Tripp to be concerned for Christian parents who have themselves grown up in this culture. The modern drift away from authority has had a negative impact on Christian families.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Our culture is suspicious of such a concept. Who is a parent to tell a child how he should act? If man is only the result of a random series of bio-chemical events, then the idea of being responsible to divine authority has no validity–in fact, it is absurd. This is the cultural mindset that today’s parents have been raised with. That is why Tedd is concerned for young families. Here are some questions that can be used as a reality check–or authority check–to see if your parenting reflects the culture’s view of authority or God’s view of authority.
How many times do you have to ask your children to obey before they do so?
Do your children consistently obey the first time you ask them or is their obedience sporadic?
Do you children respond pleasantly when you ask them to do something?
Do your children frequently argue with you or whine when told to do something?
How often do you reference God when asking for obedience?
How do your children view authorities outside your home, for example, school teachers, Sunday School teachers, law enforcement officers, etc.?
How often in everyday life do you talk about gladly submitting to God’s authority?
What attitude do your words reflect toward the authorities that God has placed over you in church, work and in government?
This list of questions is not exhaustive, but it should give you an indication of whether or not God’s view of authority is the dominant view in your home.
The most basic life lesson to be learned is that man is accountable to and answerable to God. Apart from this reality, even the gospel itself has no meaning. The gospel is not about self-improvement! If I am accountable to a holy God who requires my life be totally oriented towards him and his ways, then I have a major problem. That is the context for the wonder of the gospel. Authority is not an issue that can be dismissed.
Parents, take some time to consider how you represent God’s authority to your children. Look at the many, many passages of Scripture which teach and presuppose God’s authority. Meditate on the truth of Ephesians 6:3, the truth that the way your children respond to authority profoundly affects their life on this earth. These truths are behind Tedd Tripp’s concern that parents clearly understand the role of God’s authority in their lives and in the lives of their children.