Parents and Life

Posted on July 21, 2008 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences

He
humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which
neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on
bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Deuteronomy 8:3

All of us can agree that the challenges of biblical
parenting can at times appear overwhelming. Sometimes the responsibilities of
parenting can loom so large as to distract us from the promises of God to care
for us and the promise that the Scripture provides all that is needed for life
and godliness. God calls upon us to be strong and courageous as we take up the
challenge of parenting. It is this vital relationship of parents knowing,
trusting and finding life from the word of God that is the most significant
gift that can be given to children.

The credibility of the gospel message that parents give to
their children must be established by the word of God being life to parents in
a way that children can see and understand. If parenting becomes primarily
about methods and techniques then it is possible to gain an inaccurate
assessment of your parenting. It is possible to gauge the success of parenting
based upon how these methods and techniques are received rather than on actual
biblical goals being met.

Here is an example of what I mean. Someone said to me once
that their children were never allowed to start a fight, but that it was
permissible to finish a fight. This technique did result in the children in
question not being particularly aggressive in starting disputes. So, you could
say that this was a successful method for avoiding fights and conflicts on some
level. However, once a conflict started then it was okay to finish it. Setting
aside appropriate concerns of self-defense, this method ignored the biblical
directive in Romans 12:17-21 of returning good for evil. It also blurs the
truth taught in this same passage that we must leave room for God to avenge
wrongs. So, following this method, opportunities to see God work in the way
that Romans 12 indicates were lost.

Dependence upon methods and techniques may leave you
exhausted and your children exasperated with your parenting. Or, this
dependence may result in the kind of pride in performance exhibited by the rich
young ruler in the Gospels. This young man and his parents had reduced to
Gospel to a set of standards which he believed he had kept. Therefore, he
believed he should be acceptable to God. Both of these outcomes miss the mark.

Notice that Christ repeats the words of Deuteronomy 8 when
he is faced with powerful temptations by Satan in the wilderness. When tempted
with  physical food, Christ clings to the
truth that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God. Parents, this is the hope that you must have. Each day
presents new challenges, and temptations to either despair in your failure or
to trust in your own strength. God wants you to embrace life that is truly life
– life that flows only from his Word continually brought to you by the
life-giving Holy Spirit.

Techniques and methods that offer short-tem guidance may
appear attractive for solving immediate problems. But shepherding children is
first about relationships. The most important one is between you and God. Are
you sustained by the Word? God wants you to show your children an example of a genuine
relationship with God, rather than to demonstrate a set of methods and rules. Each
child is different from the next. There is no one-size-fits-all methodology of
parenting. There is, however, one God who offers light and life through his Word.
Drink deeply of the life-giving waters of the Spirit found in the Bible. As the
Word becomes your life, as it moves you  from idleness to vitality in your own walk
with God you will have life- changing, shepherding care to give to your
children.

As always, let me know your thoughts.

 

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