Category Archives: Sanctification

Parenting. What’s the Plan?

Father & Son Fishing

When it comes to talking about what we should do in parenting there are many voices. This truth is evident from the amount of material that has been produced to address parenting questions. amazon.com has 55,614 books on parenting. With this kind of information we should have no more questions. Of course this isn’t the case.

Parenting is never quite so neat as in a book (or blog post). Sin so often interferes with the serene thoughts of an author sitting in his study. However, that does not mean there is no plan. In fact, although I hate to be simplistic (not really), Amazon could list only 1 book in their section on parenting: the Bible. The Bible is sufficient to address every area of our lives. If an explicit command is not given there are sound biblical principles that we can apply. Below are 10 biblical ideas we can apply in parenting that should help our families honor the Lord.

  1. You shall have no other God’s before me. The only way a person has peace is through Christ’s salvation. Do not allow your child’s sports, hobbies, or work take priority over the worship of God and thereby take away their peace.
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image. Idolatry is whatever we invent to replace God’s directions for serving him. Set his word before your children and give them the comfort of following the unchanging God.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Your family is called by God’s name. Make sure you are a faithful witness to each other and the watching eyes of others.
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Teach your children that God directs their time. God is not one of many activities to fit in a day, but he gives us our day.
  5. Honor your father and your mother. Your children are not your buddies. They are your children to be trained of up for God’s glory. Lead them and do not allow them to defy you.
  6. You shall not murder. Teach your children to rule their emotions, instead of being ruled by them.
  7. You shall not commit adultery. Proper use of entertainment, the Internet, and clothing are important. Train your children to love truth, honor and purity (Philippians 4:8).
  8. You shall not steal. Teach your children to respect the property of others whether it be material or immaterial.
  9. You shall not bear false witness. Love does not “rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6). Say no to tattling, lying and deception.
  10. You shall not covet. Do not allow your children to envy the success of others, but teach them to be content with what God has given them.

The Ten Commandments, of course. Each will require its own thoughts, but my contention is that Christians have hidden behind “legalism” and avoided God’s good moral law so long that we do not even recognize its use anymore. Apply his law in your home and lead your children in expressing love for God (1 John 5:3).

Does How I Parent Matter?

holding hands

Everyone in the world has one foundational relationship: the relationship with his parents. Only Adam and Eve did not have parents. The rest of us, for better or worse, have them. I want to consider this relationship from the perspective of the parents today.

The parental perspective of this relationship will be different from the child’s based on the role God has designed for them. Our function in any relationship is always governed by our role. For example, when you work for someone you understand your boss sets the rules and you follow. In parenting we are simply trying to define the role of the parent in the parent-child relationship.

One of the key passages in understanding the parental role can be found in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. In this passage we see parenting is not the passing on of intellectual concepts, but rather training our children in knowing how to live in a way that honors God. This idea is also at the heart of Paul’s instruction to parents in Ephesians 6:4: bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Another way to say is that the instruction found in the commandments of the Bible is what disciples our children. Our job is to pass them on.

The question I want to ask is, “What are some of the ways we fail in our biblical role as parents?”

  1. By not praying for our children. If we think we will, by our best efforts, be able to parent our children, we are greatly mistaken. Instead we are dependent entirely on God and should acknowledge that by prayer.
  2. By not doing ourselves what we would require of our children. “Do as I say and not as I do.” is never a good parenting philosophy. Your actions place a value on your instruction.
  3. By being inconsistent in our requirements. If we parent based on our mood, we will be inconsistent. We require respect toward mom & dad, but not toward siblings. There must be an objective standard for parent and child: the Bible.
  4. By not insisting that our children follow our leadership. Do not let your children turn biblical roles in the parent-child relationship upside down by making them autonomous before they are ready. Insist they follow you. They may be cute, you may have to teach them (many times), and you may have to stop what you are doing to address and/or correct them, but lead them, do not follow them.
  5. By not planning ahead in our parenting. I used to think parenting was just a day-to-day reaction to circumstances. 21 years, and 10 children later, I can tell you: I’ve never been more wrong. Your job is to train your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. It needs a plan.