Posts tagged parenting
By Guest Blogger: Bill Farley
The gospel is the most important tool for parenting. For many parents this statement is surprising. When most Christians hear the word “gospel” they think of soul-winning. The gospel saves unbelievers. While this is true, the gospel is much more than a message for the lost. To the apostles the gospel was the message that saved people, but it was also a comprehensive moral and spiritual map for all of life. That includes marriage, vocation, and parenting.
By the gospel I mean the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the good news about everything that God has done to save us from eternity past to eternity future. It starts with the Father’s electing love, and ends with a new heavens and a new earth.
The goal of Christian parents is to parent our children as God has parented us. More than anywhere else in the Bible the gospel unpacks how God loves, serves, and disciplines his sons and daughters. The gospel also shows us ourselves. Everything we need to know about our value to God as well as the depths of our sinfulness, God reveals to us through the gospel.
Therefore, when it comes to our children, nothing could be more important than how to apply the gospel to our parenting. The Bible contains little teaching about parenting (only 2 verses in the New Testament). That is because the gospel is the paradigm for parenting. We can derive many parenting principles from the gospel. Here are some examples.
Should we focus on protecting our children from the world or on bringing them into new birth? The Bible stresses the positive. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). Do we really believe this? If this is true, a good offense, combined with a proper understanding of new birth, is more important than protecting them from the world.
What parental virtue is most apt to attract God’s blessing? Surprisingly, it is not love, discipline or Bible study. Scripture testifies overwhelmingly that God blesses the parent that learns to fear him, and we get that fear from the gospel.
What are the characteristics of all effective disciplinarians? First, they have a clear understanding of indwelling sin. Second they are comfortable with the authority that God has given them. Third, they love their children with God’s affection. The gospel instructs us on all three.
Last, most parents experience times of crushing failure and discouragement. The gospel encourages parents with the grace that they need when they feel discouraged, defeated, or inadequate.
In summary, go deep with the gospel, and God will amplify your children’s faith through. God will bless your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. They will marry believers, enjoy a vibrant faith, stay married, rejoice in the privilege of children, joyfully serve local churches, and honor their parents. What could be better than that?
Bill is the senior pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational Evangelical church, which he planted with several other families in Spokane, Washington. Check out his book Gospel-Powered Parenting which is on sale this week.
When I think of the things I learned from my parents as a child, there were certainly things that were explicitly and directly taught to me but the things I learned that were most deeply imprinted on me as a young child were caught, not taught. What I means is there was a culture and a feeling in our household that communicated and demonstrated specific values louder than any words could. It was this family culture that impacted me far more in my upbringing than any teaching or command to obey.
Proverbs 22:6 says,
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
If you’re a parent then you know the great privilege and fear that comes with raising your children. You also know that what you say is really only as powerful and influential as what you do.
As a parent it’s easy to fall into the ‘when they’re older’ trap. We think, “I’ll teach that value or this habit when they’re older.” But right now is the best time to plant those seeds of faith, to instill a heart of generosity, or even a challenge of leadership. If we fall into the ‘when they’re older’ mentality we’ve already waited to long. The values that you teach and demonstrate your children today have the power to affect the rest of their life. Scary, I know. But also an amazing privilege.
Check out this video about how one young girl had an idea to help those in need. As you watch imagine the seeds of faith that were planted in her life as a result of her action and her parents support and what affect that may have on the rest of her life.
Video via ilikegiving