Conflicts in Gospel Parenting

Opposing Faces

The gospel conflicts with the way I view myself and the way I want to parent my children. I want to think I am a nice person who gets along with people, I have some talents in a few areas and I am doing okay in life. I want my kids to get along with each other and their peers, I want my kids to behave at church and I want them to do their best at school. I want them to stay out of jail, out of serious debt and out of the hospital. I want my kids to have a good self-esteem, good friends and a good time. I want them to get into good relationships, a good church and a good job. All these things tell me I’m doing okay and my kids are doing okay too.

Unfortunately, all the desires for my kids that affect the way I parent have a cumulative counter-gospel effect, because if they are doing okay then they do not need Jesus. If they are doing all the right things and turn out to be nice men and women, I’ve neglected to show them their true selves – selfish, sinful, sinners. Only when a person sees themselves as they truly are can the Spirit of God reveal the wonder and love of Jesus who, while we were still sinners, died for us to bring us back to God.

These verses from the 18th century hymn ROCK OF AGES sums up what we (and our kids) bring to God in our cleverness, achievements and goodness:

Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!

Let’s parent for Christ’s sake, not for the sake of ourselves or our children. Here’s some ideas to reinforce the gospel of Jesus as we parent:

  1. Give kids pocket money, not because they’ve earned it, but because you love them. Still expect help with the running of the household, but do not tie them together.
  2. Encourage your kids to love each other because Jesus loved them first – remind them constantly of what love really looks like! I often struggle with this because my motives are usually selfish (so I don’t have to listen to and deal with the conflicts).
  3. Make Christmas and Easter celebrations a CELEBRATION! These are two HUGE events to Christians that western society has hi-jacked for commercial gain and diluted their meaning. How will your kids look back at Easter and Christmas?
  4. Model repentance and forgiveness. If our kids see us as always being right, how will they ever admit they are wrong before God. Apologise when you have wronged someone, especially them, and ask for forgiveness.

What other ideas do you have/practise to address the conflict of good kids and the gospel?


Do you find these posts helpful in parenting to the Glory of God?
If you do, then I’m sure others would too. 

Please SHARE these posts, and in doing so pray for a generation of kids who have had the gospel of Jesus taught & modelled to them by their parents.

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Power of a Jingle

Child Singing

Advertisers have long recognised the power of jingles. With this in mind I tried a little experiment at home the other day. I started whistling the tune to a song we sing at church – an adult congregational song, not a kids song. I didn’t sing any of the words, I just whistled the tune of the chorus. What happened convinced me of the benefits of including children in our church services – I later heard our kids singing the song (correct words and all) as they were getting ready for the day! How cool is that! The went to school with gospel truths ringing in their ears and on their lips!

This was not a Sunday, we don’t usually have music playing at home (there’s already enough noise!) and I am not on the church music team.

This has convinced me of two things:

  1. children (at least school-aged) benefit greatly from participating in congregational singing at church, and
  2. playing gospel-contented music at home can only enhance this.

Consider the benefits to kids (and us) being surrounded by these words such as these before we scatter into the world:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

“Jesus Paid It All”, Elvina M. Hall, 1865. Copyright: Public Domain

 


Do you find these posts helpful in parenting to the Glory of God?
If you do, then I’m sure others would too. 

Please SHARE these posts, and in doing so pray for a generation of kids who have had the gospel of Jesus taught & modelled to them by their parents.

Man Up – submit!

Puzzle Pieces #6

The created order shows that men are to lead their households in submission to Christ (Gen 2, Eph 5 & 6). I want to specifically look at what this means for parenting.

Men/fathers, our responsibilities lie in submitting to Christ as our Lord, loving our wives and children in obedience to God and ensuring our families are washed in the gospel so we may present them to Him without wrinkle or stain or blemish.

Men/fathers, study God’s word and be in relationship with our heavenly father continually. Let your status and identity as an heir in the kingdom of heaven and co-heir with Christ be what defines you. Not the status you achieve as part of your work, not your bank balance as evidence of God’s blessing, not the amount of service you do for your church and His kingdom. Rather, look constantly at the cross of Christ and be thankful for the mercies given through His death and resurrection. Seek the Holy Spirit’s work to get rid of pride. Apologise.

Men/fathers, take the responsibilities of leading your family seriously. Be in control of your finances, delight in your family and the time you spend with them. Love and protect them by knowing what movies, songs and computer games they are exposed to and take a stand when they are not beneficial. Get accountability software on your home and work computers, tablets and devices and work out the settings on the TV/computer/iPods to limit content ratings – for your purity and theirs.

Men/fathers, take the lead in reading the Word of God with your family. You cannot present your wife and children to God without wrinkle, stain or blemish, only Jesus can do that. Wash them in the Gospel of Jesus and do not leave this to your wife. Of course she can teach the bible to children and will do so continually as a mother, but do not hide behind her by leaving that responsibility on her shoulders. Do it before going to work, or get home from work before the kids are in bed so you can lead in this way. Be intentional, take responsibility, man up!

 


Do you find these posts helpful in parenting to the Glory of God?
If you do, then I’m sure others would too. 

Please SHARE these posts, and in doing so pray for a generation of kids who have had the gospel of Jesus taught & modelled to them by their parents.