PRAYERFUL DEPENDENCE: Session 2 out of 8
God declares the goal of parenting is to bring children up “in the Lord”. This means not only teaching our children to obey the Lord but to have a heart for the Lord whom they obey. The right goals for our children can be heard in David, a man after God\’s own heart, as he speaks to his young son Solomon on his deathbed (1 Chronicles 28:9), “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind.” As parents, we must continue to evaluate our goals in light of the reality of God or we will be influenced by the world to go after that which is passing away. Yet, we also must remember even with the right goals, apart from the Spirit’s influence upon our child’s heart, our labor is in vain. We must combine the right goals with prayerful dependence, Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”
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THE EIGHT ESSENTIALS IN CHILD-TRAINING
Right Goals & Prayerful Dependence – Ephesians 6:1-4 tells us that the goal of parenting is to bring children up “in the Lord”. This means not only teaching your children to obey the Lord but developing in them a heart for the Lord they obey. The right goals for our children can be heard from David on his deathbed (1 Chronicles 28:9) as he speaks to his young son Solomon. “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever”. As parents, we must continue to evaluate our goals in light of the reality of God or we will be influenced by the world to go after that which is passing away. Apart from the Spirit’s influence upon your heart and your child’s heart, your labor is in vain. Therefore, you must combine the right goals with fervent prayer.
Close Companionship & Godly Example – Ephesians 6:4 tells parents to “bring children up”. Close companionship is necessary to accomplish the goals assigned – much talk, much time and much tasting together. Proverbs 27:23 makes this clear, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds”. Ephesians 6:4 goes on the warn us to “not provoke”. This means that we should model what we teach to our children, both in heart and in habits. If we are an ungodly example, our companionship will only provoke our children’s rebellion toward God rather than promote a heart for God. Our example should make truth and life attractive to our children. We must combine close companionship with our godly example for us to be effective as biblical parents. 1 Timothy 4:16 says, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this, you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you”.
Structured Environment & Everyday Conversations – Ephesians 6:4 gives us two tools we are to use in parenting our children – “discipline” and “instruction”. There is a preventative side to both of these. Parenting is not to be just about disciplining and correcting children when they do wrong, but structuring an environment and having conversations that restrain evil influences and nurture inward wisdom. Parents who overlook these two preventative tools will always feel like they are “crisis-managing” and will eventually lose heart. Psalm 78 is a focus that every faithful shepherd of children will find indispensable, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the generation to come to the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done”.
Consistent Consequences & Gentle Correction – Finally, there is a remedial side to the two tools of discipline and instruction. When our children sin, we must respond with consistent consequences (discipline) and gentle correction (instruction). Because we are by nature rebels to God, parents should expect resistance to their attempts to raise their children “in the Lord”. Structuring and maintaining the best environment and godly conversations with our children are essential but not always enough. So, what do you do when your child refuses to obey? Choosing the right consequences helps retrain the behavior, especially in the early years (Prov. 13:24, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently”). Choosing the right words helps persuade the heart back to God, especially in the teen years.
To listen to or watch this eight-part series go to our on-line course, Parenting by Fatih: the Eight Essentials www.lcbcc.org