INSTRUCTING A CHILD'S HEART - Chapter 8: Giving Children a Vision for the Glory of God

  • Sunday, August 31, 2008

  • Children are instinctively worshipers and the challenge as with all of us, is how to help children be dazzled by God's greatness and worship Him. Worship is a response and it is either to the greatness of God or we exchange the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:21-23)

    To love anything more than God is called idolatry. Ezekiel 14:2-3 indicates as much as there are physical idols, the danger is that we establish idols of the heart. These can be power and influence, pride and performance, possessions, pleasures and sensuality, fear of man, friendships or being in the know.

    When idols of the heart are replaced by the greater, more pleasing delights of Christ, they lose their grip on our heart. The Tripps provide a wonderful section on God's glory in the Psalms to help reinforce this principle.

    The heart of the gospel is the glory of God. God does not exist to satisfy our desires but we exist for God. A proper interpretation of this truth is essential for children and for us. This helps you as a parent the following ways in teaching your children: (Evaluate how you are doing in these areas)

    1. Children sin for pleasure

    2. We are not to feed their idols

    3. We must be dazzled by God

    4. We need to meditate on spiritual truth

    5. We must provide ourselves with spiritual enticements

    6. We need to express spiritual delights

    7. We must know that children can "get it."

    8. We must know and teach that the glory of God is the beginning and the end.

    INSTRUCTING A CHILD'S HEART - Chapter 7: Auhtority is God's Plan

  • Sunday, August 24, 2008

  • Authority begins with God. He is over all and there is no equal. All of humankind and creation stands under the sovereign might of the Lord. His authority carries over to His care, provision, and protection which is the general principle for all who God gives authority to - including parents.

    God's Word makes it clear that blessing is found when children honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). Obedience is submission to God's authority and honor is the way we respond to that authority. The promise of God is that when children follow this, they will find great joy and happiness.

    When children do not follow God's design for authority in their life under parents who pursue God's plan of care, provision, and protection, the child falls into all the dangers of being a fool.

    We as parents must model to our children submission to authorities in our lives - in the home, society, and to God. We should show and talk to our children about the struggles of doing this and the grace and strength that God provides for obedience.

    As children grow, they need to be taught to be good decision makers. To understand boundaries and how to apply wisdom in situations where they are free to choose. Teens need parents to shepherd them and to model good decision-making processes.

    Our ultimate shepherd-model is Jesus Christ. Point children to His wonderful example.

    1. Why is authority so important to all of us?

    2. What does God provide as the authority structure for the home? How does your home demonstrate this model?

    3. How are your children fitting the "circle of blessing" on page 83? Are things going well or are they struggling? Why?

    4. Do you have a method of appeal in place for your older children when there are decisions they would like to discuss?

    5. How are you teaching your older children to be wise decision makers?

    INSTRUCING A CHILD'S HEART - Chapter 6: The Sowing and Reaping Principle of Scripture

  • Tuesday, August 19, 2008

  • Galatians 6:7,8 states, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

    Consequences are a vital part of the instruction, discipline and correction of our children. These consequences however must be understood as God designed them, not as the world teaches them.

    The goal of Christian parenting is the heart of our child, not their behavior. The hope that we have to accomplish this is the transforming power of the gospel. Sowing and reaping needs to be connected to the redemptive purposes of God and not just random acts of behavior modification.

    Dr. Tripp covers the biblical vision of sowing and reaping in this chapter by showing the blessings of sowing to the Spirit, the biblical reality of sowing and reaping, and the behavior consequences of sowing and reaping from Scripture.

    There a 2 types of consequences:
    Natural – those that happen if no one interferes
    Those that are shaped by authority

    There are at least 6 inevitable consequences to all thoughts and actions:
    We reap in relationship with God
    We reap in habits for life
    We reap in reputation
    We reap in human relationships
    We reap in long-term usefulness in Christ’s kingdom
    We reap for eternity

    Just trying to change a child’s behavior may work to do exactly that but it also may obscure the gospel. We are teaching our children that we can live in God’s world without Christ and do just fine.

    What to do?
    Be a student of the Scriptures
    Shepherd yourself – let God’s Word be on your heart so you may impress it on your child’s heart (Deuteronomy 6:6)

    1. What does your instruction, discipline and correcton reveal about your real concern for your children? Does it show you are more concerned with their behavior or their heart?

    2. What does it mean “He who sows to the Spirit?” How can you teach this to your children?

    3. Check the comparison charts on pages 67-69. Have you been deceived in thinking that rewards and punishment are the same as biblical sowing and reaping?

    4. Do you have a tendency to interfere with the 2 types of consequences and thus possibly interfering with the progress of the gospel in your child’s life?

    5. Develop a plan as to how you can start teaching the inevitable consequences of all thoughts and actions?

    Next week: Authority is God’s Plan

    INSTRUCTING A CHILD'S HEART - CHAPTER 5: Getting to the Heart of Behavior

  • Friday, August 1, 2008

  • How many times today did you ask at least one of your children, "why did you do that?' And then you were met with the answer, "I dunno!"

    All decisions and choices we make in life have an origin - it is found in what we love and desire and the Bible identifies this source as our heart. We nor our children can intrepret life correctly until we understand that it is the heart that directs all of our life.

    So how do we deal with our children's hearts? The first step is to realize that many of us, most of the time focus on the behavior of our child and lose sight of the attitudes of heart behind the behavior. We can learn to manipulate our child's behavior through obedience therapy techniques of rewards and punishments - but this will never touch a stony heart. Only the work of God through grace can accomplish this (Ezekiel 36).

    1. How have you seen your child's desires and passions expressed lately?

    2. Write out what the Scriptures tell us that the heart does (page 52) and adjectives that describe the heart (page 53).

    3. How have you been attempting to control your child's behavior without addressing the heart?

    4. What is the "when", "what", and "why" of behavior?

    5. Read Ezekiel 36: 22-32. How does this speak of the grace of God? How does this apply to your parenting?

    6. According to Hebrews 3:12-13, why do your children need you?

    7. According to Galatians 6:1, what is your ministry to your children? what warning is there for you in this verse?