• Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Galatians 6: 7, 8 states “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

    Formative instruction, which is part of the heart of this book, is to abound with the good purposes God had for us before the Fall and His marvelous provision for us after the Fall through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The reality of judgment, wrath, and God’s intolerance with sin should drive us to the foot of the cross to be mindful of God’s grace.

    Corrective discipline is an appeal to formative instruction to help our children understand how sin affects all of life. It is a rescue mission designed to redirect a straying or unbelieving child back inside the circle of blessing of honoring and obeying their parents and other authority.

    The reaping process in discipline is to be biblical and not behavioral. That means it must address the issues of the heart. Here are a few steps explained in the chapter:
    -Always dialogue with your child – never monologue. Ask what they were thinking and feeling that prompted the behavior.
    -Use formative instruction to describe their sin, its deception and God’s promises to overcome it.
    -Identify with your child the struggle to resist sowing in the flesh
    -Identify for them what it means to sow to the Spirit
    -Give them an ample opportunity to respond and continue the dialogue

    The Tripps offer these words of final encouragement in this chapter:
    “We don’t shepherd our children to assure that our children will ‘turn out right.’ We shepherd our children to be faithful to the work God has given us. Consequences do not serve as power plays to prove our role or power or strength or to put kids in their place for our convenience. They are designed by God to display the reality of God’s ultimate rule in the affairs of men and to extend mercy while there is time to repent and trust in God.”

    “Discipline is not an opportunity for us to show our children who is boss or to hand our punishments that will change their behavior. Even when our consequences are appropriate to underscore God’s truth and our standards, discipline is primarily an opportunity to remind our children of their need to repent and believe in Christ, and the forgiveness and provision available from God through Christ. We are really declaring God’s sovereignty and involvement with all he has created, offering relationship with God through Christ. Show them the beauty and goodness of confession to God and others, and warn them of the coming judgment for unbelief.”

    Questions to Consider:

    1. Consider the last episode of corrective discipline you had with your teen:
    A. How well did you warn against “sowing to the sinful nature?” (Probably you did fairly well here)
    B. How well did you encourage them as to “sowing to the Spirit?” (Probably not as well)
    C. How much dialogue did you have? Did you seek to discover if their actions were motivated by any fears, desires, hopes, and/or lusts of the heart?

    2. What do you do when you know your child is guilty but does not admit it? What do you do if you are not sure?

    3. How well do you “hunker down in the trenches” with your child's struggle with sin and help them understand that you have similar struggles?

    4. What is the danger if you get too sentimental in your love for your child and start lowering the standards? How does this impact the gospel?

    5. What is your ultimate motivation in shepherding your child? Is it that they should turn out right or is it something else?


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