Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Question: What is the seventh commandment?
    Answer: The seventh commandment is “you shall not commit adultery.”
    Scripture: Exodus 20:14

    (maybe this really happened)

    Like many couples, Deb and I had some difficulties in our first few years of marriage and adjusting to a life together. In the midst of one of our troubles which we were having a particular difficulty resolving, we decided to visit a wise elder in our church. After hearing what the struggle was and asking lots of questions and listening to us, he told us that he thought he had discovered what the main problem was.

    He stood up, went over to Deb, asked her to stand, and gave her a hug. He then looked at me and said, "This is what your wife needs, at least once a day!"

    I frowned, thought for a moment, then said, "Ok, what time do you want me to bring her back tomorrow?"

    The Dangers and Long-Term Liabilities of Pragmatic Parenting: Sacrificing our Children
    From Gospel-Centered Parenting by Rick Thomas, Counseling Solutions

    Christians are a reflection of God the Son. Though we are not perfectly imaging Jesus Christ in the way God desires us to image Him, the Father is parenting us toward a fuller understanding and practice of what it means to be like His Son. It was stated earlier:

    [When] parents are oriented toward short-term goals, they focus more on the perfect 3-year-old, 4-year-old, 5-year-old, etc, rather than a grace-filled model that keeps the end in mind. Thankfully, the Father is not expecting me to be a perfect “4-year-old.” He does keep the end in mind and He is carefully and patiently plodding a course that will bring me along to be the person He has always envisioned me to be. He is parenting me toward a good end and that good end is a complete and perfect glorification that will take place in heaven.

    Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. – 1 John 3:2 (ESV)

    • What are your goals for your children?
    • Do you have a long-term vision in mind?
    • How do you want your children to end up?
    • What do you want them to be like when they leave your home for the last time as young adults?
    What do you want your child to be?
    When I ask these questions, what do you think about? Are you thinking more about their friend choices, college possibilities, career opportunities, marriage options and the kind of church they’ll attend as adults? Or, are you thinking more about them being like Christ? When I think about my children, I am thinking less about the life choices they will make and more about whether they are Christlike. (I do think about their career choices and parent accordingly, but that is not the point of this article.)

    If my kids are Christlike, then they will more than likely make good decisions that will positively affect every single life choice they make, whether those life choices are about friends, college, career, marriage, or church.

    Why do I say this? Well…because being like Christ or at least being taught and encouraged to be like Christ is to teach your children to follow and emulate the Perfect One in all things. Do you think Christ was ill-equipped for life? Of course you don’t. Do you believe that Christ was not ready to deal with and interact with His culture as an adult? Of course you don’t. Talking about a role model! Wow! Christ is the perfect Role Model. If our kids are hungry for and growing into greater Christlikeness, then just like Christ when He lived on earth, they also will be well-equipped to interact with any situation in life. Right?

    What hinders Jesus-centric parenting in your family?
    I’ve seen too many parents burn their kid’s childhood on the altar of things other than creating a hunger for and equipping them to be like Jesus Christ. For example, scores of kids are sacrificed on the altar of the sports gods. Caveat: I am one of the most avid sport’s fans you’ll ever meet. I love sports and I am not generally against sports. I am against a sports-centered home where sports trumps or hinders the values I’m putting forth in this article. Parents sacrifice their kids on the sport’s altar for many reasons. Here are a few:
    • The parents hope their child will get a college scholarship.
    • The parents are vicariously living through the exploits of their kids.
    • The parents are swept up in what many of their friends or their culture are doing.
    • The parents use sports instead of the local church as the center of their social activities.
    • The parents cave to the pressures of their children by enrolling them into programs that sucks the life out of the family calendar.
    When the home is “sports-centered” rather than local church centered, the kids are not biblically equipped for life. There simply is not enough time. It seems to never really register on the parents that they are sacrificing their kids and, sadly, the foundational Christlike attitudes and practices that every child needs are not developed. Kids in situations like this, for the most part, are left to learn what it means to follow Christ when they become adults.

    It is interesting to note the number of adults, who used to be sports-centered as kids and teens, but when they became adults they left those activities behind because the cares of their adult life crowded out the sports that consumed them as teens. Alternately, it is very rare to meet an adult who was Christ-centered as a teen and has left that relationship as an adult or was ill-equipped for life. It was their Christ-centered training that taught them to biblically and intelligently respond to the cares of the adult life.

    The Bible’s perspective on parenting is clear, precise, and singular. If the things we do in our family culture, habits, traditions, and calendars do not center around the main point outlined in Deuteronomy, then we are off-center and out-of-focus in our parenting:

    You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (ESV)

    The calendar for the Jewish parent was not cluttered with things that interfered with their primary responsibility of parenting. While I’m sure they enjoyed diverse activities, which all families should, their calendar was God-centered as far as how and why they spent their time diligently teaching their kids.

    Have you been affected by Christ? Are you affecting your children with Christ?
    Notice the two main parts of this text:
    1. Affected Parents - You (Dad & Mom) shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
    2. Affected Parenting - You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
    We, parents, should be affected by the Gospel and we should teach and bend our children toward being affected by the Gospel. If our sports, hobbies, church, family, friends, or any other thing we do are directed toward learning about and modeling Christ in our lives, then it is a good thing. If the things we do as parents with our kids do not point them toward a Jesuscentrism, then we run the risk of missing the point and purpose of Deuteronomy 6. This also means the child will begin the process of learning how to become Christlike when he/she is much older.


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