Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, April 8, 2011

    Question: What is required in the eighth commandment?
    Answer: The eighth commandment requires that we pursue lawful and useful work to provide for our needs and for those unable to provide for themselves.
    Scripture: Eph 4:28; Prov 27:23; Lev 25:35; Deut 15:10, 22:1-4.

    (Maybe this really happened)

    Deb and I had a few of the boys over to our house last week and decided with Easter coming soon, we would start a discussion about Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. I thought a good way to get the discussion started was to ask the question, “What is Easter?” Here were the replies:

    First Asa, the 4-year-old said, “That’s easy Grandpa, it’s a holiday when we all get together to eat turkey and be thankful.”

    Then Isaac, our 6-year-old grandson answered, “It is when we put up a nice tree, give presents and celebrate Jesus’ birthday.”

    Then Eli, the 8-year-old jumped in and said, “They are all wrong Grandpa. Easter is close to the time of the Jewish Passover. Jesus and His disciples were eating the Passover meal and then He was later turned over to the Jewish and Roman leaders by one of His disciples. The Romans then took Him to be crucified; after giving Him a crown of thorns, He died on a cross. He later was taken down and buried in a nearby cave that was sealed with a large boulder.”

    “Wow!” I cried. “That is very good. Now let’s finish the story. What happened next?”

    My grandson continued, “Every year the boulder is moved aside so that Jesus can come out and if He sees His shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.”

    As Deb likes to say... “wolves must be raising our grandchildren.”

    From Gospel-Centered Parenting by Rick Thomas, Counseling Solutions

    We do not want to primarily teach our children rules; we want to teach them the Gospel. The Gospel is what the Father used to change us, not rules. Therefore, as parents, we want to think through how the Gospel has affected us and then prayerfully model and teach our children accordingly. Last week we read several characteristics that are soundly rooted in the Gospel. These are some of the Gospel-centered characteristics that make up our vision and values for our children. The next two weeks we are going to expound on the list.

    When we think about the Gospel, our hearts are humbled. It should amaze us that God the Father would execute His Son on a cross so we could be saved. It further humbles us to know the Father always had this plan of salvation in His mind for us. He implemented a course of events through human history to bring about the greatest thing that could ever happen to any person. And it happened to me! There are many verses that communicate God the Father's plans for His people. In Jeremiah we read about one of them:

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. - Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV)

    And God's thoughts of you are no less significant than they were for Jeremiah. To imagine the Creator of all things orchestrating a plan to redeem you from the pit of sin, assuming you have been redeemed, is stunning. Don’t you want your children to see, feel, and experience the humbling affect the cross has on us? Don’t you want them to know how awesome God really is? This desire is not as easy as you might think.

    We live in a world where awesome has become run-of-the-mill. Blockbuster movies and incredible effects have made the extraordinary commonplace. What used to be out-of-this-world is now in our living rooms in 3D with HD clarity. The amazingness of the Gospel is just one of many things that is amazing, if it is amazing at all. I think we parents can unwittingly marginalize the terrific-ness of the Gospel if we are not careful to preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday by reminding ourselves and our children that it is the only thing that is truly great.

    • How does the Gospel affect you?
    • Are your children seeing and experiencing your humility because of the Gospel?
    • Are your children becoming more aware of the amazing truth of the Gospel?
    A person humbled by the truths of the Gospel is a grateful person. Grateful parents beget grateful children. Selfish and entitled parents beget selfish and entitled children. I have to remind myself of the Gospel throughout my day because there are so many things that press into my life that tempt me to be critical, angry, frustrated, or impatient. And the same temptations are true for my children. The world they experience is no different than the world I am experiencing. I want them to respond to the adversity in their world with gratitude rather than cynicism, criticism, frustration, or self-pity. Therefore, I must model what I want them to be. Here’s Paul response to adversity:

    Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)

    If the Gospel has rightly gripped my heart through the most dire or mundane circumstances, then my default will be gratitude. It is easy for me to be critical, impatient, or frustrated. Therefore, it is imperative that my mind is marinated moment-by-moment in the truths of the Gospel.

    • Ask your children how they see you. Do they see you more as a critical person or a grateful person?
    • Do you live as though you deserve better?
    • Do you live as though your worst problem in life has been resolved and the rest of your life is a gift in light of what you really deserve?
    Being kind in a fallen world can only happen if a person has a right understanding and practice of the Gospel in his life. Sadly, too many parents force their kids to be kind to each other, especially when the kids are arguing over something. This practice is the early onset of training by the rules. It is essential that we don't fall to that temptation to where rule-based parenting becomes a core component of our parenting model. The Gospel is a better way to teach and there are many manifestations of kindness like discretion, respect, and selflessness.

    Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. - Ephesians 5:1 (ESV)

    The key component to teaching this kind of Gospel-motivated truth is through your example. Though your children may be too young to give you a definition of selfishness and though they may not be able to clearly articulate what they are observing in you, be assured that whatever you are will be clearly understood and emulated by your children. And when they become older they will then be able to clearly articulate what they have always known about you, but by that time it may be too late because they will have already seen it, experienced it, and will have been modeling it for years.

    • Are you more tempted to force your child to be kind?
    • Ask your spouse or a close friend how they have observed you with your children, especially in the area of kindness.
    • It was the kindness of God that changed you. (Romans 2:4) How does this Gospel truth impact how you think about and parent your children?
    (Continued next week)


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