Being a Christian parent is a subset of your overall Christian character. How you parent flows out of your Christian life.
It's all flowing out of something bigger. It's about who you are. There are few higher callings than parenting. God gives parents the privilege of stewarding a life from birth to adulthood, reflecting the love of Christ through it all.
But it's also one of the tougher assignments in life. How can we live up to it? Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green helps you answer that question, as he offers the first part of a refresher on parenting. Well, Don, you and your wife Nancy are old hands at this, what with your own quiverful of kids. But even practical experience would be lacking without the principles God has laid out for us in scripture.
Isn't that true? You know, my friend, this area of family life is one of the most important areas where you would have scripture shape your thinking and shape the way that you live. Sometimes we try to just model what our parents did, and we find out that that wasn't the best way or that it wasn't even a godly way. And what we find in scripture are the principles that God would have to give us a peaceful, harmonious home where we would live and raise our families to the glory of God. Listen in as we make this study a refresher on the family, and as we look at parenting today here on The Truth Pulpit.
Thanks, Don. And friend, have your Bible handy as we join our teacher as he continues teaching God's people God's word from The Truth Pulpit. I want to talk about who we are and what it means to be a Christian parent. And what are the principles that would flow out of that?
Well, here's point number one where it would all sort of start. I am assuming that I'm speaking to Christian parents here, people that have been born again by the Spirit of God. What is the first principle that I would encourage you to take and embrace as the foundational cornerstone of your Christian parenting? Point number one, be calm. Be calm. Relax.
Settle down a little bit. Because I understand that parenting can produce anxieties as you see your children start to stray, or perhaps they've strayed very badly and there's just seemingly no outward visible way to redeem that. I understand what it's like to be young parents and to see children just continue in disobedient ways, sometimes just seeming to be very rebellious at a young age. And you wonder, is this going to get worse? They're going to end up in jail.
I'm going to have to go see them when they're having a life sentence in prison. You just accelerate and you bring all of your worst thoughts about the future and take the worst case scenario and accelerate it into the future because your two-year-old's not eating his Cheerios. You know, I get that. Our minds play really bad games on us, and we need to understand how to deal with that and to live in the present and to be calm as a parent. Well, as I said, parenting is one aspect of the overall Christian life as you live out your faith in Christ. And so here's what that means. To say that you're a Christian is to say, number one, I am trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for my personal salvation from sin. I trust Christ to save me. I've trusted him to save me, and I trust him to bring me to heaven. That is the cornerstone of what it means to be a Christian.
It all starts right there. Well, then you go beyond that and realize that the Bible calls us not only to trust Christ for our future salvation, for our ultimate deliverance from hell into heaven, but the Bible calls you to trust Christ in your day-to-day life with every detail that could ever come up, and that embraces the whole realm of your Christian parenting. Turn to the book of Proverbs, chapter 3. Proverbs, chapter 3. We're not even going to go to a parenting passage because I want to reinforce to you the idea that parenting flows out of who you are. It flows out of who you are. And in Proverbs, chapter 3, we'll begin in verse 1 here where Solomon is speaking to his own son.
And so there's a thread of parenting in what he's about to say, even though he's not specifically addressing the issue of parenting. He says, My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments. For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you. Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Have these biblical principles so embedded in your inner disposition, in your convictions, and in your thinking that they could never leave, that they influence and flavor everything that you do. So that, verse 4, you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.
Now look at verse 5 here. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Verse 6, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he'll make your path straight. Trust in him. Well, what does it mean to trust in the living God as a Christian?
Well, if it means anything, it means this. It means that when you look to the future, when you consider what lies ahead in your life, you think about the future from a fundamental disposition of confidence because you understand that the God of your salvation is the God of history, and he is the one who is directing the personal details of your life. If you trust this Lord Jesus Christ, who shed his own blood for the sake of the forgiveness of your sins, and he's done the greater thing for you by securing the eternal well-being of your soul, then you trust him for the lesser thing, which here today we're talking about to be the aspects of your parenting, and the direction of your family, and the nature of your children, and what lies ahead for them. You trust in the Lord with all your heart, and you do not lean on your own understanding. What this verse is telling us is this. I want you to bring all of the things that might concern you about your parenting, the things that concern you about your children, about your failures of the past in parenting, I want you to bring all of those into the front of your consciousness here in light of this verse. Verse 5, with all of that context set in your mind, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and here's the promise.
He will make your paths straight. Listen, if the God who ordained your salvation to occur, if the God who took on flesh in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and went to the cross and shed his own life blood in order to secure your eternal salvation, if he is in control and directing the course of your family, then you have the privilege, the prerogative, and, beloved, I would add, the responsibility to trust him, and to rest your heart, and to have your soul be still in the presence of God as you think about your family, your children, and what lies ahead. What this passage is telling us is to remember the character of God, remember the greatness and the goodness of God that we've studied in the past, and then entrust, give to him, rely upon him, trust him, to care completely for everything that lies ahead. You put your whole life, all of your cares, all of your worries and your anxieties, and you put them into confidence that this God who saved you will take care of the details as well. Now I know that it sounds kind of funny to talk about our children, our own flesh and blood as details, because there's so much more than that.
You think of details about what color the carpet is, right? But understand what I'm saying, is that there is an overarching trust that we have in God as Christians, as the God of the Bible, this overarching trust in Christ, and we've entrusted everything to him, and because he's sovereign, because he's good, he's going to work everything out to bless us in the end, no matter whether we understand how that could happen now or not. In other words, we're talking vertically here, not horizontally in your relationship with your children. You have unqualified confidence. This is inherent in being a true Christian, is that you have unqualified confidence that God will be good to you in the end, no matter how circumstances may threaten your understanding of that conviction for the moment. And so, as you see your kids drift off the line, and you naturally have a natural concern about that, that concern doesn't carry you away because you're anchored in a confidence in the ultimate goodness of God, the ultimate supremacy of Christ, and that he is orchestrating everything and moving everything to accomplish his perfect will in the universe, and that that includes your family, and that includes your children. Now, most of you would say that you trust God. That's why you're here. You appreciate the Word of God.
You want the Word of God to inform your thinking. But, beloved, you've got to think about your children in this context that we're talking about here. As you think about your children, do you truly look forward to the future with confidence? Or is your fundamental disposition about your family one of regret and anxiety and concern that just dominates your thinking?
Maybe you put a plastic little mask on it for Sunday so that I don't know it. What's really in your heart is what I'm asking you to consider. You see, you have to take what you affirm to be true about the character of God, about the goodness of his intentions toward his people, and then just work out the implications of that and say, oh, that means that somehow, perhaps in a way that I don't understand, he is going to be good to me and he's going to bless me in the end as a Christian parent. You have to live that way, otherwise you're not trusting him with your whole heart. Otherwise, in all your ways, you're not acknowledging him the way that you should and the way that he deserves.
Listen, isn't our Lord Jesus Christ, after he's gone to Calvary, suffered on our behalf, gone into a grave, defeated death, and risen into heaven where he's at the right hand of God, interceding for us until he returns? Isn't he worthy of trusting him for the most precious things in your human life, the fruit of your own flesh? Is he worth that kind of confidence or not? And if he is, then you have to just kind of open up your hand and say, Lord, all of these concerns and regrets and everything, I'm just going to give them to you because I'm going to trust you for who you are.
Now, let me hasten to say something very, very important. When we talk about being calm, when we talk about trusting God for our children, you have to understand what we are trusting him for and what we're not saying here. We do not trust God to necessarily bring about a certain result. It's not that while we... And let's just go right to the core of what concerns Christian parents, the salvation of your children.
Let's go right there and just go right to the button of our heart there. When I say to trust God for the direction of your family and the future of your family, we pray for our children to be saved, we trust God to save them, yes, but that is not what it means to trust God in the comprehensive, full, unqualified, unrestrained sense that we're talking about here today. We trust God to manifest his faithfulness to us no matter what. Whether my children get saved or not, you say to yourself as you look in the mirror, I am going to trust God for that.
And God, I pray that you would save them, but then you go another step further as you contemplate yourself in the presence of God, and you say, but God, even if you don't, I will still trust you to be good and to display your faithfulness to me in the end. You trust him completely without qualifying that trust. God, I'll trust you as long as my children get saved. Well, that's not really trusting God, that's leaning on your own understanding. That's saying if it goes my way, I'll trust you. That's not trusting God. Trusting God says, I'll trust you even when I don't understand. I'll trust you even if my children break my heart.
I'll trust you even if I'm weeping over them. God, nothing will shake me from that foundational confidence, because God, I love you more than I love my own flesh. That's what he calls us to. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.
You'll have no other gods before me. So how is it that we get off track? How is it that good Christian people are dominated by anxiety as they contemplate their children? In large part, it's because we haven't really grasped the significance of the end of verse 5. Go back to Proverbs 3.5 with me.
You should still be there. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. God, I don't know what I'll do if my child doesn't come to Christ. I don't know what they'll do if they don't come back to me. I don't know what I'll do if they don't break up that sinful relationship.
God, I don't know what I'm going to do. Start wringing your hands about it. Listen, I'm here to help you, right? You remember I said that.
I'm on your side as we talk about these things. You've got to understand that. When anxiety starts to dominate you like that, I don't know what I'm going to do. How am I going to respond?
How will I ever get over this? When you hear those kinds of things rattling around in your mind, when you hear those things coming off of your own tongue, what you're saying is, I don't understand. I've got to know. You're depending on your own understanding. What's supporting you is you lean like this, and what's keeping you up, what's supporting you is what you understand that's going on in the lives of your children.
When it's not going the way that you want, that starts to shake. Also, the problem at that point, understand that the answer to that kind of anxiety is not to manipulate your children into being what you want them to be. The answer to that kind of controlling anxiety about your children, about the fruit of your own flesh, is to come back and realize that you've got to forget about your children for a moment and look back up at the God who saved you, the God who said, I am your shepherd. I will guide you.
I will lead you. And you come back to his character, his promises to you, which are independent of your children, and you say, surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. You see, beloved, what I'm saying to you is, is that when you're dominated by this controlling anxiety and concern about your children, that is a symptom for you to come back to God, to come back to Christ, to remember his character, and affirm verbally to him in prayer, I will trust you no matter what. I'm going to trust you even if I don't understand. That is what it means to be a Christian. In the spiritual realm, to trust God means that you're confident about the future, not because of what you see going on around you, but because you see the character and promises of God revealed in his word. Look, that's in your heart in seed form already if you're a Christian.
That's why you were lifted up. To affirm the words of, still my soul be still. I will trust in you. You know, when you recognize the aspirations that that song is expressing as the mark of a Christian, and where all of this leads us, coming back to the point, is where all of that leads us in our parenting, whether our kids are grown or whether they're infants. Be calm.
Be confident. Be trusting that God is at work no matter what. And so, for you young parents, you have a young child who is persistently disobedient.
You're disciplining them for the same thing day after day after day, and there doesn't seem to be any progress. Or you have a loved one, an older child that's rejected Christ and is living in sin. Understand that your hope, your calmness, is not premised on seeing that child get saved or an immediate change in their behavior. Your trust is rested not in what a human being is going to do, especially a two or three year old. You can't set your trust in that. What an unstable foundation upon which to try to stand. No, your confidence is in seeing the character of God and you have a settled expectation that God will show his faithfulness to you in the end even if you don't see anything change.
And you know what? That's certainly going to happen. When we are in heaven, when we are face to face with our Lord Jesus Christ, when we're transformed into his image and we're made like him and we share in the glory of his resurrection, beloved, trust me, better yet, trust the word of God, at that time there is not going to be any question that God's been faithful to you. Throughout all the halls of eternity, in the bliss of heaven, in the perfection of Christ, gathered together with the saints of all the ages, there's not going to be any question that God was faithful to you. That's impossible.
He can't come out. God's character, God's plans for our eternal futures is such that it can't come out any other way. And because we know that God's going to bless us in the end, we take that blessing from the future and it informs the way that we respond to the present. And that makes it so that as a parent, you can be calm. You can trust. See, we're really not talking about parenting at all, are we? At this point, what I want you to see, I've said this from this pulpit before, I'm sure I'll say it again, I tend to repeat myself in my older age.
Some of you know what that's like. Knowing God and trusting God, like what we're talking about here today, is not a secondary aspect of your Christian experience. Knowing God and trusting God so completely that if the walls cave in around you, you still stand firm and you still have a calmness and serenity in your soul. To know God and to trust God like that is not secondary. Listen.
Listen to me. To know God and trust God like that is the reason that you exist. I thought you existed to do your earthly vocation. Now, as a Christian, you exist to know and trust God, and everything else flows out of that. Look at verse 5 with me again, Proverbs 3, 5, and 6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
There it is. The totality of your being is directed toward this confidence in the Lord God of the Bible. Verse 6, in all your ways, acknowledge him. In all your ways, trust him. He'll take care of everything else.
He'll make your paths straight. And so, beloved, regardless of what happens with your children, you as a Christian know for certain that God will bless you, and you must trust him for that. You know what happens if you don't?
When you don't trust God completely like that, and you end up putting your hope in what your children are doing or being or what they'll become, all of that, inevitably, you either become an anxious parent, This isn't going the way I want it to! Stop! You become an angry parent, This isn't going the way I want it to!
Stop! or you just become very manipulative. This isn't going the way that I want it to, and so I'm going to manipulate you emotionally and with what I say, and I'm going to do all these other things so that you'll do what I want to do. All of that manipulation, that anger, and that anxiety is a direct result flowing out of the fact that you haven't known God and trusted him like you should. The final blessing of God in your life is certain, and therefore you can and must be calm. Pastor Don Green's first point today reminded us to stay calm as we parent. Yes, it can often be easier said than done, but as Christians, we have access to peace not visible to unbelievers.
Pray and keep that always in view as you raise your children according to biblical precepts. Well, Don will have part two of this refresher on parenting next time, so be sure to join us then here on The Truth Pulpit. Meanwhile, we invite you to visit our website, thetruthpulpit.com. There you can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies of Don's radio messages for your personal study library. And if you want to go even more in depth, you'll also find the link, Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons not subject to the time editing we need for radio broadcasts. And if you'd like to put social media to good use, connect with Don on Facebook. A link to that is also at thetruthpulpit.com. Visit us today. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word here on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-16 07:14:12 / 2022-11-16 07:23:33 / 9