What does it mean to train our kids? What does it take to train our kids? Today AMBrewster embarks on one of his most enjoyable journeys — teaching Ambassador Parents how God wants them to train their kids. Parenting was never so exciting!
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Today we’re looking at the final job to which God has called every Christian.
And — for the Christian parent — this is the final job God has for you in your parenting.
But if you haven’t heard the rest of this series, you really need to go back to the beginning in episode 184.
The last four jobs make up the warp and woof of the first job. We do the last four in order to do the first well.
In addition to that, the other four jobs build on each other. You can’t do the third without doing the second, and you can’t do the fourth without the second and third.
So, it would be wise to know what those are.
But before we talk about that, I want to remind you about our first ever TLP meetup in Dallas, Texas. On Monday the 17th, Matt and Sonja will open their home, and you’re invited to attend.
Just send an email to TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com or go to our Facebook page and click “going” on our event page.
And while you’re on Facebook, will you please take a moment to Rate and Review us? It would be a huge blessing. With new analytics, I’m starting to think that Facebook reviews may be more powerful than iTunes reviews. If you’ve ever left us an iTunes review, maybe you could drop one by Facebook as well!
Either way, we appreciate the kind words, and it’s a great help in introducing new people to the show.
And, I also want to share this email with you. It was so encouraging. She’s a longtime listener, and this is what she said, “I just want to thank you again for pouring into my life and the lives of so many others. The podcast speaks practically and effectively, communicating what God wants me to hear each and every time. I am certain that the same is true for other listeners — God is so amazing!!”
She then shared a picture of Niagara Falls with a beautiful rainbow springing out of it, and she wrote: “This picture made me think of our lives — how they can be flowing along beautifully at times, then may hit a few currents before tumbling and careening completely out of control over a ledge, leaving seemingly nothing but a deafening roar and blinding mist. But yet in that mist, God is present — as seen in the beautiful rainbow the reaches all the way down into the mist from heaven above. Like Hebrews 6 tells us, we have this hope as an anchor for our souls, even in the worst, we can know that the rainbow of God’s love is there, unmoving like an anchor, just waiting for us to grab onto. Have a beautiful day!!!”
Isn’t that encouraging!
I don’t know where you are in your parenting journey today, but I pray this word of Truth will help tune your mind to the reality that God is good and is at work in your life . . . even though it may be a bumpy ride right now.
And now, the 5th job for the 5th Parent.
The final job comes from the last part of the verse.
II Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
We all want our children to be men and women of God. We want them to be mature and equipped for every good work.
In order to do that we need to be Ambassador Parents who use God’s Word to accomplish the purposes for which He created It.
Therefore, the Ambassador Parent is an Educator who teaches her children what is right and wrong.
The Ambassador Parent is an Interpreter. Like a spiritual philosopher and pastor he helps his children understand when they’ve embraced a worldview that contradicts God’s Truth.
The Ambassador Parent is a Counselor who admonishes and disciples her children by showing them how to correct the trajectory of their lives.
And the Ambassador Parent is a Trainer.
Those of you who’ve been with us for a while, will hopefully remember episode 94. It’s actually one of my favorite episodes because it answers an age-old struggle that parents have had with Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
In that episode we learned how that verse is not a general principle, but a promise.
If you haven’t heard it, I’d listen to it as soon as possible. It will revolutionize your parenting — just like God’s Word always does.
So, building off that foundation — when we truly understand how Training is a different from Education, Interpretation, and Counseling — we can start to help our children participate in that Training.
But before we dive into the principles for Training, we also need to understand that though it’s different from Education, Interpretation, and Counseling, it requires them in order to work.
You will never be able to train you children well if you don’t educate them in Christ. You will never train your children to stay with God if you don’t help them submit to God’s interpretation of their lives. And you’ll never train your children well if you don’t know how to counsel them — help them change the trajectory of their lives.
You need to know The Merest Christianity — the very foundation of why your kids do what they do. You can learn all about that starting in episode 95, and if you only listen to one series in this whole podcast, that would be the one.
Once you understand The Merest Christianity, you will develop a yearning for the Truth of God’s Word, and as you grow and are matured in Christ, you will become a better Ambassador who can teach, interpret, counsel, and — eventually — train your children.
So, training requires constant education, reproof, and correction.
Isn’t that how piano lessons or martial arts classes work?
The instructor teaches you the desired method, and as you practice the instructor helps you see where you’re doing it wrong. Of course, you can ignore the instructor, continue doing it wrong, waste your money, never earn your black belt, and potentially be dismissed from the class, or you can submit to the reproof.
And then — when you’ve embraced the reality that you must follow the instructor — he can help you correct the poor stances and improper method. And it’s at that point that you truly begin your training.
Actually, if we’re going to be more accurate, training is not something you start, it’s something you continue starting.
Have you ever seen a world-class gymnast or figure skater in their forties or fifties. Needless to say, most aren’t training any more, and though they’re still the same inside, their outer man is a little worse for wear.
Just because they started training doesn’t mean they’ll continue in it.
The spiritual process is similar. God wants us to daily submit, take up our cross and follow Him. We need to be like Paul who said, “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
The beautiful thing about spiritual training is that it’s God who does the bulk of the work. Philippians 2:13, “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
No one can train who refuses to submit to the reinterpretation of their lives and start to correct their course. If they continue the way they’ve been going, they’re training to fail.
Let’s review the two foundational truths:
1. Training requires that we know how to and are engaged in Educating, Interpreting, and Counseling our kids.
2. We can only begin the training process once our children have submitted to the Reinterpretation and participated in the Counseling. Then, and only then, can we hope to help them continue their Training.
Remember what we said last time, if our children don’t submit to the reproof, then we cycle back and continue moving between teaching and interpreting until the submit. Then we work on helping them dig out of the hole they’ve created, and once they’ve out of the grave, they can start truly living.
So, now let’s talk about the steps required in training. The word translated “training” in II Timothy is used 6 times in Scripture. Let’s find out what else God would have us know of this most necessary parental job.
1. First, we must be reminded that this Training must be rooted in righteousness. We see that in II Timothy 3:16.
Who cares about passing down family tradition if they don’t learn to be righteous?
Who care if they take over the family business or continue in the family trade if they don’t embrace the righteousness of God?
Who cares what accolades they win, popularity they achieve, or grades they earn if they failed to train in righteousness and were disqualified?
The word translated “in” means to be put under — literally — bound to an oath. When you train your children, it must be shackled to nothing more than God’s high biblical expectations.
We see this mirrored in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Here our Greek word is translated “discipline.”
2. In order to be Ambassadors of God, our Training must be motivated by love for God and our children.
Hebrews 12:5-6, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Motivated by His holiness and love, God is actively at work to train His children.
3. Training doesn’t produce perfect children.
It’s interesting to note that in the Hebrews 12 passage, God’s training includes reproof.
Listen, when your kids start training, they’re not going to be perfect. God never promised that. They’re going to sin, and you’re going to need to cycle back through the other three jobs all the time in the process.
There will always be something new for them to learn. There will always be times where they call God a liar — like we all do — and provide you opportunities to help them accept God’s interpretation of life.
And — Lord willing — if they are true followers of Christ, they will eventually come around, embrace God’s Truth, and need correction.
But though they may not be perfect on this earth . . .
4. Training is designed to produce endurance.
The very next verse says, “It is for discipline that you have to endure.”
James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds [Including training] for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Five times to the churches of the Revelation, Jesus talks of their endurance.
Romans 15:4-6 says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
II Thessalonians 3:5 reads, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
This concept is all throughout the Bible. In fact, in my last sermon in the book of Jude I told my brothers and sisters that the most beautiful and glorious Truth in all the Doctrine of Salvation, is the Truth that God will preserve His true followers and that they will persevere to the end.
It’s all over the Bible.
How can people suggest that “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” is someone how a general truism or hopeful possibility?
It’s at the very core of God’s being to preserve those who submit to Him, and all those who submit to Him will be sanctified in His Truth.
It was Jesus Himself who prayed to His Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
This is so glorious, I could go on and on, but we must move on from here.
5. Part of the Training process is going to involve pain.
We’re going to read the rest of this portion of Hebrews 12, “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Now, there’s another meaning encased in the word we’ve been studying.
Training is everything we’ve said it is, but by implication, the word can also refer to chastening and chastisement.
I believe that this shows us the same thing we saw in point three. Even as they are involved in training, our children will sin. We must be prepared to reprove them, and like I mentioned a couple episodes ago, that reproving is going to have to involve appropriate consequences.
I hope that if you asked my children why their parents have to give them consequences, they would say, “Because sin hurts.”
Sin destroys. It’s burns. It takes no prisoners. It’s kills. It slaughters.
The highest reason we can give our children consequences is to teach them that sin hurts. Better to be grounded or spanked or to lose a privilege now and learn from them then suffer the destruction that comes from living a life in rebellion to God.
Better to suffer the consequences of a life lived in rebellion to God and learn from it in the end than to suffer an eternity of punishment in hell.
We give our children consequences because sin hurts, and we’d rather they learn not to touch the stove because they received an appropriate slap on the hand than to burn their fingers off because of their disobedience.
And 6. comes from Hebrews 12:7-9. We aren’t doing even the most basic job of parenting if we’re not training our children.
The author of Hebrews says, “God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”
I find it interesting that God ties the concept of training directly to the role of a parent.
Why is it that the illegitimate children in this passage weren’t trained? Well, back then illegitimate children were a stain, and people would do everything they could to remove that stain.
The reason illegitimate children weren’t trained is that they weren’t in the home.
But we must remember that though all parents train their kids by virtue of the fact that they’re parents, not all parents train their children in righteousness.
Your children will either learn from you how to worship self or they’ll learn from you how to worship God.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not teaching some parental determinism that says that if we do everything right our kids will submit to God.
No. They have to participate in the training.
But we can’t hide from the fact that our children get their sin natures from us. Generational sin, and the terrible example that we frequently are to our kids will only fuel their rebellion despite our efforts to the contrary.
So, by way of review:
1. Ambassadorial Training requires us to know how to Educate, Interpret, and Counsel.
2. Ambassadorial Training must be rooted in righteousness.
3. Ambassadorial Training must be motivated by love for God and our children.
4. Ambassadorial Training isn’t going to produce perfect children. That’s why we need to stay sharp in our teaching, reproving, and correcting.
5. Instead of perfection, Ambassadorial Training is designed to produce endurance.
6. Ambassadorial Training is going to involve pain.
7. Because you are a parent living with your child, you will participate in their training. But to Train them in the way they should go, we must be Ambassadorial.
Now, I know I’m going way over today.
In fact, it’s funny that just last time I shared a review that praised our ability to keep it short.
Still, I want to give you four more quick points to help you be a better Trainer.
The Ambassador Parent is a Trainer who . . .
1. Teaches his children in what to grow. We established that already.
2. She also instructs her children in how to grow. That’s the reproof and correction.
3. He provides his kids ways to grow. Now this one is new.
I believe that good parents create opportunities for their children to succeed. They’re constantly on the lookout for new challenges, responsibilities, tests, and even trials that will help them take the next step spiritually.
They don’t shelter their children from these opportunities, and they don’t throw them to the sharks with no cage.
There is a fine line where the Ambassador Parent prepares their child and walks a few steps behind them — ready to assist when the time comes — as their child practices holiness.
You can provide your toddler opportunities for growth by teaching them about the importance of sharing, and then inviting a selfish child over for a play date.
Of course, a good parent would be teaching and monitoring and reproving and correcting if necessary.
You could train your middle schooler how to mow the lawn and then let them do it — running over rocks and all — to provide them the chance to grow.
And lastly, 4. the Ambassador Parent who Trains will expect growth from his children.
I think we parents do the exact opposite more often than we realize.
We expect our children to fail because they’re small, immature, and they have a track-record of failing.
Maybe they’ve been given a diagnosis by a school counselor, and we expect that they can’t pay attention.
Maybe they’ve sinned so many times that we’ve given up hope that they’ll ever change.
When you do that, you’ve ceased training your children in righteousness, and you’re training them in sin.
That response is unloving and it doesn’t show trust in God.
So, there you have it.
God wants us to be His Ambassadors of Reconciliation.
And in order to do that we must participate in the four jobs that God create His Word to do.
I like summing it up this way:
We must teach them what’s right.
We must show them what’s not right.
We must help them to return to the right.
And we must train them to stay in the right.
If this episode was a blessing to you, will you please share it with a friend?
And don’t forget to download your free episode notes.
And — before I tell you about our next episode — I want to thank my wife for being a wonderful supporter of TLP.
She works behind the scenes, more than you know, to help me be faithful in this ministry.
Lastly, our next episode has an interesting name. It’s called, “The 10 Things All Parents Should Hate.” It’s a two part series, and I think you’re going to like it.
My friends, God never promised that parenting would be easy. In fact, it’s probably the most difficult job in the universe second to being a First-Follower of Christ.
But God has given us the perfect tool to be the Ambassador Parent He’s called and created us to be.
So, I’ll see you next time as we learn to be better Ambassadors.
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