Were you excited to change, but have begun to struggle? Did your kids start strong, but have recently become disinterested? Join AMBrewster as he shares some practical ways that Christian parents can revitalize their commitments and help their families do the same.
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Listen to the following episodes on Apple podcasts by clicking the titles.
“Planning for a Successful Family” (episode 16)
“How Your Family’s Future is Tied to the Past” (episode 119)
“How Your Family Can Make Resolutions that Glorify God” (episode 223)
“How Do We Teach Our Children to Love the Right Things?” (episode 137)
“The Four Children” (episode 55)
“Merest Christianity" (episode 95)
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If you're wondering, yes I’m not feeling well, but I promise to get through this episode in the most intelligible way possible, and you can promise to overlook my extra-raspy voice.
Whether you make New Year’s resolutions and commitments or set goals and build habits or you don’t do anything at all, I believe this episode will be beneficial for us because it speaks to a deep human need.
Therefore, it’s something we desperately need, but it’s also something our kids need.
But before we do that, if you’ve been listening to this show for any period of time and have been blessed by it, will you invest a little in Rating, Reviewing, and/or Recommending Truth.Love.Parent.?
It’s a huge help and blessing as we try to connect God’s Word to growing families.
I’d also like to thank Dave for making today’s episode possible. I love how God doesn’t magically put money into any of our bank accounts. He uses His people to build His church, edify the body, and bear one another’s burdens.
But that doesn’t make it any less supernatural or divine; that’s just how God has chosen to work through His people, and it’s eternally wise and glorious that He accomplishes one work of equipping his saints physically while simultaneously equipping his saints spiritually.
Dave and everyone else who has ever sent a gift to TLP is being used by God to get this content into the minds of thousands and thousands of families all over the world.
Okay, so why is today’s topic so important?
I’ve dealt with topics like this before.
In episode 16 we talked about “Planning for a Successful Family.”
In episode 119, we discussed “How Your Family’s Future is Tied to the Past.”
And episode 223 covered “How Your Family Can Make Resolutions that Glorify God.”
But let me clarify why we seem to put so much emphasis on New Year’s Resolutions.
But the truth is that it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, we should always be intentionally and premeditatedly growing in our sanctification.
And it doesn’t matter what you call it. It can be a resolution, a goal, or a vow . . . I don’t really care. If we put it into TLP jargon, do you have an intentional, premeditated plan for personal and family conformity to the image of Christ?
If you do, whether in January or August, you will also need a plan to continue pursuing that goal. No one makes a significant decision and masters it the same week. No one engages in spiritual warfare and never struggles in that area again.
So, the content of today’s discussion is about what to do after a decision has been made and it’s been hanging out there for a while.
Many times decisions are forgotten or fizzle out when we or our kids see how much work it’s going to take. But sometimes we simply set ourselves up for failure by making the wrong kinds of commitments.
So, let’s take this time to scan the scenic vista and talk about how we can help our kids be successful in their spiritual growth.
1. First things first, despite how noble our intentions or well-meaning our motivations, if we’ve found that ours or our children’s resolve has started to slip, it may be valuable to consider the following.
A. Sometimes we fail keeping our commitments because we overestimated our own ability to desire what’s right.
In episode 137 we asked “How Do We Teach Our Children to Love the Right Things?”
It takes as much to teach our children to love the right as it does to train them to continue loving the right. And — you know you — our frail, sinful humanity is want to stumble.
We must keep in mind that we and our kids are prone to wander.
This means that we often have to re-resolve our resolutions and recommit to our commitments.
But, as we’ve often said, real change is always going to start in the mind — in the spirit.
As we learned in the “Merest Christianity,” behavior grows from desire which grows from belief. And belief is a function of the heart.
Therefore, if our family isn’t moving forward in their growth as they should, we should plan to reevaluate the heart.
B. Of course, there’s also the possibility that your initial resolutions weren’t really about God so much as they were about you.
Sometimes the success or failure of our goals can reveal the guiding motivation. A spiritual sounding resolution tastes sweet to Rocky and Thorny Hearted people, but the soil will choke or dry the behavior out over time under the worst circumstances because the soil wasn’t truly cultivated in devotion to God.
If you’re uncertain what I mean about Rocky or Thorny Hearted people, I strongly encourage you to check out “The Four Children” series starting in episode 55.
Any goals made without God at the foundation are designed for failure.
C. Another reason we often slip in our goals is that we try to do it on our own.
I hope you were involved in helping your children plan for new growth and change this year, therefore I would hope you’ve continued to help them achieve their goals.
However, too often we parents are so happy that our children resolved to do a good thing that we delude ourselves into thinking that’s all it takes.
Sometimes we realize that a resolution is not guaranteed change, but we’re too lazy to really do the intentional, premeditated work of helping our kids truly be successful.
And sometimes we’re so fixated on our own struggles and failures that we’re blind to theirs.
Either way, just like you need a parenting community, your kids need a family that will bear their burdens, keep them accountable, set benchmarks, and walk beside them.
If you or your children have slipped in your commitments, you may be trying to do it by yourself.
D. Another reason we fail to live up to our commitments is that we allow our failures to define us.
None of us will perfectly do anything consistently. And Satan, the world, and our flesh love to flaunt our failures in our faces.
We must not allow our inferiority or guilt to turn into inadvertent arrogance.
Our justification was not accomplished in our power, and so we should not be so foolish to believe that our sanctification is accomplished solely in our power.
It’s true that our failures are our faults, but we’re not limited by our sin, we’re only limited by the grace and power of God . . . something that is infinitely unlimited.
Our failures should cause us to confess and repent, not collapse and recant.
By the way, today’s episode notes are available at TruthLoveParent.com on our blog, “Taking Back the Family.”
So, 1. Those are some reasons we may already by slipping in our resolve, or they’re reasons that we will struggle later this year.
Even just a few days out of our “How Do You Become” series, you may have encountered some hurdles that have let the air out of your sails.
Come back to these Truths when it happens to try to identify why you’ve run aground.
And this is very valuable because we learn important Truth’s about ourselves when we falter and fail.
2. Turn your failed resolutions into a learning experience.
Now, let’s finish up with our third point.
3. Here are some suggestions as to how you and the rest of your family can fulfill your commitments regardless of whether you’re still going strong or have begun to waiver.
A. Acknowledge that — generally speaking — change comes slowly.
Do I believe that God can upend and revolutionize our lives overnight? Definitely, but history has taught us that humans fight spiritual growth. It’s due to the war raging in our very cells.
B. As I mentioned earlier, we need to reorient our beliefs.
It’s our philosophy of life that dictates our desires which cause our behavior to blossom or canker.
We will only stay faithful to God’s working in our lives if we constantly keep our minds focused on Him.
C. We also need to stay realistic.
We know that God has High Biblical Expectations, He should, and so should we. But — as you’ve likely heard — how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Help your children have a logical and biblically accurate view of change. As Patch the Pirate says, “Little by little, inch by inch, by the yard it’s hard, by the inch, it’s a cinch.”
D. Another application point from our observations today is that we need each other.
You need your kids to become who God wants you to be, and your kids need you.
The plethora of one-anothers all throughout the Gospels are proof of that fact.
And lastly, E. Trust in God’s power, not your own.
We started with the observation that our justification didn’t happen in our power and our sanctification won’t either.
Yes, we need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, we’re not marionettes, but it’s a mystery how in the moment we submit God provides the power to do so. We’re responsible to act, but He’s responsible for our ability to act.
It’s a beautiful, spiritual paradox that makes all the sense in the universe to God.
And we and our children are blessed to be allowed to participate in it.
I greatly appreciated your patience with this last series. It had many parts and many of the episodes were long, so today we got right to the point.
Again, the episode notes are available to you so that you can use them to help your family succeed.
And I would encourage you to share this episode so other families may do the same.
And, on our next episode, I look forward to discussing some 2019 Parenting Trends for which we need to diligently watch.
I hope you know that we love you and your families. We may never have met, but we desperately want God’s best for you and yours.
Please feel free to send us your struggles and share your stories. We’d love to get to know you better.
So, as we strive to become newer and more Christ-honoring versions of ourselves . . . I’ll see you next time.
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