TLP 122: Needy Parenting
We’re all Needy Parents, but some of us haven’t realized it yet. Join AMBrewster as he opens God’s Word to discuss what Needy Parenting is and how it will revolutionize your family.
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I’m back in the studio . . . you know, that awesome place where we talk about God and the Bible and kids and parenting.
You’re back in your car or kitchen or on your treadmill or in the shower, and we’re ready to go
First, though, I need to tell you about a great podcast to which you should be listening. Well, at least you guys out there should be listening.
Ladies, I highly suggest you grab your husband’s phone and subscribe him at your next opportunity.
This podcast is called “Real Men Connect” and it’s hosted by Dr. Joe Martin. It’s currently the number one rated podcast for Christian men on iTunes . . . and . . . I had the opportunity recently to be interviewed by Dr. Martin.
That’s right, he was interviewing me.
That episode should be posting on a Wednesday in January. It could be this week, it could be next week. I don’t know yet, but I’ll let you know when I find out.
For now, we’re promoting his podcast at TruthLoveParent.com, and we’re going to share it on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and all those when the episode goes live.
Please don’t miss it!
And don’t forget to share this episode with your friends on social media. We may not feel like needy parents, but we all need to be needy parents, and we need to be the kind of needy parents that God calls us to be.
And, lastly, we are a listener-supported ministry, and you can receive upgraded thank-yous if you become a Patron at patreon.com. You can click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP” link in the description to learn more.
And speaking of Patrons, I want to thank Matt and Sonja for becoming Equipping Patrons this past December.
Their partnership will — Lord willing — allow me to finish my book this year and give it away for free at TruthLoveParent.com.
Okay, so here we go . . . what does it mean to be a Needy Parent, and are you one?
For today’s show, we turn to one of the most popular passages in the Bible and — like I’m so want to do — we’re going to work our way through it backwards.
Let’s start in Matthew 5:13-16. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Part of your job as a parent is to be a burning light and tasty salt in your family. We don’t hide out lights under Failure Philosophies or unnecessarily long work days. In Episode 111 we talked about being a Fragrant Parenting, and the Flavorful Parenting is very similar. We can’t allow the “taste” we leave on our family’s lips be bland or bitter. Our words and actions need to be filled with the glorious Truth and Perfect Philosophy of God.
Are your children glorifying God in Heaven because of your good works — your salt and light? If not, then perhaps you’re not needy enough.
Verses 10-12 read “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
We talked about this concept way back in Episode 37, “Parenting a Terrorist.” A number of you have mentioned how timely and helpful that episode was for you.
We could spend our whole time just on these verses, but for sake of time, let me summarize the Truths like this:
If your entire immediate family is born again, then that persecution will likely be few and far between, but it will come when you — as an Ambassador Parent — share God’s Truth with a child who wants to worship himself instead.
So, when that persecution comes because of God, are you experiencing joy and gladness? If not, perhaps you’re not needy enough.
Verse 9 says,“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Are you the type of parent who doesn’t fight for superficial peace and a “happy family,” but instead helps reconcile your children with each other and God? We touched on this in our interview with Jessica Mair, “Tackling Tattling” in episode 93.
Are you redemptively living in your home in such a way that you do your best to be at peace with your whole family and help them become reconciled with God?
If not, then perhaps you’re not needy enough.
Verse 8 reads,“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
The word pure would have taken the ancient Jew’s mind back to the requirement for a sacrificial lamb or the ceremonial cleansing of the priest. But this word goes far beyond what we look like, this word is talking about the purity of our hearts.
The Greek Word used here refers to “being free from corrupt desires, from sin and guilt.” Being free from anything false; being sincere and genuine. It speaks of being blameless, innocent, and unstained by the guilt of anything.
Does that describe your parenting?
Now, at this point, you may be thinking, “Aaron, I get it. I need to be needy, and you’re going to walk backwards through the Beatitudes to show me what I can be if I’m needy. But, seriously, you’re setting a very high bar, and I don't even understand what being needy has to do with it.”
My friend, I understand your angst. Stay with me.
The bar is set very high, because it’s Jesus Himself setting it. We’re called to be holy even as He is holy. This is Ambassador Parenting at it’s purest. I encourage your to re-listen to episodes 26 and 27, "The 5th Way to Parent.” The 5th Way to Parent is the only parenting style that glorifies God, but it’s also the only personality that glorifies God. And the expectations are infinitely high.
So, allow me to ask the question? Does your spouse and do your children view you as blameless and pure? If not, then perhaps you’re not needy enough.
Verse 7 says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Does your family view you as being compassionate like Jesus was? If not . . . yeah, that’s right. You’re not needy enough.
Now, let me stop for a minute and put into perspective the passage we’ve read so far:
The last part of the chapter tells us how to live in such a way that everyone sees the high expectations of God lived out in our lives. In essence, it’s telling us how to be persecuted and reviled.
Then that list we saw from being merciful to pure to peacemakers to joy-filled is there to give us more detail about what verse 6 means. Verse 6 reads, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Being a merciful parent, a pure parent, a peacemaking parent, and a joy-filled parent is part of what it looks like to be a parent who hungers and thirsts after righteousness.
And the promise associated with that verse is that when we hunger and thirst for God’s Truth, His light, His delicious flavor, then it will be at work in us. We will be merciful and pure and peaceful and joyful.
But we can’t be hungry and thirsty for righteousness if we’re not humble.
Verse 5 of Matthew 5 reads, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The Greek word translated “meek” describes a parent who’s gentle and humble. Humility is not thinking lowly about ourselves, it’s not thinking about ourselves at all. Jesus was the meekest man Who lived, and His entire life’s goal was to live to the glory of His Father and the good of all mankind.
He did a lot, He worked hard, but He gave little thought to His own desires.
But — in the same way that we can’t hunger and thirst for righteousness unless we’re meek — we can’t be meek unless we’re grieved.
If you’re not a peaceful, merciful, joyful, and pure parent, it’s because you’re not meek. And if you’re not meek, it’s because you’re not grieving.
Now, I know that sounds paradoxical. In order to be joyful in my parenting, I need to grieve?
Yup. Matthew 5:4 reads,“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Now, what on earth is it we’re mourning about?
We took the last episode to discuss how we can have joy in our parenting even when other parents would be grieving over their children’s refusal to submit to God.
So, why now is Jesus saying that we have to mourn?
Well, the answer to that grows out of verse 3. Let’s look at that and then put the whole picture together
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The word here translated “poor” speaks of being a beggar, of being destitute, of being needy. And the word “spirit” refers to the same word used to describe the spirit that resides every soul.
You see, I started at the back and worked forward for a couple reasons. One of them was to set the bar super high and allow us to feel those pangs of insufficiency.
Which of us is a brilliant light and flavorful salt to the Truth of God in our houses?
Which of us genuinely leaps for joy in God when our spouse and kids persecute us for living for Christ?
Which of us are peacemaking parents?
Which of us are pure parents?
Which of us are merciful parents?
We all need to grow in all those areas, and hopefully you sense your neediness in these categories.
I know I do.
So, why does Jesus start with “poor in spirit”?
This is God’s perfect version of the Zen proverb, “Empty your cup.” It’s said that Master Ryutan said this to the scholar Tokusan, “You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can't put anything in. Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup.”
Before God can fill your life and parenting with Himself, you need to realize that you have nothing worthwhile to add to the equation.
We are spiritually destitute. We’re needy and broken. If we come to our parenting — or anything else for that matter — puffed up in our own ability and awesomeness, then there will be nowhere for God’s righteousness next to our unrighteousness or His Perfect Philosophy next to our Failure Philosophies.
So, this is how it works for the Needy Parent. The Needy Parent realize he or she has absolutely nothing to bring to their parenting that will benefit the situation. Even our God-given abilities and skills will only hurt and destroy if we exercise them in our own power for our own little kingdom.
When we realize that we’re needy, broken people, that should cause us to mourn. And for every Christian, we’ve experienced that grief when we were convicted of our sin and guilt before God. You see, we’re not to live in that mourning and grief.
We’re to get up in the power of God and live for the glory of God and rejoice in situations that would cause other people to mourn.
One of the only things that should grieve us is our own unconfessed sin before God.
And when we truly grieve over our spiritual destitution, we will run to God — the only one who can give us purpose and empower us. We will humbly bow before Him and acknowledge that we can’t do it on our own and that we need Him.
And again, this is a place to which all born again believers have come. Unfortunately, we don’t return there as often as we should.
I believe the beginning of the year is a wonderful place to acknowledge our spiritual neediness. Our unrepentant sin should weigh heavy on our hearts until we humbly throw ourselves on God’s mercy and grace.
Then, and only then, will we be able to hunger and thirst after righteousness. That Needy Parenting leads inexorably to Hungry Parenting.
And when we hungrily seek after the righteousness of God, that is when we start seeing mercy and purity and peacemaking and joy in our parenting.
That’s when we are the types of parents that fill our house with the Light of God and the delicious aroma of God.
That is Needy Parenting.
Do you know a parent who could use this encouragement? Please share this episode with them. In fact, take a moment to share it with all your fiends on social media.
As always, I’ve posted free episode notes and today’s transcript at Taking Back the Family at TruthLoveParent.com. You can click on the link in the description to be transported right there.
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On our next episode we’re going to talk about what it means to parent like the Holy Spirit. I hope you’re looking forward to that.
And don’t forget to check out “Real Men Connect” with Dr. Joe Martin, and click on the link “5 Ways to Support TLP” to learn how you can receive the upgraded thank-yous at Patreon.com.
It’s okay to be needy. We all are, just some of us haven’t acknowledged it yet. Please, or your family’s sake, realize just how needy you are, allow that to break you, and then give yourself 100% to God to parent the way He created you to parent.
And then join us next time to see some ways God Himself, in the person of the Holy Spirit, actually parents.
See you then!
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