God has a plan for our parenting, and not only does He communicate that plan in His Word, He exemplifies it for us. Today AMBrewster will discuss how the Holy Spirit parents. All we have to do is know it, believe it, and follow it.
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Welcome dads and moms!
It’s another beautiful day to be a parent, and I’m excited about talking about today’s topic with you.
Today we’re discussing parenting like the Holy Spirit.
I hope you’re excited.
But — in all your excitement — please don’t forget to do two things: 1. If you’ve been with us for any amount of time — in fact — if you’re subscribed to this podcast, will you just take a minute to leave us a rating and review on iTunes or the Apple Podcast app? You can review us on Facebook and other podcast directories as well, just whatever you do, please rate and review. And 2. Please click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP” link in the description. Hopefully, you’ll learn a lot and be encouraged to partner with us as we serve families all over the world.
Last year we were actively listened to in over 65 different countries.
Your prayers and gifts are making a difference in families across the globe.
But, you know who makes an even bigger impact across the globe? The Holy Spirit Himself is currently at work in the dark world, and today we’re going to learn what He does and how we can parent like Him.
John is my favorite Gospel; I know many of you feel the same way. Well, John tells us how on the night Jesus was betrayed, He lead His men to Gethsemane and told them very hard things.
One of the things He told them was that He was going away and that they wouldn’t see Him.
This caused some serious consternation, and in John 16:6 Jesus reply, “Because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
Many of you know that the “Helper” to Whom Jesus was referring was the Holy Spirit, the paraklete, the Comforter.
Jesus explained that unless He went away, the Holy Spirit would not come. But once Jesus was gone from the world, the Holy Spirit would be necessary for three special tasks.
Later, after the crucifixion and resurrection, on the day of Pentecost, we learn that the Holy Spirit did come and ministered to the believers in a way He never had before.
We are very blessed to live in the New Testament age where we can experience the full ministry of the Spirit.
But what does He do?
Jesus told the disciples, “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
That’s it. Three simple, but powerful things.
So, I’m going to make the claim that our parenting should — in many ways — mirror the Spirit’s work in this world, and I’m going to make some application for us.
Now, before we look specifically at the three ways the Spirit is working in the world, I want to point out that all three of them involve the act of conviction.
The Greek Word translated “convict” can mean to convince, to reprove, to rebuke, to tell one his fault, and to admonish.
If you didn’t listen to episode 4 in our pilot season, please do. It’s called “Don’t Lose Your Influence” and it has everything to do with another word translated “admonish.”
And then in episode 74 we discussed punishment versus correction. That episode has a lot of very important information about today’s topic as well.
I mention these other episodes so that I don’t have to recreate the wheel or repeat myself all the time. I highly suggest you get in the habit of listening to and re-listening to past episodes. We also try to organize our episodes thematically at our website, TruthLoveParent.com. You can head over there and find all our episodes about certain topics and listen to them in succession in order to broaden your mind and spirit with the topic at hand.
So, anyway, all three of the Holy Spirit’s works on earth involve convicting.
The idea of conviction is to expose something to the light, and often times that involves shame.
Listen, I’m not talking about whatever the world means when it talks about “shaming” someone. I’m talking about biblical shame that grows from genuine guilt.
Adam and Even felt shame when they sinned against God. As we discussed last time, the realty of our spiritually needy state should cause grief and mourning. If it doesn’t, we’ll never submit to God in meekness.
Shame is good when it’s biblical. We shouldn’t try to make someone feel ashamed, but we should expose that which God already says is shameful.
This involves pointing things out. So let’s look at the first thing the Holy Spirit points out.
1. Jesus told us that the Spirit came to convict the world of sin.
This one is obvious, and the Holy Spirit’s been doing that for a long time. We know that the Holy Spirit was instrumental in writing the Bible. And we also know that the Old Testament Law was given to us, in part, to show us our need for a Messiah, a Savior.
And remember, this has nothing to do with the Failure Philosophy of self-esteem. Using the Light of God’s Truth to expose the darkness in a person’s hearts is the most loving thing we can do.
In fact, Penn Gillet, the famous magician from the magic team of Penn and Teller, once did a short video talking about how the worst thing for a professing Christian to do is not proselytize. Penn is an atheist, and yet he argues that if you really believe in Hell, you’d have to be a terrible person not to tell other people of their impending doom. I’ll link that video in the description. It's fascinating to watch because this atheist is a stronger advocate for evangelism than a lot of professing Christians.
So, our first observation is that we can’t be a loving parent if we’re not going to assist the Holy Spirit in His role of convicting our children of sin.
Secondly, we need to understand how we participate in this process. Well, it’s really simple and we’ve discussed it in a number of ways. We talked about it in Christian Parenting 101, in the 5th Parent series, in the The Four Children series, in the episode about training your children.
All those episodes have this one thing in common — the content of our parenting must be God’s Truth. In verse 9 of John 16, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin specifically because they don’t believe in Jesus.
It doesn’t matter if our opinions differ from our kids. It doesn’t matter if we like kale and they don’t. It doesn’t matter if we think an outfit is flattering or stylish or cool and they don’t. What matters is what God says.
Not liking kale is not a sin, and that’s comforting for me because I don’t like kale. But transgressing against God’s written Word is a sin, and I need to know I’ve sinned before I can change.
When our children show by their actions and words and feelings that they don’t believe what God’s said about Himself and life, we need to reveal that to them.
And third, we need to understand the timing of this role. We talked about this a little bit during the Speed Parenting episodes and the episodes entitled “Should I Ever Ignore My Child’s Sin?”; I made the observation that we should never ignore our kids sin, and even if we don’t have a lot of time, the best thing we can do is deal with the Truth of the moment in the moment.
One of my first jobs was working at Boston Market, and one day I made a mistake and my manager lit into me. Not only was she upset about the current bad choice, but she released on me a litany of other accusations concerning things from the past that I didn’t even know I had done. She had let it all bottle up and the newest infraction was the proverbial straw.
And I remember standing there as a very confused and beaten down young man not even realizing that I had done so many things incorrectly.
By God’s grace, I was able to respond very calmly and respectfully. I apologized, but then I politely asked my manager to tell me any time I do something wrong. I can’t fix what I don’t know is broken.
We help our children when we lovingly shine the light of God’s Truth into their lives in the moment. When we challenge their beliefs about the Bible, when we show them clear passages that expose their sinful behavior, when we walk them through the way God expects us to think, we are doing our children a divine and beneficial service. We are parenting them like the Holy Spirit.
Alright . . .
2. We learn that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of righteousness.
Where the first sounded obvious, this may seem a little surprising. Conviction sounds very negative; how do we convict someone of their righteousness?
Well, we’re really not convicting them of their righteousness. Jesus said in verse 10 that the Holy Spirit convicts of righteousness because “I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer.”
It’s not that we should make our children feel guilty about doing right, but we should expose to them what righteousness is and how it contradicts their choices.
You see, when Jesus was here on earth He exemplified all that was perfect and right. But with Him gone we have no physical example to whom to look.
That’s why the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to expose what righteousness is.
And that’s why we need to not only tell our kids about holy living, but we should model it for them with our lives.
This goes back to the Deuteronomy passage that commands us to discuss and live out the Truth of God at every moment of our day. We also discussed the importance of this in our episode called “Your Kids Need an Interpreter.” We need to be ready in season and out of season to explain the Truths of Scripture.
So, in order to parent like the Holy Spirit we need to be a loving and consistent source of conviction of what is wrong and what is right.
And lastly . . .
3. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of judgment.
Our Lord continues and says, “concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
I love the profound implications of this short sentence.
Implication number one: Because there is wrong and because there is right there must be accountability for what is wrong.
There is no such thing as “Well, that’s right for you. You get to God your way, and I’ll get to Him my way.” Nope. The Holy Spirit’s ministry makes perfect sense from start to finish. If He’s going to say that I’m doing wrong, then He needs to be prepared to tell me what’s right, and if I should be living the right way and not living the wrong way, it makes all the sense in the world that there be consequences for not doing right.
And anyone who says otherwise is selling something.
The second implication is found in the statement, “because the ruler of this world is judged.” Yes, the consequences of our choices are ours. We can’t blame Satan for our choices, but if the temporary ruler of this world, Lucifer himself, cannot escape the judgment of God, what on earth makes us think we’re going to somehow sneak past?
Jesus make a significant top-down proclamation so that all of us who do wrong and don’t do right understand that there will be consequences because of that.
What does this look like in our parenting?
Well, I believe there are two parts: 1. We should obviously always be striving to help our children see their need for Christ in salvation. We discussed Evangelism Parenting in episode 53 and in episode 45, “The Second Most Important Question You Need to Ask Your Kids.” It was also a huge factor in our Four Children series that started in episode 55.
And 2. We should consistently and biblically admonish our children of the consequences of sin.
We’ve explored this topic quite a bit as well in episodes like “Are There Failure Philosophies in Your Home?” and all the episodes I mentioned earlier about correction and discipline.
The two keys I want to point out on this episode are the consistent and biblical nature of this admonishment.
We must never make judgement about us. Consequences come as a natural reaction to attacking God’s character. Therefore our admonishment must be thoroughly biblical.
Secondly, our admonishment must be consistent. There are two mistakes most parents make.
1. When we don’t consistently address our children’s sin with appropriate consequences we lie to our children as to the nature of consequences.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is true not only in physics, but in the spiritual realm as well. Sin always hurts, and it doesn’t just hurt the sinner, it hurts everyone around them as well.
When our children sin and we don’t convict them of the natural consequences of their choices, we may give them the impression that there were no consequences.
And this ties in very closely with the second issue.
2. Some parents make the correction out to be the only consequences.
No doubt some of you immediately imagined spanking or grounding or some other corrective discipline when I said consequences, but those consequences are what I like to call, the Minor Consequences.
Sure, no one likes to have a phone confiscated or have to sit at the table until their green beans are gone or get a swat on the tooshy. But consider with me what the Bible says about the other consequences of our sin.
The two Major Consequences are both relational consequences. The greatest of the two is the vertical consequence that results in eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire. The second Major Consequence of sin is the horizontal relational carnage that exists every time there’s sin in our lives. My marriage will be affected by my sins at work. Your children’s relationship with you will be affected by their sins at school.
These Major Consequences are far weightier and perfectly consistent because they’re brought about by God.
And even if our child is born again and has no fear of the greatest Major Consequence of sin, every parent understands that the Minor Consequence of losing their phone for a week pales in comparison to the broken trust that now exists in your relationship. That’s the Major Consequence of their sin.
I share this with the guys at Victory quite often. The consequences they receive here like demerits and write-ups are really not that big of a deal. The guys act like somehow it’s the worst thing in the world to lose a level, and I’m glad it’s weighty enough for them to open their eyes. But too often they care more about the demerits that no one will care about once they leave here than they do about the relational consequences between them, the staff, their parents, and God.
I frequently try to remind them that the Minor Consequences at Victory are merely a picture of the Major Consequences looming in each of their lives. And even if they dodge the Minor Consequences because the staff didn’t catch them, there still will be Major Consequences because God warns us all that our sins will find us out.
So, parenting like the Holy Spirit will include biblically and consistently helping our children understand the nature of consequences by teaching them and using them consistently.
In conclusion — and I have this all ready for you in our episode notes at TruthLoveParent.com — in order to parent like the Holy Spirit, we need to be in the business of conviction.
This does not mean we’re the judge, jury, executioner. Instead, it means we’re more like a light house warning approaching ships of the dangerous rocks ahead of them.
By using God’s Word, we need to expose our children’s sin, reveal for them the righteous way God commands and empowers them to live, and explain the Major Consequences of life while consistently and biblically bringing Minor Consequences to bear in their lives.
I don’t know about you, but there’s something exciting about parenting in the image of God.
Please share this episode on social media so your parent friends can benefit from our study.
Our next episode will be about what the world thinks the 2018 parenting trends will be.
And — if the world’s right — how will those 2018 parenting trends affect us.
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Listen, it doesn't really matter what the world thinks about our parenting, God has a plan for it, He communicates that plan, and He exemplifies that plan.
All we have to do is know it, believe it, and follow it.
See you next time!
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