Is there hope for your child? You better believe it! Today AMBrewster shares God’s cure for foolishness and reminds Christians parents about their indispensable 5 jobs.
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Welcome to our sixth and final episode in our “Parenting a Zombie” series. I started formulating this metaphor a couple years ago, but even this study for the past few weeks has taken me deeper, equipped me more, and given me a stronger desire to understand the zombie tendencies in all of us.
Who knows, maybe this will turn into a book one day.
I guess you can always say you “heard it first here.”
But, if you haven’t heard the other episodes yet, please check them out.
Also, if you’re new to the show, I’d strongly encourage you to start back during our pilot season. We have four seasons a year, and we’re now in Season 8.
Our Pilot Season was introductory in that we dealt with a number of topics that helped you know us better. Most of those episodes were derived from previous blog articles I had written on a slew of different topics including how to not lose your influence, the key concept of being a First Follower in your family, the necessity of preparing your kids versus protecting them, and the most dangerous thing about Hollywood.
Season 1 laid a foundation for Christian parenting that included discussions on emotions, music, technology, child-terrorism, and communication. We also had our first interview that season with Tim Challies.
Season 2 dove into knowing your child, why they do what they do, how they respond to Truth, how to avoid the Millennial Pendulum, how to debate your child, and the second most important question to ask your child.
Season 3 dug deeper into Christian parenting by discussing how to be at peace in your parenting, education, parenting 100 miles an hour, and how to tackle tattling.
Season 4 dealt with the non-negotiables of Christian parenting. Some of these include a lengthy discussion on the Merest Christianity, the Rock, the Bread, and the Donut, the biblical definition of a “good kid,” speed parenting, and so much more.
Season 5 laid out the plan for how to have joy, love, and obedience in your family. We talked a ton about biblical love, and I also created the first in what I hope will be a long series in “Teach Your Children to (fill in the blank)” shows. This particular one was about teaching your children to obey.
Season 6 talked a lot about Family Talk. But it also included just a ton of super practical discussions on pets, family joking, how to handle “I don’t know,” how to help your kids discover God’s will for their lives, and the importance and destruction of friends.
Season 7 was consumed with the awesomeness and necessity of God’s holy Word. We talked a ton about how to use the Scripture in our parenting, increasing our Parenting Bibles, the importance of going to church, a parent’s 5 jobs, 10 things all parents should hate, and family worship.
This Season is broadly about the nature of parenting and teaching our children how to think. We’re almost half-way in and there is still a ton of great content to check out.
All of that to say, please enjoy and make good use of the evergreen parenting resource were creating.
Now, before we discuss the zombie’s salvation, I want to read our most recent review. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s a 1-star review, but I believe it’s important that we understand what’s going on.
Here’s what Cris and Emy said. The title of the review was “Getting in the way of the Bible,” and they wrote, “Yup, you say that children are inherently fool[s and] sinners. This is at least debatable. This is reading into the text.”
Now, here’s why we all need to understand this.
And I did that.
So, here’s is my respectful reply to Cris and Emy:
Ecclesiastes 7:20, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:12, “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
James 4:17, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
Isiah 64:6-7, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.”
Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
And Proverbs 22:15, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.”
I am not reading into the text. We are all sinners. We are all born fools.
We all start as zombies, but our’s need not be a tragedy. The Bible is the only story where the dead come back to the life, the zombies become Christ-honoring humans, and we’re changed from darkness into light.
And that is the topic of today’s discussion: the fool’s salvation.
But before we jump in, if you’d like to leave us your own 5-star rating and review, please pause this episode and take a few seconds to do it from the Apple Podcast app. We would greatly appreciate it.
Okay, here we go.
Our foundational observation should be a great comfort to us, especially if we have a fully-formed zombie living in our homes.
God knows the problem.
Proverbs 15:11 says, “Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of the children of man!”
God knows the foolishness bound up in our children’s hearts. He knows the genesis of the problem, the extent of the problem, but He also know the solution to the problem.
Now, there are tons of passages we could study, but I’m going to limit this discussion to the verses that use the terms fool, foolishness, and folly and illustrate how we can be saved from the destruction of sin.
1. The Fool Must Learn Knowledge
Proverbs 26:5 says, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”
Proverbs 15:14 reads, “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.”
And Proverbs 16:22 tells us that, “Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.
The mindless zombie doesn’t have the information necessary to make wise choices, so the first step is instruction.
This should sound familiar, and I encourage you to listen to episode 185 as a follow up to today’s study. That particular episode is all about our role as Educators.
There are billions of parents in the world who haven’t given their children even the most basic information concerning God’s Word.
But even among church-goers I see so many families whose kids don’t know that disobedience and disrespect aren’t acceptable.
Sure, mom and dad have gotten really angry when their toddler didn’t obey, and they told their kid they had to obey, but when the parents don’t ground their commands in a higher authority, consistently enforce their rules, or allow the child to run the home . . . what they’re actually teaching their children is that obedience is optional.
But having knowledge isn’t good enough. In I Corinthians 8:1 we learn that knowledge can puff us up with arrogance. This is not the response we want. In fact, that response to the acquisition of knowledge would also be a zombie response.
You see, knowledge just isn’t enough. There are plenty of people out there who know things about the Bible, but they don’t truly understand it.
So, 2. The Fool Must Learn Understanding.
Proverbs 15:21 says, “Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.”
Our next episode is going to answer the question, “Should Halloween Have Any Place in Our Homes?” but the episode after that is going to start a short series called “Teach your children to learn” and will be all about The Circle of Learning.
During that study we’re going to learn the importance of knowing how to learn, and we’re going to talk in great detail about knowledge and understanding so we can appreciate their differences.
For now, though, let’s accept that our kids are going to need understanding before they can shed the zombie behavior.
By the way, this is also part of the Educator role we discussed in the Parents 5 Jobs series.
But — in addition to knowledge and understanding . . .
3. The Fool Must Learn from Reproof.
Proverbs 15:32 is just one verse that make this observation, but it’s good enough to make the point that, “Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.”
If you remember, reproof is another of the Parent’s 5 Jobs. We called this role the Interpreter Role.
Instruction involves teaching your child what is right and what is wrong.
When your child refuses the right and accepts the wrong, interpreting refers to helping your child accept that their understanding of reality (i.e. they can choose to sin without consequence) is a delusion. We’re attempting to reinterpret reality for them by helping them to see things God’s way.
This is one of the stages that involves corrective discipline.
I know this is a huge topic, but Proverbs is the one book in the Bible that has the most to say about corporal punishment.
I don’t have time to discuss it here, but I encourage you to go to TruthLoveParent.com, hover over the Podcast tab, click on “Episodes by Topic” and check out our various episodes about both corrective and progressive discipline.
However, as we saw during the Parent’s 5 Jobs series, much of our parenting — especially if our children are young or unsaved — revolves between Teaching and Interpreting, instructing and reproving.
However, it’s a glorious thing when our children see their sin the way God does, acknowledge their culpability, desire to put off the zombie behavior, and put on the power of Christ.
Then we can move to the next two parental responsibilities of Counseling and Training our child.
And this leads us to . . .
4. The Fool Must Learn Wisdom.
Proverbs 30:32, “If you have been foolish, exalting yourself, or if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth.”
One of the wisest things a fool can do is acknowledge that he’s a fool. Imagine a zombie who desperately wanted to eat you, slapping a hand over its mouth and running away!
There was a movie kind of like this. It involved a disease that killed the adults but turned the children into flesh-eaters. However, the children were sweet, normal kids as long as they didn’t smell fresh meat.
And one of the girls desperately did not want to hurt the adults in her life that she loved.
She did everything she could to protect them from her.
That’s what this verse is taking about. The fool must take the knowledge it’s given, understand it, and apply it by taking the appropriate action. In this case, it involves ceasing the flow of foolishness.
Proverbs 17:28 is similar in that it says, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
And this is because the simple choice to not spout one’s foolishness is a wise choice.
Now consider Proverbs 2:1-5, “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
Here we learn that salvation from zombie behavior is to embrace the Truth of God and put it to use in our life.
And Proverbs 8:5 sums it up well when it says, “O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.”
Prudence is another word for shrewdness and wisdom. And sense is the word we’ve been using this whole time. Clearly, common sense isn’t so common. It must be learned.
The fool, the one who lacks sense, must learn to have sense. They have to tune their hearts to the frequency at which God created them to resonate.
Let’s recap, in order to stop being a zombie, our children must learn knowledge, learn understanding, learn from reproof, and learn wisdom.
Now — like I said — there is so much more that needs to be said here, but I want to focus in on most important knowledge, understanding, and wisdom our children can ever have.
We must teach our children the Gospel. We must help them interpret life through the lens of the Gospel. We must help them understand the Gospel. We must help them embrace the Gospel. And — once they’ve submitted to God’s Good News — we must help them continue in the Gospel.
This is the root or Evangelism Parenting.
This too is a topic about which we’ve said much. However, please check out episode 63 for more study on this subject.
Our children will never be able to cease being a zombie without first embracing new life in Christ.
God knows the destruction of sin, He’s provided a way to be saved from it, and He’s given us everything we need to know, understand, and live out to participate in that plan.
Even if your kids are born again, they can exhibit zombie tendencies.
To be honest . . . so can we.
But even then, knowing, understanding, and submitting to the Gospel is our only hope.
Now, like I said, our next episode is about whether or not we should allow Halloween into our homes, but then I’m going to start a series called the Circle of Learning.
This series will not only branch off this one well, but will also be another installment of our “Teach Your Children to (fill in the blank).”
But then — and I’m really excited about this one — Lord willing, the woman who taught me how to think will be joining us as a very special guest on the show.
She’s an amazing woman, a Patron of TLP, and my mother. Carolyn Brewster is going to share with us her passion for this subject and give us some examples of how she parented my sister and I when it came to using our brains in a Christ-honoring way.
Don’t forget about our episode notes at Taking Back the Family, and leave us a rating, review, or recommendation on iTunes or Facebook to help spread the word about TLP.
Listen, our kids are zombies. They are sinners . . . but so are we. That’s nothing new, but God’s glorious Gospel is new, and it’s designed to make us new, and we’ve been tasked by God to help instruct, interpret, counsel, and train our kids in that glorious Gospel as we’re First Following God as His Ambassador to our family.
Isn’t that an awesome responsibility?!
I’ll see you next time.
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