Does your parenting feel pointless? Do you sometimes wonder if anything you do matters? Join AMBrewster today as he helps Christian parents discover how to make their parenting count . . . no matter what.
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Listen to the following episodes on Apple podcasts by clicking the titles.
“What is Successful Parenting?” (episode 87)
“Train Your Child to Stay with God” (episode 94)
“Teach Your Children to Obey” series (episode
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It’s very likely that most of the people who hear this episode won’t be listening at the beginning of a new year.
So, whether this is January 1st, 2019, or October 11th, 2062, God has one goal in mind for all of us and our families — He’s actively working toward our change. Any time is a good time to choose to follow God and be conformed into the image of His Son.
And that’s what Season 9 is all about — Fresh Starts.
This Season we’re going to talk about how to start the process of change. How does a Dictator Parent take the first steps to becoming an Ambassador Parent?
Of course, topics like these are huge, and we’ll never have enough time in a fifteen minute show to discuss it all, but we will be able to look into enough Scripture and consider enough practical applications to get the ball rolling.
And even when it seems that everyone in your family is fighting the maturity God wants to work into them, there’s still hope.
And that’s what today’s episode is about.
But before we jump into that, I want to share our newest review. Her Apple ID is Mrs-C-L-E-A and she wrote, “I honestly can’t say enough good things about this podcast. As a homeschooling mom of four who wasn’t raised in a very biblically-minded household, I’m always looking for parenting resources and advice. Parenting advice abounds everywhere, but finding advice that is actually and truly based in Scripture can be near impossible. I truly appreciate that this podcast continually points me to [my] and my children’s fallen condition as sinners in need of a Savior, and doesn’t disappoint in reminding me of the Gospel’s solutions — all in very practical terms and with helpful examples. Thank you so much TeamTLP for encouraging parents and their children in godly wisdom.”
That one line — “this podcast continually points me to [my] and my children’s fallen condition as sinners in need of a Savior, and doesn’t disappoint in reminding me of the Gospel’s solutions” — so beautifully describes our goal on this podcast.
Thank you for saying it so wonderfully.
I believe with all my heart that if we have anything helpful to say, it will come from the Bible. And that’s what people like Ray and Carolyn think too.
They were our first monthly supporters, and — I promise you — they wouldn’t give so sacrificially every month if God were not the cornerstone of this program.
May the Lord grant us the wisdom and integrity to stay the course and to faithfully interpret His Word as we apply it to our families.
If you’d be interested in reviewing this show or learning more about what it means to be a Patron, please check out the links in the description. They will point you to the information you desire.
Alright, let’s discover how to keep our parenting from being in vain.
When most people hear the word “vain,” they imagine someone who is stuck on himself. The first definition in Merriam-Webster is “having or showing undo or excessive pride in one’s appearance or achievements.”
However, the second and third definitions read, “marked by futility or ineffectiveness” and “having no real value.”
And this is the meaning we’re intended to understand when Solomon proclaims, “Vanity of Vanities, all is vanity.”
Have you ever felt like your parenting was in vain? Has all your work and time and money seemed empty and futile?
Have you ever felt like it doesn’t matter what you say or do, it’s not going to work out?
Well, then you’re human.
Unfortunately, I can’t promise you that your parenting hasn’t been in vain.
Now, I know, the title of today’s episode is “Your Parenting is Not in Vain.” And I desperately want that to be true for you. But’s it’s not a guarantee.
Therefore, my hope for today is for us to understand what vain parenting is and what it’s not, to learn what makes it vain, and to discover how to give our parenting significance no matter what.
So, let’s start with our first point.
1. What is vain parenting?
I think it’s easy for people to feel like their parenting was pointless when their kids don’t turn out the way they want them too.
And the problem is, they may be right. But, whether we parented correctly or not, the success of our parenting has nothing to do with how our kids turn out.
Does that surprise you?
I want to give you some LifeWork today.
If you’re new to the show, LifeWork is way better than homework because no one likes homework, but everyone wants a better life.
Also, since we only have a limited amount of time, during every show I try to give you other resources that will expand or compliment the current episode.
Normally, I have a list of suggested podcasts episodes to consider, but today I’m going to tell you that — even if you’re already heard the two episodes I’m going to assign — you really need to listen to them.
Let’s start the New Year off right. If we don’t truly understand what I’m about to say, then our parenting is very much in danger of being futile, vain, empty, and worthless.
And I don’t want that for you.
Here’s your additional study today.
In episode 87 we answer the question “What is Successful Parenting?” That episode is only 11 minutes long, and it will give us a solid foundation for this first point.
Successful parenting is not having children that turn out the way we want them too.
Let me say that again, successful parenting is not when your children become everything you ever wanted them to be.
I’ll even go a step further and say that successful parenting is not when your children turn out to be everything God wants them to be.
We have no control over our children. If the value of our parenting were wrapped up in our kids’ performance, then we would have to conclude that God’s not a very successful God.
Yeah, that’s right.
Most of His creation has rejected Him. Even His chosen people crucified Him. And how many in His church actually follow Him the way they should?
So, listen to “What is Successful Parenting?” when this episode is over in order to really, biblically understand what I’m saying here.
And the second part of your LifeWork is to listen to episode 94. It’s called, “Train Your Child to Stay with God.” That episode shows the flip side of this concept. It unwraps the only was we can ever hope to have our children turn out the way God wants them too. That episode is extremely valuable on its own, but it adds an additional layer to this study because it too demonstrates that your children will not follow after God simply because you did your part.
Remember, whether you’re heard those episodes already or not, you’re only going to benefit from starting the New Year off with those Truths fresh in your mind.
So, we need to start with the understanding that your parenting is not necessarily in vain if your kids don’t turn out right.
Now, vain parenting may be part of what motivates your kids to reject God, but you won’t be judged by their rebellion.
That means that vain parenting — or inversely, successful parenting — rests solely on your shoulders.
Number 1, vain parenting occurs when I do wrong and has nothing to do with the actions of my children.
That right there should give you hope.
But we still need to identify what causes vain parenting.
2. What makes my parenting vain?
For this answer, we need to consider I Corinthians 15:58. This is what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Isn’t encouraging?! This church was being told by Paul that they could know their labors had not been futile.
What can we learn from this passage?
Well, the verse starts with a “therefore,” so we need some context in order to understand what the “therefore” is there for.
Chapter 15 starts with the resurrection of Christ. That’s super encouraging. I’d say that the resurrection is far more important than His birth or His death, because without Christ’s resurrection, His birth and life and death would have been in vain.
Then the emphasis of the chapter moves to the resurrection of the dead. This is even more encouraging.
Because Christ rose from the dead, we can have confidence that our death will not be the end either.
And then Paul talks about the resurrection of the body.
This is abundantly amazing because not only are His children not going to remain dead, and not only are they going to be raised, they’re going to be raised with glorified bodies that are free from sin!!
Isn’t that amazing!
So then the chapter ends with a victorious proclamation concerning the mystery of God’s power and grace.
And that’s the context that ends with, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Because our God reigns supreme over life and death we can know that our labor need not be in vain — even when facing the end of our lives.
But in order to answer the question, “What makes my parenting vain?” we need to look at the last part of the verse.
“Knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Can you describe your parenting as being “in the Lord”?
As we answer our third question today, we’re going to crack open what it means to parent in the Lord. But later this Season we’re going to have a whole series called “Parenting in Christ.”
I am so looking forward to that study. I believe it will be powerful and life-changing.
As we move to our third question for the day, let’s review.
So, 3. How do we give our parenting significance no matter what?
In order to answer this question, let’s pick apart the verse some more.
Let’s start at the end, and then wrap around to the beginning.
First, we see that the only way our parenting won’t be in vain is if we’re parenting in the Lord.
“In the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
This means two thing. It means that we must — number one — have a relationship with God. The whole chapter rests on that premise.
Number two, it means that our work — our parenting — must be accomplished in God’s way.
This should remind long-time listeners of our “Teach Your Children to Obey” series.
True obedience in doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason in the right power.
We can’t claim to be parenting in the Lord if we’re not parenting the way He commands for the reasons He commands in the power He provides to accomplish it.
So, how does one parent in the Lord?
Well, defining that question is pretty much the entire purpose of Truth.Love.Parent. We want to immerse ourselves in God’s Word in order to know, understand, believe, and put into practice God’s Truth in God’s love in our parenting.
However, Paul highlights four essentials to parenting “in the Lord.”
1. As I already mentioned, we must be born again.
Paul refers to his audience as “brothers.” There are members of the body of Christ, joint heirs of His kingdom because they have put their full faith and trust in His saving work on the cross and subsequent resurrection.
Dear parent, are you born again?
If not, your parenting will be in vain.
Even if your children turn out well, your parenting will have been futile because it will have failed to glorify your Creator.
2. God calls us to be steadfast.
This Greek word is an interesting one. It’s used all over the New Testament in various ways because it can mean something as simple as “to be,” but it can also refer to being finished, coming to pass, and continuing.
Here, the translators have determined that Paul is calling us to remain steadfast. Merriam-Webster defines “steadfast” this way: “firm in belief, determination, or adherence.”
Dads and moms, we need to be firm in our love for and fealty to Christ.
But we must not merely be firm.
One could say that a tree is rooted firmly in the ground, and yet a strong enough storm may unearth it.
This is why, 3. God commands us to be immoveable.
This word is only used once in the whole of the Bible, and it refers to something that cannot be moved from its place.
Are you the type of person who’s not only rooted on God’s Truth, but from which you refuse to budge?
When it comes to man’s opinion or God’s perfect Word, where do you stand?
Have live experiences caused you to doubt what the Bible teaches us about God?
Are you willing to substitute Truth because your kids begged, terrorized, or otherwise manipulated you into it?
In order to have valuable, successful, significance in our parenting, we must be resolute.
And lastly, 4. God requires that we always abound in the His work.
There are three important facets to this.
As always, we must take special note when God uses superlatives. He said “always,” not “sometimes” or “most of the time.”
Second, He calls us to abound. This word refers to being in excess, superabounding to point of superfluousness.
And third, we’re to always be overachieving in what? — in the work fo the Lord.
We have no promise that our parenting will not be in vain if we’re not working according to His purposes.
This should remind us of Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Mom and dad, can your parenting be defined as the work of the Lord?
Are we consistently excelling in parenting the way God outliners in His Word?
If so, then we can rest assured that our parenting will not be in vain.
Do you see how these four elements work together?
It starts with a relationship with God, then it moves to the natural reality that our lives will be rooted in the person with Whom we have the relationship. Then it shows us the necessity of completely cementing ourselves in God’s Truth. And the natural outcomes of such a relationship is that we will be doing God’s work.
And it ends with the promise that all who do the work of the Lord can know that their work was not in vain.
As we enter this New Year, I want to leave you with a challenge and hope-crammed encouragement.
The challenge is this — parent in a valuable, worthwhile, successful way. Parent the way God has called you, created you, and empowers you to parent.
Continue studying His Word and growing closer to the image on His Son. And whether or not you use this podcast in that process, stay true to His revealed will for your family.
That’s the challenge.
And — if you take the challenge — here’s the hope — you can know that when you parent in the Lord, you work will not be in vain.
It will bear fruit.
Now, it may not bear the fruit you desire in your children, but — remember — the divine measure of your parenting will be how well it submitted to the Bible.
God-loving, God-fearing mom and dad, continue to know God better, continue to trust and obey Him, and your parenting will not be in vain.
Last year this podcast was listened to in 77 countries.
Please share this episode. Please help us extend our reach.
We praise God for ever family touched by TLP, and we invite you to introduce our ministry to your pastors, your friends, your family, and any parent whom the Lord causes to cross your path.
And — if you’re new to us — please know that all of our episode notes and show transcripts are completely free and available to you at our blog, Taking Back the Family. You can find the link in the description of today’s — and every — episode.
And please join us next time when we start “How Do you Start Being?” series.
After listening to today’s episode, you may be wondering what you have to do to start being a Christian.
Maybe you’re wondering what it takes to start being steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Those are amazing questions, and I want to try to answer them for you. This series is going to be at least 9 episodes long and will cover everything from how to have a relationship with Christ to how to start being a disciple-making parent.
In fact, we’re going to walk word by word through our tagline and the Parent’s 5 Jobs.
We’re going to discuss — in-depth — how to start being an intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Parent who teaches, interprets for, counsels, and trains their children.
I hope you’ll join us.
Also, let’s start the New Year right by following us on social media. It’s a great way to receive well-curated articles to help you in the process of parenting in the Lord.
And you can also reach out to our counselors by sending an email to Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com. It’s a free service we offer to help you out in any way that we can.
We know that each family is different, and you may have some questions about how to apply a certain concept in your unique family situation.
My friends, your parenting doesn’t need to be in vain, and we want to help you with that.
So, to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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