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Hey, for those of you who recently started listening to Truth.Love.Parent., let me take a moment to introduce myself.
My name is Aaron; I have the privilege of being Johanna’s husband and Micah and Ivy’s dad.
We live and work at Victory Academy for Boys which is a boarding school for at-risk teens. Our ministry goal is to glorify God by lovingly presenting the truths of Scripture to families in crisis in order to impact each member’s heart, help them reconcile with each other, and strengthen their relationships with God.
And I am also the Executive Director of TLP — that’s Truth.Love.Parent. This podcast is only one of our parenting resources. You can visit TruthLoveParent.com to learn more about us and discover our other parenting tools. We even have email and video counseling services there as well.
I also travel and speak in churches and schools and camps and conferences. I absolutely love equipping dads and moms to be the parents God called and created them to be. I love helping families discover God’s will for their home lives. I love learning how God’s Word can impact everything we do in life, using it in my own home, and sharing it with you guys.
We also have an online community for Christian parents. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, and we have a closed Facebook group where moms and dads can ask questions, encourage each other, and bear one another’s burdens in prayer. If you go to TruthLoveParent.com and join the TLP Family, you will receive an access code to join that closed Facebook group.
Basically, everything TeamTLP and I do is dedicated to helping you become an intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Parent for God.
Thanks so much for letting us speak into your parenting. It’s a huge job. It’s challenging. It’s tiring. It can even be overwhelming, but God has everything we need for life and godliness, and it’s an honor to share that with you.
Now, I know this intro has been longer than usual, but I would be remiss to forget to thank Ryan and Kim for making today’s show possible. Their sacrificial gifts allow us to provide this free content. In fact, Kim is closely involved in helping me edit our first TLP e-Book about God’s cure for family strife.
There are so many people behind the scenes, and I praise God for each one of them. Whether it’s a dollar a month or a one-time gift or an encouraging email or a prayer on our behalf . . . it is cherished and beneficial.
You can click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP" link in the description of this episode to learn more about why listeners have chosen to partner with us.
Okay, let’s talk about what Parenting in Christ looks like.
Of course, we need to review.
The last two episodes described what it means to be in Christ. To be in Christ we must have faith and trust in who God is and what He’s done for us and what He’s doing for us.
That faith allows us access to peace with God, peace in ourselves, and peace with others.
And — even though it sounds like it would be very difficult to be at peace with your terrorist child — God provides the strength necessary to those who are in Him.
And all of this results in people who love to obey God and are growing in their submission.
So, how might this affect your parenting?
The examples and applications would be as diverse and unique as your daily parenting opportunities. In fact, the answers to that question is why we have a podcast with nearly 250 episodes to date. It’s a huge consideration with massive impact on our lives.
So, in order to narrow it for our purposes today, I’m simply going to target some of the passages that specifically use the terminology “in Christ.”
Today we’re going to talk about how being in Christ affects how we view ourselves.
How you view yourself is so important. So many of us are shackled by our perceived inadequacies and failures while others of us are too full of ourselves.
One of the most significant ways being in Christ affects our parenting is by starting at the foundation of who we are.
This is why our second episode is called “Why Is It Always About Me?”
Our home struggles are never just about the other people in our lives. God’s using every struggle and success to do a work you.
Before we can ever address the splinter in another’s eye, we must first look to the log in our own.
By the way, if I ever cite a previous episode, you can find an Apple Podcast link in the description of the current episode. That way you can simply click on it and be taken right to the episode.
So, let’s talk about how being in Christ affects how we view our parenting, and then next time we’ll see how it affects the way we treat our children.
How does being in Christ affect our parenting? It affects how we view ourselves.
And we’re only going to look at four passages with the rest of our time, but I want us to really grapple with what each of these realities means for our parenting.
The first verse we’re going study is II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
1. Parenting in Christ must be New Parenting.
If you’ve taken the first step to being a good parent by submitting to God and following Him, then you have a brand new trajectory for your life.
This means that your parenting should be categorically opposite from the following two kinds of parenting:
A. Your parenting should be completely different from the parenting of unbelieving parents.
I John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life have no place in our parenting if we’re Parenting in Christ.
Does this mean that unsaved parents will never do the same types of things that Christians should do? Of course not. Both will read books to their children. Both will feed their kids.
But, like we learned in the “Teach Your Children to Obey” series, true obedience is doing the right thing in the right way for the right reasons.
Our parenting should be diametrically opposed to the world’s parenting because we should be doing what we do for completely different reasons.
But, not only should your parenting be different from the world’s . . .
B. Your parenting should be completely different from what you naturally want to do.
It’s easy to judge the world and find numerous examples of parenting trends in which you would never participate, but you also have to realize that if you were unsaved, your parenting wouldn’t be any more Christ-honoring than theirs.
It’s not about what you do, it’s why, and God has made you a new creation. The old parenting ways must pass away and the new must come.
That means that if we’re in Christ, we must deliberately and regularly evaluate our parenting in order to determine if we’re falling back into our “old man” ways.
Ephesians 4:21-24 reads, “Assuming that you have heard about [Christ] and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Paul assumes that if we’ve heard the Gospel and been taught about Him, we’re obviously going to follow Him. I love that.
Second, he says that being a child of God must change us so that our sinful motivations (those deceitful desires) are thrown away from us.
And then we need to put on the new self which is a direct reflection of God’s righteousness and holiness.
So, this concept is that when we’re born again we will parent differently than we would have parenting when we were unsaved.
But, since we still carry our sin natures within us, the temptation to parent in the flesh — the way we would if we were worshipping ourselves instead of God — is still a very real temptation.
So first, Parenting in Christ looks like the opposite of worldly parenting. It should be new.
We’re working on a page at TruthLoveParent.com that collects all of our episodes concerning sinful parenting styles. It’s not up yet, but if you’re listening to this in the future, you should check it out. Those episodes were designed to help us know who we’re not to be.
But before we move on, let’s try to get more practical.
A. Pretend for a minute that God doesn’t exist. If the evolutionists and atheists are right, then what do you want for your kids? A good job? Money? Fame? Power? Control? Skills?
We must acknowledge that any goal an unsaved parent could have for their children can never compare to the most beautiful calling God has for our kids.
B. This New Man Parenting stands at odds with sin and the world and flees sinful responses. Sinful anger, depression, fear, impatience, hate, anxiety, worry, and doubt have no place in our homes.
But there’s more to how we should view ourselves in Christ. What does “new” look like? Let’s get more specific.
I Thessalonians 2:14 says, “For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea.”
2. Parenting in Christ Imitates Christ.
The new — the parenting that is categorically opposed to worldly, fleshly parenting — obviously looks like Christ. It’s the very definition of Ambassador Parenting.
III John 1:11 reads, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.”
Every time we’re commanded to imitate something in the New Testament, the obvious implication is that we’re imitating that which most closely resembles Christ.
And the Bible is where we learn who Christ is. And applying Scripture to our parenting is the goal of TLP.
But our Parenting in Christ isn’t merely that it’s new and seeks to imitate Christ.
We must view ourselves as more than children flattering God with inaccurate imitations. In order to view roles correctly, we must understand that . . .
3. Parenting in Christ Requires that We Be Captured by Christ.
In Philemon 1:23, Paul write, “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you.”
Paul and Epaphras understood that their relationship with God was far more than a personal desire to gain a new life by imitating the better parts of God.
At Victory Academy we get many boys who outright reject God’s teaching and others who embrace it whole-heartedly.
But from time to time there are boys who want all the good things God has to offer without all the humbling and serving and submitting.
But those boys never fare well because the benefits and blessings of being a child of God don’t happen just because we adopt a new way of living. The blessings are tied to the behavior, but the behavior must be rooted in and empowered by a personal relationship with God.
God won’t be used. He won’t be duped by a facade — a counterfeit righteousness.
If we’re going to try to gain the blessing of Parenting in Christ without truly submitting our selfish motivations to God’s perfect will by merely outwardly impersonating righteous living, we will never succeed. In fact, we’ll fail even worse than we could imagine.
But when we realize that we’ve been captured by our Creator, that we’re willing prisoners of God who joyfully submit to His boundaries and regulations, we are in the right relationship with God.
I must reach out to Matthew 5 again. Jesus explained all of this at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. We must humbly submit to God in order to be able truly hunger and thirst after righteousness that is deeply motivated by God’s glory.
“But Aaron, you’re describing slavery. Imprisonment is something people try to escape. How can Parenting in Christ be compared to bondage?”
In episode 172 we discussed the Truth that sets us free, and the rest of Season 7 dealt with the liberation that comes from submission to God.
And that’s our final point for today.
Parenting in Christ should change us because we start to view ourselves biblically.
4. Parenting in Christ Sets Us Free.
Now, what I’m about to say won’t sound too liberating, but stick with me.
We must acknowledge that we will always be in bondage to something.
The sin nature lies to us by trying to convince us that A. We deserve to be masterless, and B. That it’s possible to be masterless.
This was Satan’s delusion. This was Adam and Eve’s delusion. This is our screaming toddler’s delusion.
We are created beings. We will always be indebted to our Creator, our Master.
Romans 10:9 reads, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The word translated “Lord” means “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding.” It means He’s the master, possessor and disposer of everything, the owner, one who has control.
We can either submit to God or fight Him in delusional autonomy. But Truth will win in the end.
Philippians 2:10-11 says, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
That’s every knee — the knees of those who submitted to Christ in this life and the knees of those who fought Him.
The problem is not that we will either be enslaved to sin and death or God, the problem is how we view our dependance.
Those who view their dependance on God as wrong and uncomfortable and hazardous and debilitating are missing the beautiful fact that the Truth sets us free.
Consider Galatians 2:4-5 — “Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.”
You see, those who reject God’s Lordship try to spy out our freedom in Christ so that they may try to convince us that we aren’t free, and try to enslave us once again to the lie that we either don’t have a master or that our master should be someone other than God.
But we are free.
Obedience to God is the most beautiful freedom you will ever experience. Heaven will be glorious in part because we’ll be able to perfectly worship God in total freedom . . . freedom the way it was intended to be experienced . . . in perfect submission to our Creator.
If you’re in Christ then you have freedom in Him. You’re free to parent in a new way the world could never begin to understand. You’re free to imitate Christ. You’re free to be His prisoner.
Parenting in Christ looks different from parenting out of Christ. Is this how you view yourself?
If not, I would encourage you to reevaluate your relationship with Him. If you aren’t His child, will you embrace the glorious freedom that is yours in a true relationship with Him?
If you are born again, I admonish you to understand what it looks like to Parent in Christ.
Please share this episode with other dads and moms who need to view themselves differently.
And join us next time as we look at the second part of what Parenting in Christ looks like. Today we saw that it affects how we view ourselves, and next time we’ll see how it affects how we treat out kids.
Parenting in Christ is godly, not worldly. It’s selfless, not selfish. Can you even imagine what this kind of parenting looks like?
Well, to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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