How can the members of your family reflect the Trinity in your homes? Join AMBrewster as he explains stunning considerations for Christian parents as to how the nature and function of the Trinity can enhance the roles of the family.
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“Parenting Like The Holy Spirit" (episode 123)
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Hey, guys, I welcome you to another episode of Truth.Love.Parent. We’re just a few weeks away from publishing our 300th regular episode and celebrating our 3rd anniversary. That is so awesome!
I really didn’t have any expectations when I started this podcast, so I suppose it was easy to exceed them, but — if I’m being transparent — I don’t think I would have imagined that we would be where we are just three years in.
TLP is one of the highest ranked podcasts for Christian parents regardless of where you search or subscribe. This year alone we’ve been listened to in 65 countries, and — just to give you an idea of what that looks like — we have listeners in over 90% of North and South America! I think there are only about 12 countries in Central and South America where TLP has not been heard.
And that stewardship is not lost on me or TeamTLP. We understand the significant responsibility it is to faithfully apply God’s Word to our parenting.
And we absolutely love pouring into this podcast, TruthLoveParent.com, and our other parenting resources. But we acknowledge that there is still so much to do, there is so much potential for this ministry, and we are crazy excited to help TLP become your go-to place for all things Christian parenting.
So, please allow me to wax cliche for a moment: we could really use your help in becoming the premier resource for Christian parents. Like I said, this is a big job, and I see only two sustainable options. 1. We need more volunteers who can spread the workload so that no one person is overextending. 2. We need more Patrons and sponsors and supporters so we can start hiring staff for TeamTLP. That’s right, I said it, hiring staff.
But I think, right now, we need a strong mix of the the two. We need volunteers to join TeamTLP, and we need more Patrons like Johanna, Dave, Caryn, Lisa, Josh, Heatherly, Matt, Sonja, and the host of others who give each month.
If you’d like to see what it takes to sponsor and episode or become a Patron, just click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP" link in the description of this episode. And if you’d be interested in seeing the volunteer opportunities available, just send an email to TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com or click on the TeamTLP link in the description of this episode.
Two of the big projects on my mind right now is migrating our entire blog of three years to our Wordpress platform. We already have the blog, we just need volunteers to help us transition the articles so it’s all fresh and updated.
And I’m also interested in talking with Christians who’re passionate and experienced when it comes to biblical health and wellness and who would be interested in helping us build a website all about it.
I think that would be a fantastic resource for all Christian parents who want to learn how God — Who in addition to keeping us spiritually healthy — desires to keep us physically healthy. I really want to explore how the Creation Mandate can be practically lived out in our diets, exercise, and how we care for our bodies.
So, if you’re interested in some or all of that, we would love to talk to you.
Man, okay, that was exciting. Now let’s talk about something even more amazing. Let’s talk about how our families can mirror the Trinity and discuss the life-changing implications of that.
Now, I need to warn you. Some of the content of today’s episode may be controversial for some of you. We’re not sharing it to be controversial; we firmly believe the Bible is clear on these issues, but we acknowledge that not everyone who loves God will come to the same conclusions.
With that said, we invite you to listen to the whole episode, pray about it, read the passages, and at least give it some thought.
We’re honored to be trusted to speak Truth, and we want to be loyal to that Truth. We don’t tread recklessly here.
Alright, it should be no surprise to you long-time listeners that Christ-likeness is a huge parenting focus here at TLP. And that’s not controversial either. God didn’t just provide justification to free us from the penalty of sin, He provides sanctification to free us from the presence of sin!
One of my favorite passages for this is II Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
So, as we and our families submit to God and are being transformed into His image, we can expect there to be a number of consequences.
Now, if you’re new to the show, please know that we have free episode notes and transcripts at TruthLoveParent.com. Just look to the description of this episode for those links. And don’t forget to check us out on social media so you can redeem your newsfeed by filling it with well-curated, Christ-honoring parenting content.
One of the consequences of you being transformed into the image of Christ, is that your character should be becoming more like God’s. Now, I’m not Mormon, and I don’t believe anyone can be sinless this side of Heaven, and I don’t believe we’re currently in the Millennial reign of Christ — I just had to address those possible doctrinal misconceptions — but the Bible does say that born again believers should be conformed to the image of Christ. And since Jesus was and is God, then our conformity to His character means that our character should be more and more like His.
Now, lest we take the rest of this episode detailing the intricacies of the Trinity — which I’m not going to do — we do have to at least accept the fact that though each member of the Trinity is a unique person, They are all still one God.
I recently finished my Doctrinal and Counseling exams in order to become certified through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. One of the assignments in the Doctrinal Exam said “Explain the doctrine of the Trinity, and provide its biblical basis.”
I’ll include my one and a half page explanation in today’s show notes in case you’d like to see from where I’m coming on that topic, but I do want to at least acknowledge that “Though [God] is three persons in one being, it is impossible to separate the persons into disconnected entities. These three persons exist in one divine essence, are identical in nature, having the same attributes and perfections are equal in power and glory, and are worthy of all honor, worship, and adoration (Genesis 1:26; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 1:7; Hebrews 1:8).”
The main distinctions among the members of the Trinity relate to Their roles and functions, not Their natures. This means that conformity to the character of God the Son is also conformity to the character of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
But — in addition to the miraculous blessing of looking more and more like God — there are elements of our earthy roles that should imitate the members of the Godhead and Their unique responsibilities.
This is why we have an episodes called “Parenting Like The Holy Spirit.” There are facets of the Holy Spirit’s unique role that we parents should reflect.
So, imagine a household which — by the grace of God — is filled with people at every stage of their sanctification — a bunch of people who in one way or another are displaying the character of God.
Is it safe to say that while we take on the character of God, perhaps we should also take on the relational dynamics of God? I believe, yes.
When discussing the Trinity, it’s common to refer to His “economic arrangement.” Please allow me to quote one more time from my essay: “The Triunity of God maintains an economic arrangement for purpose of function and accomplishing the Divine decree. Within the economic arrangement the Father functions as the Head with the Son and Spirit in submission to Him (John 14:26; I Corinthians 11:3). The Father eternally generates the Son (John 5:26) and the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son (John 14:26; 15:26).”
And I believe it is in this way that our families need to mirror God. I believe when we can start appreciating our own God-given role and understand how filling that role actually exemplifies the image of God in us, our families will be a more dynamic spiritual powerhouse for God in our communities and our world.
Now, I have to admit that nowhere in Scripture are we explicitly commanded to reflect the Trinity within our families. This concept is a mere synchronization of two clear biblical facts:
Please allow me to illustrate this.
1. I believe, within the context of the family, Christian fathers should fulfill some of the unique roles of God the Father.
Let me just come right out and say it, dads, God expects you to be the head of your family.
Now, there are any number of unfortunate circumstances that complicate this. First, is the fact that not every family has a dad within the home either due to neglect or death.
Second, many families have men in the homes, but they are more than happy to not be the head.
And third, egalitarian theology has displaced God’s clear teaching on authority and headship.
Let’s touch on each of these briefly.
Number one, if there is no father in the home, you can know that you hold a very special place in God’s heart. Psalm 68:4-6 reads, “Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him!”
And then this is how that great God is described: "5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6 God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”
God is more than happy to fill in where the earthly father has left a void. Maybe one day we’ll discuss what that looks like in order to provide comfort for those on you in that situation, but for now be comforted knowing that God is your protector.
Number two, what happens when the man of the house isn’t being the man of the house? Perhaps he’s unsaved, or perhaps he’s not as mature as he should be.
Well, if you’re a husband and/or father listening to my voice, I loving charge you by the Word of God to get your act together. It is the men whom God tasks with the spiritual education and discipleship of the family, and He does it in both the Old and New Testaments.
There is no excuse.
Now, you may think that you’re not fit to do the job, and to that I say, nay, nay. If God has given you the job, He will equip you to do it. The best thing to do is to simply start. You don’t have to be perfect at it. You don’t have to always remember to do everything, but you must do something.
Too many women have been forced to mirror God the Father simply because the men aren’t doing their part. This is a sad and unacceptable reality in the church today. May God do a revival in all of us and help us to fill the work to which He’s called us.
On the other hand, if you’re a wife and/or mother listening today, and your husband is not mirroring God the Father in your home, you can do three things. First, you can encourage your husband to subscribe and follow along with this podcast. But, more importantly, you can pray for your husband and be an example of a woman who understands and fulfills the roles God has given her to do.
I Corinthians 7 tells us, “If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband . . . . For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”
Be who you’re supposed to be and trust God to do the rest.
And, number three, if you believe that the husband and the wife have coequal authority in the home, then there’s probably little I can do to dissuade you. You likely have read all the egalitarian authors who have, no doubt, done a convincing job.
But if you’re interested in why I believe the Bible does not support an egalitarian philosophy but does teach a complimentarian view, I will include my thoughts in today’s notes and at the end of today’s transcript.
Suffice it to say, Christ-honoring husbands and fathers will be the functioning head of their households as they mirror God the Father.
Now, there is so much more we could discuss on this point, but we must press on. Perhaps one day I’ll dedicate an entire episode to each of today’s three main points.
2. I believe, within the context of the family, Christian mothers should fulfill some of the unique roles of God the Son.
As with the fathers, I believe there are many intricacies of Christ’s role in the Trinity that we all can mirror and that the mother in particular can mirror in the home, but I only have time to focus on two of them.
First, God the Son functions in total submission to God the Father.
Now again, I understand that this point right here might cause some consternation. Some of you might believe you don’t have to submit, and some of you may rightly think that your husband is not a worthy authority.
But we must reflect on the fact that Ephesians 5:22, 24, and Colossians 3:18 all command wives to submit to their husbands without any consideration given to whether or not the husband is a good leader.
Now, God expects the husbands to be good leaders, and He’ll hold them accountable if they’re not. But just as God the Son submitted entirely to the will of the Father, so the wife has the grand role of submission to the husband.
And in the same way that Christ exalted the Father in the eyes of His followers, the wife is to exalt the positive attributes of the husband before the children.
I know this may seem easy if the husband is a godly man, but let me tell you that even women with godly husbands struggle to submit all the time because no man is perfect. The main point here is that we must obey God in all things. Your submission to your husband should not be rooted in your husband so much as it’s rooted in obedience to your God.
Before I move on to the second way wives can mirror Christ in the Trinity, I want to invite you to contact our TLP Counselors if you have specific questions as to how the Lord may want you submitting to the man in your life. It’s not easy; I’d never pretend otherwise, but then again obeying none of God’s commands in the right way for the right reasons ever is.
And the second way wives and mothers can mirror the second person of the Trinity is by accomplishing the will of the Father in the home.
Now, before you jump to any conclusions, allow me to explain.
A. Regardless of what the husband does, wives are to — first and foremost — accomplish the call of God the Father in the home.
In the same way Jesus proclaimed that He was here to fulfill the will of His Father Who was in Heaven, so you too (as are all Christians) have that as your primary calling.
B. Assuming the husband is not asking the family to sin, the wife should be the First Follower to accomplish what the husband has asked.
Wives are in an amazing place, just like Jesus was, to model obedience and zeal. When wives and mothers zealously endeavor to make sure the Christ-honoring expectations of the husband are met, they are instilling in their children an invaluable and necessary understanding of biblical authority and how God created the world to function.
And C. Wives have the express privilege of being the perfect member of the home to daily minister to the husband and children.
Though we live in a society where woman are encouraged to work outside of the home, where sometimes the wife feels like she has to work outside of the home, where children are sent to school for eight hours a day, and where the family is more of a bunch of roommates than they are biblical family, the biblical precedent is that women have been equipped to care for the needs of the family in the same unique way that Jesus was equipped to meet the needs of humanity.
Jesus was the one member of the Trinity to take on human flesh so He could live and die and rise again to purchase salvation. Also, while He was here, He ministered to His people in a unique way by healing them and preaching to them and casting out demons.
Mothers, your bodies were equipped by God to care for your infant children in a way that men’s were not. Wives were also given to their husbands to compliment and complete them.
These unique functions and the whole of human history are a tribute to the fact that if anyone is going to stay home so as to dedicate themselves to the intentional, premeditated discipling of her children, it just makes sense for it to be the wife and mother.
I believe the men of the house should do everything they can to make it possible for their wives to stay home with their newborns. I believe there is no higher calling than to engage in full-time, intentional, disciple-making. Why pay someone else to do that so you can make money? How about staying home and doing it yourself.
Now, please understand that I’m not saying it’s a sin for a wife and mother to work outside of the home. But I am saying that I believe our modern cultural philosophies concerning family are completely messed up and are at least partially to blame for the mess that is the family.
This is a much bigger topic than can be covered here, and I’d love to discuss it in more detail with your family, but we must move on to our last point.
3. I believe, within the context of the family, Christian children should fulfill some of the unique roles of God the Holy Spirit.
Please allow me to identify three of them.
First, children should live in submission to their father. This is evident. In the same way the Holy Spirit summits to the will of the Heavenly Father, so too should children submit to their earthly fathers in all that is Christ-honoring. I have to add that caveat because we’re all sinful; just bear in mind that I’m not saying children don’t have to obey unsaved or sinful parents. No, they have to obey everything their parents say unless the parent wants the child to do something that is a clear violation of Scripture.
Second, children should live in submission to their mother. Of the Holy Spirit Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 17:13-15).
In the same way they submit to and do the will of the their father, children need to obey their mothers. And, we need to really sink our teeth into this to appreciate it.
I know all this talk of submission and obedience is super-distasteful to the world, and maybe even to you because you’ve had authority figures who have hurt you. But, my friends, Jesus Christ — God of the universe — and the Holy Spirit — equally God of the universe — both submit to the will of the Father.
If there were ever an example of a being Who didn’t have to submit to anyone, you would think it would be God . . . but within the Godhead, He created a beautiful model of authority, headship, submission, and hierarchy all while maintaining perfect equality and unity.
Wives are not inferior to the husbands. Children are not inferior to their parents.
We’re simply called to mirror God, and therefore mirror the Trinity as we fulfill the unique roles God has given us.
This is a beautiful and holy calling. This should not be shirked nor fought. Ephesians 6:1 tells us, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right,” and Colossians 3:20 adds, “For this pleases the Lord.”
And finally, children should be an active testimony in this world.
Now, again, this is something in which all Christians should participate, but I think children are a beautiful picture of this. Dads need to be a testimony at work. Moms can be the same with everyone with whom they interact, but children are unique in that their parents work to equip them so they can be sent out.
Psalm 127:3-5 is a famous parenting passage that reads, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
Children are frequently compared to arrows that are shot out. They’re not retained like a sword or spear. They’re sent forth so they can leave their parents, cleave to their spouses, and start the process anew.
This is how the Holy Spirit functions. Theologically speaking, “The Father eternally generates the Son and together with the Son spirates (which means to make common the undivided essence) the Spirit who eternally proceeds from both the Father and the Son (Psalm 104:30; John 14:26; 15:26; Romans 8:9).”
In much the same way that Christ sent the Holy Spirit into the world to be a blessing and comfort to His people and conviction to the world, I hope we’re preparing our kids to have a similar testimony in the world.
Now, no one in our families is eternal or divine. But we are called to be like God, and it’s cool how the unique roles in the family mirror the beautiful and holy function of the eternal Godhead.
May we men be a fitting example of God the Father in our homes. May you ladies so bear the image of Christ that you beautifully exhibit Him in your lives. And may all you kids take upon yourselves the holy calling to function like the Holy Spirit in your homes.
It’s a gorgeous — honestly, unnecessarily controversial — Truth that’s worthy of full acceptation.
And it’s also worthy of a share. Please be a blessing to your friends and pass this one on.
And, of course, don’t forget to subscribe and join us next time when we dip into the Psalms to discuss “The Experience of a Righteous Parent.”
Talk about beauty . . . that episode will be so encouraging for all of you, regardless of whether or not anyone else in your family is even interested in the Trinity.
I love all of you. I mean that. I hope you know that. I hope you realize that even though most of us have never met, you are precious to me because you’re precious to God. I love you, and I love your families.
Thank you for trusting me to speak God’s Word into your parenting.
Let’s do it again next time.
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