What will your final words be to your kids? Join AMBrewster as he shares some fantastic final words to help Christian parents better understand what their daily parenting words should focus on.
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Welcome to Season 16 of Truth.Love.Parent. and Season 1 of the Celebration of God.
Whether you’re new to the show or you’ve been with us since the beginning, I strongly encourage you to subscribe to Truth.Love.Parent. for weekly parenting encouragement and challenge every Tuesday. And then subscribe to The Celebration of God for weekly instruction for how you can turn every day into a discipleship opportunity for your family. Those episodes post on Friday.
So, once on Tuesday and once on Friday every week you can have two opportunities to be challenged and sharpened in your parenting.
Today we’re going to be talking about a famous parent’s final words.
But before we do that, I thought I’d tell you a little about myself. Every ten episodes or so I like to include an interesting tidbit about myself. It’s never anything life-changing, but many you find it fun.
So, I’ve never been a swimmer. In fact, my wife and I have often discussed that if our kids were in an emergency situation in the water, it would be best for her to jump in and save them lest the kids and I find ourselves in an emergency situation in the water.
Well, after 40 years and multiple attempts to learn how to swim, there was a lightbulb moment for me this year.
I won’t go into all the details, but something clicked, and though I’m not planning to enter any competitions or become a lifeguard, I feel much more comfortable in the water than I ever did before.
It’s still not my favorite thing to do, and I have a lot of work before I’d be ready to save someone in an emergency situation, but I’m actually — for the first time — enjoying being in the water.
And, I think there’s a big overlap between my story and how some of you feel about parenting. You’re just not comfortable with it. You hold your own, your kids aren’t in mortal danger, but parenting hasn’t “clicked” for you.
Well, I don’t know if today’s show will be what you need to help you start feeling more comfortable in your God-ordained role as a parent, but TeamTLP and I definitely pray that Truth.Love.Parent. will be used by God to give you confidence in your parenting.
Of course, you’ll never have confidence in your parenting if you’re not doing it for God’s honor and glory, so let’s learn how to do that by getting in to today’s discussion.
And, as always, free episode notes and transcripts are available at TakingBackTheFamily.com.
The vast majority of believers are familiar with David . . . the man after God’s own heart.
They know about his confrontation with Goliath, they’ve heard about his interaction with Bathsheba, and they know that he wrote many of the Psalms.
But do you know what David’s final words were to his son Solomon?
How does a man after God’s own heart — a man who’s had many ups and downs in his life — how does he speak to his child on his deathbed?
What should be our final words? Or — better yet — what should be our daily words?
Let’s consider I Kings 2 verses 1-4, “As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2 “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. 3 Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, 4 so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’”
Now, the majority of us are not royalty, so obviously none of us are too focused on having any of our kids rule a country, but there are so many other fantastic truths with which we need to grapple.
How are these final words instructive to our parenting?
1. We need to be honest about who we are.
None of us are immortal. None of us are perfect. And yet so many parents try to interact with their kids as if they are. We promise we’re never going to leave our kids or let anything bad happed to them, we don’t confess our sins, and we don’t regularly communicate our need for Christ.
What we say — and far too often what we don’t say — sends all the wrong messages.
Instead, our children need to know that we are no different than they are. We’re frail, mortal, finite beings who have a sin nature and wrestle every day with the Flesh. The only significant differences should be our ages and the fact that we’re more submitted to loving and obeying God than they because we’ve had more practice.
David was honest with Solomon about the fact that he was going to die. He wasn’t pretending to be some immortal demi-god like many of the contemporary kinds of that time. He wasn’t calling for worship. He knew he needed to prepare his son for a time when he would be gone.
And that’s our second point.
2. We need to prepare our children for when we’re gone.
It’s not that big of a deal that — when they’re young — our kids rely on us for everything from eating to changing their clothes to wiping their behinds, but do we want it to always be like that?
Of course not, we want them to learn all of those skills and many more — and the sooner the better.
Whether we’re preparing our kids to be Christ-honoring adults long after we’ve “gone the way of all the earth” or we’re preparing them to make mature, Christ-honoring choices when we’re not around, our parenting should constantly be focused on teaching our kids to be independent of us.
Now, I’m not saying that our kids should be fully independent of us while we’re still alive, but one day — Lord willing — they will outlive us, and then we can say with all certainty that it’s God’s will for them to not need you anymore.
But I think too many parents like for their kids to be dependent on them. They like to have someone for whom to care. And they handicap their kids by not teaching them to be responsible and affluent and capable.
Just today my ten year old daughter was asking if she could learn to mow the lawn. In my mind, as long as she can start and push the mower, I’m all about her learning how to do it. And her brother — who’s been mowing the lawn for a few years now — was also happy to have the help.
So, Ivy mowed about 25% of the lawn. She did a great job, and there’s no reason she should be kept from at least learning to do it.
My kids wash the dishes, do the laundry, mow, weed-whack, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, garden, help with the bees, train dogs, and a plethora of other responsibilities — of which they have been doing many for years and year — because one day neither my wife nor I will be there to do it for them.
But that’s just a start. What about choosing to obey? What about choosing to love? How about desiring to read God’s Word, pray, and be a shining light to His Truth in love in this dark world?
My daughter may be able to go her whole life without ever mowing another lawn, but she can’t please the Lord for even a second without learning how to not lean on her own understanding and acknowledge God in all her ways. Right now she needs to be learning to deny herself, take up her cross, and follow Christ.
Whether we’re dead or in the next room, that’s something for which we need to prepare our kids.
3. We need to instill in our kids spiritual strength.
Of course, David was talking to Solomon, but is the command to “be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man” inappropriate for our girls?
Interestingly enough, the sentence could also be rendered, “be strong, therefore, and become who you were meant to be.” The word translated “show” is a unique word that often has the idea of becoming something, and the word translated “man” can be used indefinite individuals.
The point is, David is not necessarily calling Solomon to embody a litany of culturally-acceptable male-isms. He’s calling Solomon to become the man God wanted him to be. And we can equally call our daughters to become the women God has called them to be.
And we know exactly how David thought a man should live, because he explains it in his next breath.
But let’s review:
Let’s not wait until our deathbeds to be honest about who we are, to prepare our children for when we’re gone, and instill in our kids spiritual strength.
Let’s do that today?
And how do we instill in our kids spiritual strength?
4. We need to set our children up for success by expecting them to love God and — by natural extension — the Bible.
“Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn.”
Talk about overkill. David could have said “obey God by doing everything written in the Scriptures,” but instead he leaves no room for confusion or misinterpretation.
“Keep” is the word used for military guardsmen protecting something important. “To walk” in His ways is to follow His ordained path at all times in every facet of life. There is no room for turning back or stepping off the road.
Those are the verbs. Keep and walk. But listen to how David itemizes the Bible of his day.
He refers to God’s charge. This refers to the solemn duty as prescribed by a commanding officer.
Solomon was told to walk in God’s ways.
And the word “keep” comes back and is applied to God’s statutes, commandments, and ordinances which are understood to refer to the three portions of the Jewish Law. There were the ceremonial laws, the moral laws, and the judicial judgments. Some commentators debate whether each of these words referred to a specific portion of the law or if David was simply using them in conjunction to make it clear that none of the Scriptures should be ignored. Either way, he made his point well.
Testimonies likely refers to the written and visible evidences of God’s character and deeds.
And — for Solomon — all of this was encapsulated in the Law of Moses — which was specifically the first five books of the Old Testament.
And if Solomon could then succeed in all his ways with only five of the sixty-six books of the Bible we have, how much more prepared will our kids be if we call them to keep and walk in God’s Word.
And notice that this is not a simple request or hope or wish or desire. David is charging his son. The word “charge” means to appoint or command, to give an order or instruct. And his language leaves no room for misunderstanding. He didn’t say, “You mom and I would really like it if you chose to obey the Bible.”
No, he said, “Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses.”
That is a clear and simple imperative sentence. It was the expectation.
Listen, I’m starting Season 16 this way because we’re going to talk about some difficult and controversial things this season.
Your children are being faced — at nearly ever grade level — with heavy concepts that have disastrous spiritual and physical ramifications. Transgenderism, homosexuality, socialism, anarchy, abortion, pedophilia, cohabitation, racism, and the like are things American kids are facing on nearly a daily basis in the public schools and on social media.
And even if you kids aren’t in or on those arenas, they’re likely interacting with kids who are.
If anyone hopes to be able to come to right conclusions about any of these topics, they’re going to have be versed in the Bible. History has taught us over and over that no one comes to right conclusions about a single one of them without agreeing with God in one way or another.
Our world is in a tumult. Our children are being targeted in the womb and out of the womb. Demonic forces and the World System want to disciple your children to follow in their ways. Their own sinful flesh wants them to sacrifice their lives on the altar to self.
We can’t afford to wait until we’re on our death beds to charge our kids to love the Lord and walk in His will.
So, what does this practical look like?
Well, let’s review the points and apply them.
We must be honest about who we are, prepare our children for when we’re gone, and instill in our kids spiritual strength by expecting them to love God and — by natural extension — the Bible.
Well, the first way to practically live this out in your home is by revisiting the first point.
Are you honest with yourself about yourself? You desperately need God. You need Him just as mush as I do. But if you try to conquer the day without spending time with the Lord, if you dedicate hours and hours to games and sports and movies and cringe at the thought of giving God more than ten minutes a day, or if you make decisions based off your feelings or the cultural “wisdom” of the day, then you’re not being honest to yourself or your kids about your own need and about life in general.
The best way to instill in someone the important of a belief or practice is to wholeheartedly believe it yourself. Some of you have kids who root for admittedly poor teams simply because someone important in their life roots for that team.
Some of your kids want to major in a field about which their favorite teacher was passionate.
Your kids likely approach their family traditions the same way you do.
If you want your children to be spiritually strong, by all means charge them to love God and obey the Bible, but if you’re not going to do it yourself . . . don’t expect too much from your kids.
That’s the application for today. Read the Bible. Use the Bible. Speak of the Bible. Parent from the Bible. Make family decisions with the Bible. Make church a priority. Make discipleship the expectation for your family. Use The Celebration of God.
Then when you take the time to charge your kids to love God and obey His Word so that they may become the people God created them to be and have spiritual success in this world . . . they’ll already understand what that kind of lifestyle looks like, and they will likely have experienced some of the benefits as well.
I hope you’ll subscribe and listen to every episode this Season. It’s going to be a bumpy ride as we traverse the untamed wasteland of unregenerate thought, but we must do it if we’re going to teach our children how to do it when we’re not around.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets, and never hesitate to reach our for help at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or by calling (828) 423-0894.
Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ — that’s right — we must parent in the truth and love of God’s Word. And we must charge our kids to do the same.
To that end, join us next time as we look at “The Reality of Rebellion.”
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