TLP 424: Children and Family | the biggest parenting challenges you will face, Part 7
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Thank you for returning for Part 7 of “The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face” series.
Each of the episodes have built on the last, so — if you haven’t heard them — be sure to listen to them in order. In the first episode we talk about the one parenting challenge that’s at the root of all the others. That means that truly understanding that challenge and then daily parenting your kids to overcome that challenge is going to be the best way for you to overcome any of the parenting challenges you’re going to face.
The root challenge is an issue of Security. From there we now understand why technology, autonomy, authority, morality, and sexuality are such problems.
In fact, compared to some of the things we’ve discussed, today’s topic may seem very mild. However, today’s topic is anything but mild; I would argue that God is passionately vehement about today’s theme.
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Alright, let’s talk about how the topic of family can be one of the biggest parenting challenges you will ever face.
The book of Genesis is amazing in so many ways, but one of the things that I love about it is that it contains all of the most basic truths we need to teach our children.
On my interview with Ken Ham, Ken does a great job of explaining this position in more depth. You should check that out.
But the importance of Genesis is so vital for parenting that while I was working at Victory Academy for Boys, I always dedicated the first semester of morning devotions to working through the entire book of Genesis. All of the most important foundation stones are addressed or introduced in that book.
Well, of all of the topics in Genesis, one of the very first is the idea of family.
Please remember that the family unit was created before government and even organized religion. The only things created before the family were the individual, his personal relationship with God, and work.
That’s not to say that your job is more important than your family, though.
God created the family for many reasons we’ll discuss today, and that’s why Satan is fighting it so hard.
So we’re going to work through our list of parenting challenges once again to see how our kids will be tempted to want to redefine the family, and then we’re going to talk about what the family is and how the world attacks it.
1. From Security to Family
If your children believe that it’s their responsibility to achieve safety and satisfaction for themselves, then they will use all of the technology at their disposal to gain more and more of it. The more fleshly pleasure they gain for themselves, the more they will believe they are autonomous and tempted to throw off any authority they do not want in their lives. Once they believe they are the ultimate authority in their lives, they will have the right to define morality however they choose. That means only they can say which of the topics of sexuality are right for them — how they dress, how they identify themselves, how they view romance, how they physically interact with people, and the sexuality in which they get to engage.
And once they redefine sexuality, they must give new meaning to the most basic human relationship structure of the family.
The moment sexuality gets reorganized then family can mean whatever I want it to mean. From there on out “family” can refer to the three grown men and two children that a California judge recently recognized as a family. It can be a man pretending to be a woman married to a woman pretending to be a man. It can mean absolutely anything. In fact, when you redefine sexuality, you have to redefine the family.
If your kids come home from school with aberrant ideas of the family, you know that its roots are in the child’s understanding of security.
When your elementary schooler doesn’t want to obey mommy or daddy, it’s due to a redefinition of the family.
That may be hard to believe, but stick with me.
2. God’s Plan for the Family
I’m starting this list with the most obvious and moving to the most significant.
A. The Family is Necessary for Procreation.
God, in His perfect wisdom, decided that men and women would need to have a sexual relationship in order to create new human beings.
What’s funny is that this foundational truth is accepted by even the most liberal, God-hating people. Yes, they will claim that men can give birth too (which — of course — is unscientific hogwash), but until cloning humans is viable and legal, they have to acknowledge that it will require a genetic male and a genetic female to procreate.
Why did God do this? We’ll talk about this more in a minute.
B. The Family is Necessary for Physical Survival.
Yes, it’s necessary for the survival of mankind, but it’s also necessary for the survival of each individual.
Humans are born completely dependent and would die days after birth if not for biological or adopted family.
But even as we age we’re dependent on each other for survival. True, there are people who live in Alaska or the jungles of South America who believe they don’t need other human beings, but those people are few and far between. And the truly ironic thing about them is that most of them wear clothes and use tools made by other people. And even the one that go completely native reached adulthood because of other people and are currently living off the skills they learned from other individuals.
So . . . yeah, they need people too.
And why did God create us so interdependent on each other? We’re getting there.
C. The Family is Necessary for Spiritual Survival.
In the same way that we come into this world completely ignorant, we also come into this world spiritually dead. Yes, God’s existence and awesomeness and love can be seen in creation, but we blind humans always misinterpret what we see. So, the only way to have spiritual life and grow in it is to by shown God’s truth by another and discipled by them.
God designed the nuclear family and the church family to be absolutely vital parts of our spiritual growth.
But why did He do this? We’re almost there.
D. The Family is Necessary for Men and Women to be Complete.
It is not good that man should be alone. So God created a completer for him.
Is it a sin if you don’t get married? No. But it’s also not a sin to be born without an arm either. It’s not a sin to lose a leg to a shark.
It’s not a sin to be incomplete, but it’s also not optimal.
We live in a broken world, so — just like there are people who are physically incomplete — there will be people who are relationally incomplete.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t have peace and happiness and joy and contentment and gratitude. In the same way that God provides those things for amputees, He provides them for single individuals. You can glorify God and live a deliriously amazing life single, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that only in marriage can men and women be relationally complete.
Even that marriage won’t complete them perfectly, but it’s closer to God’s original plan.
And why did God create it this way? He could have created us in an infinite number of ways, and yet He chose marriage and procreation and dependence. Why?
E. The Family is a Physical Picture of our Spiritual God.
And here we are. This point should answer nearly all of our questions about why God ordained the family.
1. The family structure mirrors God’s relationship with Himself in the Trinity.
I love the incomprehensible nature of the Trinity. Its existence is a glorious truth we can’t explore right now, but we can celebrate it.
Understand this . . . the Trinity does not represent an egalitarian relationship structure. It clearly represents a complementary hierarchical structure.
The Holy Spirit submits perfectly to Jesus and the Father, and Jesus submits perfectly to the Father. And yet the Holy Spirit is no less God than Jesus Who is no less God than the Father.
It’s beautiful, it’s fathomless, and yet it’s directly applicable to our families.
God expects the children to submit to the mom and dad, and He expects mom to submit to dad. Yes, both parents and all of the children are unique and completely human, but within the family dynamic, each has a responsibility that only they can fulfill.
Authority is a divine reality, and the family was created — in part — to illustrate the spiritual reality of God.
2. The husband and wife’s relationship mirrors God’s relationship with the Church.
Ephesians 5:22-33 is the best passage in Scripture to illustrate this point. God created marriage to be a physical representation of the glorious heavenly reality that God desires to have a relationship with us.
And the standard to which our human marriages are to rise is the perfect marriage relationship of God and His people into eternity.
Men, you are responsible for loving your wife. And one of the biggest parts of that responsibility involves washing her with the water of God’s Word in the same way Christ sanctifies the church.
Ladies, you are responsible to submit to your husband’s spiritual leadership and respect Him as the church does with Christ.
3. The process of procreation is a physical representation of how we gain spiritual life.
In John 3 Jesus explains to Nicodemus the nature of being born again.
Though pregnancy and birth have been marred by the curse of God due to the Fall of Man, it still represents important realities concerning spiritual birth.
We are completely dependent on God for spiritual life in the same way no child ever was conceived of its own power.
We are completely dependent on God for spiritual growth in the same way no child grows in the womb because of anything they do. Of course, this is only one side of our sanctification. We are responsible to participate in our sanctification, but that physical representation of that occurs after physical birth. And that leads us to our next point.
4. The fact that we need our physical family to survive physically is a picture of the fact that we need our spiritual family to thrive spiritually.
It’s amazing to me how many Christians are trying to survive this life barely attached to their local body of believers.
Going to church, listening to a sermon, singing songs, and going home is the equivalent of a child trying to survive by having a once a week conversation with his parents. And that’s it. He does’t live in the home, he doesn’t benefit from his parents’ finances, he doesn’t eat their food, he doesn’t have their physical affection . . . once a week he talks with them for about an hour at a coffee shop.
The rest of the week the kid is finding his own shelter, scavenging his own food, making other relationships with people outside of the family to scrape by.
The dependence a child has on his parents for everything in his life is a living metaphor for the Christian’s dependence on fellow believers.
I’m planning a study on the One-Anothers in the New Testament because I am painfully aware of how most of them are being daily neglected by God’s people, and the church and the individuals in the church are suffering greatly because of them.
But God gave us a very important picture for what our church life should be like . . . we are dependent on each other just like the family members are dependent on each other.
And lastly . . .
5. Men and women’s dependence on each other for completion is a physical representation of our ultimate dependence on God.
Husbands need their wives in order to achieve their highest good.
Wives need their husbands in order to achieve their highest good.
In the same way that men need their wive’s help, Christians need God’s help in all things. And in the same way women need to submit to the leadership of their husbands, Christians need to submit to the leadership of God.
Of course, there are so many other correlations between the physical family and the spiritual. For example, fostering and adoption have gorgeous parallels.
But we must get to our last point in order to understand why the definition of family is a parenting challenge for absolutely every Christian parent.
3. How the World is Attacking the Family
To finish off our episode today, I have five ways Satan, the World, and the Flesh attack God’s plan for the family.
We’re going to move from the more historical attacks to the more contemporary attacks.
A. Dad is the Boss.
For thousands of years men have sinned against God, their families, communities, and nations, and the world has experienced the destructive consequences of men who thought they were the boss of their families.
Guys, you’re not the boss. God is.
You’re simply the First Follower in your home. Episode 7 is called “Stop Being the Leader!” And it’s required listening for dads and moms. You can find a link to it in the description.
Bosses determine the direction. Bosses determine the culture and behavior. Leaders lead other people in the right direction regardless of whose direction it is.
So, no, dads, you shouldn’t be the boss of your homes. If you believe you should, or if you’re functioning like you are, you’re believing a lie.
What’s the difference between a boss and leader of your home? Bosses are trying to achieve their own expectations, but leaders follow Christ’s expectations and lead their families to do the same.
Well, after thousands of years of bossy dads, “parenting experts” tried to convince us that . . .
B. Children are the Boss.
Once again, no human being should be the boss of the family, but the ignorance and stupidity of anyone who would pretend like the adults in the family need to submit their parenting to the people who can neither use a toilet correctly nor have any functioning skills that could help them survive the world is completely beyond me.
Children are to submit to and obey their parents. That’s God’s plan.
But here’s the thing. Every time a child definitely says “No” or sneakily disobeys or anything in between, they are redefining how the family should work.
Because of their own foolish crusade for their own satisfaction, in their autonomy and rejection of authority, they are functioning off the delusion that they get to tell mommy and daddy what to do.
You see, regardless of the age of your kids, Family is going to be a daily parenting challenge in your home.
Your children need to learn about God’s expectations for leadership in the home, and they need to trust God that His way is best.
Fast-forward a little bit, and the society started telling us that . . .
C. Mom is the Boss.
Now, to be fair, other countries have been preaching this for decades. And in America there has been a silent undercurrent of this thinking. “The husband may be the head, but the wife is the neck,” type of thinking perfectly betrays this.
But — if we’re being perfectly honest — the temptation to this started at the Fall. Eve wanted to be the one in charge, she wanted to do her own thing, and God prophesied that women would — from then on — struggle with the temptation to usurp her husband’s authority in the home.
And — unfortunately — many men are more than willing to abdicate their authority.
It’s just as sad and destructive as dads or the kids being the boss of the home.
Now, it is true that wives and mothers should be leaders. But in the same way the husband must be following Christ and leading everyone else in the same direction, the wife should be following Christ and leading the children in the same direction.
And yes, the children should be leaders too. But they’re not leading their parents, in a healthy family they should be leading each other in following their parents as they follow Christ.
But there’s another lie that Satan, the World, and the Flesh foist on us.
D. Anyone Can Marry Anyone.
We won’t spend too much time on this one, but it’s a growing issue forcing its way into nearly every facet of our lives.
Your children will one day be influenced by someone who believes that marriage is not one man and one woman for one life. Whether it’s a proponent of sinful divorce or same-sex unions or polygamy or whatever else, your kids will needed to be grounded in God and His Word in order to overcome this temptation to want to redefine the family structure.
And finally . . .
E. The Family is Dangerous and Needs to be Deconstructed.
Most recently the radical left has been promoting a completely anti-family sentiment designed to destruct any familial concept entirely. In their minds, the “world village” is the smallest acceptable way to group individuals.
But this too runs contrary to God’s revealed will. And it makes sense why. The World system is growing more and more wicked. They want their autonomy, they want to be their own authority, so they can’t stand the idea that anyone would have to submit to stupid parents.
Their arguments are infantile, illogical, and so incredibly destructive, but they argue it anyway because they believe it will make people happy.
Thank you for your patience today.
I hope you have a better understanding of how the definition of family is a real-life, daily challenge in your home. I hope you also understand how we get to a place where we’re willing to accept definitions of the family that God rejects.
Please share this episode with your friends and family, and reach out to us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com for help overcoming these challenges in your home. You can also call us at (828) 423-0894.
And I hope you’ll join us next time as we open God’s Word to discover how to parent our children for life and godliness.
To that end, we’ll be discussing how addiction is one of the biggest parenting struggles every parent will face with each of their children.
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