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I’m your host AMBrewster, and today we’re going to walk away from the podcast knowing exactly what we need to talk about when we’re parenting our kids. Whether our kids are obeying or disobeying, whether our family is experiencing difficulty or pain, we can know how to lead our kids through it.
I’m also going to hand you a carefully created power-list of resources that can help you continue your personal maturity in Biblical Parenting.
But before we do that, I’d like to ask you to consider donating to Truth.Love.Parent. We’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and we could really use your help this year. Simply visit TruthLoveParent.com/donate to learn more.
And while you’re at TruthLoveParent.com, you can also access today’s free episode notes, transcript, and tons of related resources
And one other thing. I know what it’s like to listen to podcasts and have the host give you opportunities like visiting a website or rating the show. I know that most of us listen to podcasts when we’re doing things that make it hard to do anything else but listen. And I also know how easy it is to walk away from an amazing podcast episode — thoroughly inspired and challenged and desiring to do good things — only to forget moments later about the next steps the host shared.
So, perhaps you should pause the show right now to leave us a rating or review. If you’re considering donating, maybe you should head to TruthLoveParent.com/donate right now. This episode will be waiting for you when you’re done.
Now, let’s talk about the necessary content of biblical parenting.
On our introductory episode I stressed the importance of having a genuine, living relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray that as you listen to this episode today you know for certain about your standing with God and can prove it from the Scriptures.
So, if you are a Christian, born again, saved, redeemed, justified, a disciple of Christ, a follower of God, a believer, or however you prefer to describe yourself, then you and I have to come to grips with the fact that God has expectations for us.
He has expectations for how we relate to Him, our families, and the world. And the single most important expectation God has for all of His people is that we influence this world.
God didn’t need to leave us on earth the way we leave a roast in the oven. We’re not here because we need some extra cooking time. He could have immediately taken us to be with Him forever — instantly removing our sin and conforming us to His image.
But He left us here, and He did so for a very important reason. He expects us to be salt and light; He expects us to impact those around us.
In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
And in Matthew 28:19-20 He commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
That is why we’re here. We are here to influence the world for Him, and He has a really cool name for that influence.
In II Corinthians 5:18-21 we read, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
This is that influence about which we’re talking.
Continuing in verse 20 we read, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
1. God wants you to be His Ambassador.
That means that you and I have the exact same responsibility on this earth as Jesus Christ had. Jesus came to reconcile mankind to God, and God has committed to us the same word of reconciliation.
Now, this is a much larger topic than we can cover today. Today we want to focus primarily on being Ambassadors in our homes. But I do want to share a series I did for The Celebration of God podcast called Celebrating God at Work and School. Among other things, that series touches on the responsibility we all have to be salt and light even when we’re doing mundane things like working and learning.
I hope you’ll check out that series; it will be listed on today’s resource page with all the other awesome content I’m going to share to with you.
The point is, the biggest reason you are alive today is that God wants you to be speaking into your family’s lives so that they can better know and understand Him.
This means that there will have to be three key elements that repeatedly come up in our parenting:
A. The Centrality of the God
B. The Centrality of Scripture
C. The Centrality of the Gospel
We’re going to talk about what this looks like practically on the last part of today’s episode, but for now, let’s try to understand this on a theoretical plane.
I once did an episode called Where in Your House is God Not Allowed? The basic gist of that conversation was, “Where are the places in your home where you never think about or talk about God?”
Is it the kitchen? Could it be the garage? Can you walk through your home and identify the main places where the Lord is mentioned? Likely it’s around the dining room table or in bedrooms, but what about the hallways and bathrooms and around the TV?
We need to talk about God, His Word, and the eternally relevant and practical realities of the Gospel in every room of our homes. But — more importantly — that content needs to be part of all of our parenting. Whether we’re getting the kids ready for bed, talking about homework, discussing their friend troubles, working on chores together, we need to give God the preeminence in our conversations.
I did another episode called The Point of (nearly) Every Conversation. On that show I explain how the majority of parenting conversations needs to include God, His Word, and the Gospel, and that they need to end with a very important question.
And I know this is hard, which is why I’m going to get more practical later on today. But for now, let’s understand how much this makes sense.
In Colossians 1:16-18 we read, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
You and your kids were created for Him and through Him. You hold together because of Him. He is supposed to be your head, and He is supposed to have first place in everything in your home. You are to be His Ambassador in your home. His Word is the only thing in this world that provides us everything we need for life and godliness.
How can we argue that God doesn’t have to be the overwhelming sum of our conversations?
In fact, not only does He deserve to have first place in our parenting, but it doesn’t make sense to exclude Him. That’s like trying to vacuum the floor without plugging the vacuum in. It won’t work. It’s disconnected from the power source.
Actually, it’s more like trying to use an unplugged vaccum to mow your lawn. First, the vacuum doesn’t have any power, and second, it wasn’t created to do that. You were created to worship God in your parenting, not parent in your own ways for your own purposes.
God is the very goal toward which and power in which we are to parent.
But God’s not going to force you. That’s why . . .
2. You need to choose to be His Ambassador.
I think it’s easy for a lot of church goers to assume that because God wants something or says something that means that all of His people are — of course — doing it or pursuing it. But that’s just not the case — unless of course I’m the only professing Christian who sins. Am I the only one who seeks after my desires, who worships self, who mindlessly wafts through my day working and parenting for my own glory? I don’t think so.
This is why Truth.Love.Parent. started in 2016 with a call to be intentional, premeditated parents. Intentionality speaks to purposefulness and conscious motivation. Premeditation has to do with not merely being conscious of your direction, but having a though-out plan for arriving at that destination.
You’re not going to be a Christ-honoring biblical parent just because you’re a Christian. You must be actively, consciously, intentionally, purposefully, decidedly, and premeditatedly a biblical parent.
And that starts with . . .
A. You need to be in relationship with God.
As nebulous as some people may make that sound, please understand that God defines what it is to be in a relationship with Him. You are either His enemy or His child. And you don’t become His child however you want. You must believe what He says in His Word about your sin and His salvation. And it’s that Holy Spirit empowered belief that will result in our second sub-point.
B. You need to be maturing in your relationship with God.
It’s actually kind of sad how we so desperately want our kids to grow and mature — we track their development and milestones, and we push and prod and pressure our kids to change and improve . . . and yet we have such low expectations — if any — for ourselves.
We’ve bought into the asinine idea that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, and we’ve given ourselves a pass that we have somehow “made it” because we’re “adults.” But those are all convenient lies we tell ourselves. The reality of the situation is that we need to be growing and maturing and developing in all the same ways our kids need to be growing and maturing and developing. That’s not to say that we are as immature as they are, but it’s to say that we need to continue growing in the same categories.
Yes, granted, we aren’t growing the same way they are physically, but we all still need to grow in spiritual maturity and grow in our intellects and our skillsets and our ability to solve problems and navigate life’s pitfalls in a Christ-honoring way.
Are you a growing Christian?
Well, I have a number of resources I want to share with you before we move into our final point of the day. I’m going to include them on the resource page for this episode, but I want to excite you about the material.
For starters, we have a number of single episodes about the nature and consequences of bad parenting . . . you know, the kind of parenting we do far more often than we like to admit.
Such episodes include the first episode in The 5th Way to Parent which outlines the four fleshly parenting styles into which we all fall.
Then there’s Parenting Like Jonah which looks at the character flaws in Jonah and helps us see how the same kinds of character flaws creep into our parenting.
Parenting Like Lot follows a similar format, but the real advantage of episodes like this is when we see the same kinds of consequences in our parenting as these guys saw in their lives, it helps us to identify why they’re there. Sometimes these consequences come, and we imagine that it’s no fault of our own, and — to be fair — sometimes it’s not. But more often than not it likely did have something to do with how we were parenting.
We also have an episode called Parenting Like the Rich Young Ruler as well as Parenting Like Satan. Don’t think you’ve never done it. I know I have. It’s far too easy for us to copy devilish tendencies of the Evil One than we like to think.
And that leads well in episode 439, “Are You God in Your Home?” Far too often we are. Now, even if you think, “No, Aaron, that sounds awful, of course I’m not the god in my home. God is.” Be careful. Sin blinds us. It makes us stupid. Sin is insanity. Listen to those episodes and look for the tell-tale earmarks of a home where the parents make it more about themselves than about God.
If you’re uncertain what that would look like, listen to “5 Ways You Take God’s Job.” These are 5 things that most of us do quite often.
And while you’re seriously dealing with the log in your own eye by trying to see how you take the worship that’s designed for God, look for failure philosophies in your home too. The episode “Are There Failure Philosophies in Your Home” will help you root out some of the most vile and deceptive.
And then finally — along the lines of bad parenting — we have the Terrorist Parents episode and the False Parents Series.
The False Parents Series was such an eye-opener for me. It walked though the biblical concepts of the false prophet and the false teacher and compared it to God’s expectations for parents, and — let me tell you — I was able to see the times I’ve been a False Parent and the temptations I have, and it’s helped me be more intentional and premeditated in fighting that tendency.
And — again — all of these links will be available for you on our blog — the link for which will be in the description.
So, those are the episodes that help us see the bad parenting into which we all so often fall. What about changing as we mature in Christ?
I’d encourage you to start with The Choice All Parents Have to Make Series and follow it up with the Change Starts with Me Series. Both of those series will walk you through practical, necessary change.
We also have a short Biblical Parents Series, and episode called “Stop Being the Leader!” and an episode called “Needy Parenting.”
I really love the second half of The 5th Way to Parent Series which looks at the only parenting style that glorifies God and the first part of The Parent’s 5 Jobs Series which looks how to be an Ambassador Parent. And we also have an episode called “How Do I Become an Ambassador Parent” if you’re looking for a really basic starting place.
I also love our Peaceful Parenting Series which works through Philippians 4 and our Parent Like the Holy Spirit episode which teaches us to do just that.
And then if you would like some real encouragement, check out The Experience of a Righteous Parent Series. It will not only challenge us in what we need to be but also help us see how we God will empower us to respond to our parenting joys and struggles.
I know you may not go all the way back to episode 1 and listen to every episode we’ve done, but hopefully a few of those caught your ear and are just what you need to rededicate yourself to Biblical Parenting.
So, as we look at the content of your parenting . . .
1. God wants you to be His Ambassador. And . . .
2. You need to choose to be His Ambassador.
When you submit to God’s call on your life, the content of your parenting will make sense and come more easily as you practice using it.
So, let’s move to our final point for the day.
3. To be a biblical parent you need to make God, the Scripture, and the Gospel the main content of your parenting.
We already established that point earlier, now let’s look at the practical specifics. For each of the next few sub-points we’re going to consider the Biblical Parenting Content in relationship to the four main parenting contexts in which we find ourselves — times of Rebellion, Obedience, Discomfort, and Comfort.
A. Talking about God as you Parent
First, let’s consider the easiest time to talk about God in your parenting — times of Rebellion.
Rebellion can be aggressive or passive. It can be conscious or unconscious rebellion. I’m using this word to refer broadly to the times that your kids are sinning.
For the professing, church-going Christian, it’s these times where wielding the Scriptures is easiest, but generally not for a good reason. In the same way that unbelievers have used Santa and gremlins and the boogeyman and other supernatural beings to basically scare or manipulate their kids into some kind of submission, too many Christians use God and the Bible as a way to scare or manipulate their kids into obedience.
However, this is a sin. Now, that’s not to say that the truths of God can’t and won’t change a rebellious heart, but we’re talking about motivation here. We’re talking about a parent who wants what’s going on to stop, and he or she knows that talking about God and punishment and hell and consequences and heaven is a good way to get the shenanigans to stop.
But we need to talk about God the way Jesus talked about the Father. God deserves our worship and obedience. Our children’s sin is not about our inconvenience or our dislikes or our discomfort or our wishes, it’s about depriving God of the righteous, holy worship that He absolutely deserves.
This kind of talk reminds children who have not submitted to God in salvation to see His status and His just desserts. And it reminds born again children of their higher calling.
This is a beautiful way to parent through Rebellion because it’s not about the parent versus the kids. It’s about the parent and the child discussing Who God is, what He expects, and what He deserves.
Yes, there will likely have to be talks about consequences, but that happens as a natural outflowing of the fact that you didn’t worship God as you should, not because you did something I didn’t like.
And the same is true for our next time.
Second, we need to give God the preeminence in times of Obedience.
You will never experience a greater temptation to stop parenting than when your kids are being good. It’s our natural predisposition to pull out and view parenting as a spectator sport when everything seems to be “going well.” But this causes a number of problems.
Again it’s too easy for us to value our kids obedience for us instead of God. Instead, we need to speak of God when our kids do right. We need to talk about how that attitude, word, or behavior pleases the Lord.
Of course, there is a caveat, we never want our unsaved children to think they can work their way to salvation. Romans 8 makes it very clear that unbelievers cannot please the Lord in anything they do. But we can tell our as-of-yet unbelieving children that the Lord is pleased by certain types of behavior, and that when they learn to do right for God’s glory, what a wonderful day that will be!
The other reason we don’t speak of God in times of obedience is that we forget that no one is perfect and we all need to be growing. Yes, your children handled that sibling spat well. Wonderful! Encourage them in Christ, prompt them to thank Him for the direction and power to do right, and admonish them to be careful to make the right choice again in the future when a similar situation arises.
Third, we need to talk about God during times of Discomfort.
Yes, times of Rebellion can overlap with times of Discomfort, but Discomfort sometimes occurs even when the children are obeying. This can be the result of a lost job or loved one or other difficult situation.
Like the times of Rebellion, this is a time that God’s people often shine. They remind themselves and others about the goodness, love, and provision of God. And that is exactly what we need to be doing. We need to fill our parenting with God-content, and that’s just as true in the difficult, uncomfortable times as any.
I love Romans 8:28-29, James 1:2-4, II Corinthians 4:7-18, Philippians 4:4-9, and I Peter 1:7. Each of those passages (and so many more) teach us about how we are to think about Discomfort. It’s not something to be hated, it’s something that is to drive us to God.
And, of course . . .
Fourth, we need to talk about God during times of Comfort.
This is probably the easiest time to have godless parenting content. I love how Proverbs 30:8-9 unmasks the natural human propensity to forget God in the good times. King Agur writes, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.”
It is so easy for us to sit back and enjoy the blessings of God all the while somehow forgetting that He was the one who gave them to us. We’re so myopic and ridiculous, we actually think the times of Comfort are a result of our making.
No. In such times we need to praise God. We need to thank Him and speak of Him often with our kids so that they too see Him as the sole provider and source of all satisfaction in this life.
But let’s not only talk about God. So many people for so many thousands of years have spoken about God from a distance. We have something so much greater.
B. Talking about the Scripture as You Parent
It would be easy to rehash the previous points because isn’t the Bible just God’s Word? But we’re going to see that this parenting content is designed to address a different need. Talk about God puts Him in the right place in our minds, but talking about His Word provides the right direction as we try to give God the right place.
First, we need to talk about the Scripture in times of Rebellion.
It’s easy to parent with a “If you just did what I told you to do, we wouldn’t have this problem” slant. But from where do we learn about God? Where do we find His expectations for our lives?
Far too many young people in the church know about God, but they’re so ignorant of what the Bible says. It really is amazing.
We need to teach our rebellious kids that God’s Word is their only hope for change and joy. It’s in the pages of the Scriptures that God gives us everything we need for life and godliness. Only as we open the Bible to address our sinful hearts will we find the practical answers we need for real maturity.
But we mustn’t stop taking about the Bible when there’s nothing to “fix” in our kids.
Second, we need to talk about the Scripture in times of Obedience.
God forbid our kids only think the Bible has something to say when they’re in trouble. No, it actually as more to say when they’re not! The Bible is designed to help us daily grow in our spirituality in conformity to Christ.
Remind your kids as breakfast of how the Lord would have them do all to His glory today. Point their eyes back to Christ when they’re feeling overwhelmed with homework. Encourage them to love their siblings better and better. Put them to bed reflecting on God’s love and providential care.
Third, we need to talk about the Scriptures in times of Discomfort.
Teach your kids that God’s Word is the only thing that can guide us securely through times of distress and disappointment. It’s not a talisman, it’s the perfect, impeccable, loving, relevant, and practical book though which the Lord speaks and guides us to His glory.
And . . .
Fourth, we need to talk about the Scriptures in times of Comfort.
Your kids need to know that the Bible will help them answer any questions they may have about life and godliness. It will help them make choices about their family, friends, entertainment, school, work, future spouse, the questions they receive from their coworkers, absolutely everything.
But if we’re not talking about God’s Word as we plan a vacation or choose what show to watch or play in the yard or choose the classes we’re going to take or do our chores or play sports, then how will they learn that the Scripture is important during all of those times because God is important during all of those times?
And finally . . .
3. Talking about the Gospel as You Parent
The Gospel is about God and us, and we learn about it from the Bible, but what does it mean for it to be the content of our parenting.
First, we need to talk about the Gospel in times of Rebellion.
The Gospel saves us. It saves us positionally from God’s present and future wrath, but it also saves us from ourselves. It’s designed to change us. Any and all beneficial change in the life of our kids will be a result of the Gospel.
We want our unbelieving children to embrace God’s gift of justification. We want them to see that the trouble they’re in now is a result of them trying to be the god of their own lives. We want them to see that the Lord wants to save them from themselves and the consequences of worshipping themselves.
But the same is true for our born again kids. The Gospel is not a one-time in the past experience. Our sanctification is a daily experience in which we submit to the Holy Spirit and are conformed into the image of Christ.
Our Rebellious kids who profess faith in Christ need to be confronted with the fact that their life choices are diametrically opposed to the new life they say they have. They need to submit to God’s Gospel plan for their lives.
Second, we need to talk about the Gospel in times of Obedience.
It’s so easy for all of us to see our good choices and beneficial decisions as being because we’re good, decent, wonderful people. But the reality is that everything good in us is a result of God’s grace. We can only ever take credit for the bad stuff.
Therefore, we need to celebrate God’s grace in our kids’ lives when they live in obedient submission to us and — ultimately — God. We need to teach our kids about His grace and help them see it in their continued maturity. We need to praise Him for working in all of our lives. We need to recognize that where we are now is a result of the Gospel work God is doing in our family.
And when we live like that it will make the next point that much easier.
Third, we need to talk about the Gospel in times of Discomfort.
God wants to use the discomfort to further conform us into His image. In fact, Christians tend to grow by leaps and bounds in times of persecution and pain. When we submit to God’s will and working in our lives, it’s walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death that can radically ramp up our spiritual maturity.
But we parents need to be talking about that. We need to believe and be growing in that belief. It needs to be a resounding anthem in our daily parenting that God has a plan, is working, and can be trusted.
And when we do this, we set our kids up to see our final point today.
Fourth, we need to talk about the Gospel in times of Comfort.
The Gospel is God’s greatest gift to mankind whereby He makes enemies His children and conforms humanity into the image of the God-man Jesus Christ. Is there any greater a miracle!
We should be so focused on and enamored by the Gospel that we interpret every moment of our day through its lens. When life is going the way we would have planned, we need to recognize that God is in control. He knows that this is what we need, but He also knows that we will only grow in our sanctification as we praise Him for the blessings and keep our eyes on His glory instead of consuming the blessings for our own selfish pleasures.
And as we speak this God-centered parenting content into our every parenting conversation, we will fulfill our Ambassadorial calling as well as teach our kids about the preeminence God is to have in every facet of our lives.
To that end, I have a few more resources to share with you that should help you to dive deeper into any number of the lofty goals we’ve set up for our parenting content.
The first is called the Evangelism Parenting Series. This is about how we can repeatedly take our unregenerate children back to their need for the Savior.
“Parenting Blood to Water” is a key part of that discussion.
We also have a life changing series called The Biggest Parenting Challenges You Will Ever Face. It helps you see the biggest spiritual traps into which your kids fall and equips you to parent them out of each one.
I really love the Parenting in Christ Series which digs deeper into so much of what we’ve discussed today, and the Family Worship Series is so great for the whole family as they come to realize how God wants to use all of you in each other’s spiritual growth.
I believe The Rock, The Bread, & The Donut series is one of our most underrated series. It’s about the things we should never give our kids as we parent them, the things we always need to give them, and the things that are sometimes good and sometimes harmful and how to know when the time comes.
And finally, if you want to keep God, the Scriptures, and the Gospel as the foundation of your parenting then you need to be attending a church that keeps those things at the center of its preaching and church life. So check out our Your Family Needs to Go to Church Series.
Thank you for your attention today as we talk about the most important part of your parenting — God wants you to have a relationship with Him and be His Ambassador to your kids. In order to do that, the content of your parenting needs to be consumed with the person and will of your Father Who sent you to your kids.
Please share this Biblical Parenting Essentials Series with your friends. You can do that utilizing social media, or you can text it to them. Or you could have a Sunday School or Small Group study where you all listen to the episodes and then engage with the content as a group to help each the become more biblical parents.
If you would like help in facilitating that kind of group study or you need personal or family help, please email us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or call (828) 423-0894.
And I hope you’ll join us next time as we once again open God’s Word to discover how to best worship God with our parenting.
To that end, we’ll be discussing how to evaluate your parenting by considering the second essential part of Biblical Parenting.
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