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I’m your host AMBrewster, and today is the second to the last episode in our Biblical Parenting Essentials.
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Now, let’s talk about Phase 4 of Biblical Parenting, and—by the way—for those of you who are already familiar with Phase 4, I have a ton of brand new information for you today.
II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
How are we Ambassador Parents to help our kids be men and women of God, adequate, and equipped for every good work? We need to use the Scriptures to introduce our kids to God and when they have submitted to Him in salvation, disciple them to love God and obey Him better as they mature in their discipleship.
That process is going to involve teaching our kids what’s right and wrong, reproving them when they’re wrong, correcting them when they choose to move from the wrong to the right, and finally . . . Phase 4 . . . training them to stay in the right.
Now, if you’re new to the show, it’s going to be exceptionally important for you to understand that teaching and training are two completely different things. I will explain it briefly here, but I want you to listen to an episode we did very early on called How to Train Your Child to Stay with God. On that episode we explain how the proverb “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” is a promise, and the lynchpin has to do with understanding what it means to train.
1. What is Training?
Teaching is a one-sided endeavor. To teach is to give information. Regardless of what the student does with the information, if I’ve given it, I’ve taught. However, training is a two-sided process. Training involves a teacher giving information and a student who’s not just learning the information, but also putting it into practice.
I can’t say that I’m a trained guitarist if all I did was watch YouTube videos. Sure, the people in those videos were trying to train me. They marketed their videos as “training videos,” but if I never pick up a guitar, practice, and do what they’re telling me to do . . . I am not a trained guitarist. All I’ve done is learned what it takes to play the guitar.
And that’s the key. I hope I’ve been clear in this. Of the four stages of Biblical parenting, if your kids aren’t participating, all you can do as a parent is teach and reprove. It’s not until your kids cross the reconciliation bridge between reproof and correction and are actively participating in the process that you can you correct them and train them.
Now, as I’ve said before, each Phase includes the previous Phase. So training is obviously a teaching, reproving, and correcting process. Now, if you think about what I just said, it likely sounds wrong. If the child needs to be reproved and corrected, how are they in the training stage? They’re obviously not participating in what you’re teaching them.
And I would say that such a conclusion does sound accurate, and I’m not going to fight that way of looking at it. However, none of us are perfect. We all sin every single day, multiple times a day. We fail in some areas while simultaneously succeeding in others. Though I’ve tried to categorize the parenting process, it is far more complicated that four unique stages.
When your kids are participating, parenting is a dynamic process of teaching and reproving and correcting and training to different degrees and in different combinations all day every day. So, here’s how I simplify it.
There are those who sin, confess, apologize, and promise to repent over and over with very little to no discernible change. I argue that—generally speaking—those people haven’t really gotten in the Correction Phase or haven’t gotten into it very far.
However, there are those who sin, confess, apologize, and promise to change who—by the grace of God—achieve real maturity and are genuinely corrected and are trained in new, more Christ-honoring behaviors and life habits. However, obviously those people aren’t perfect. They still sin, but the process of reproof and correction is easier and quicker to navigate. In fact, one could easily make the case that part of the Training Phase is that the individual receives reproof and participates in correction far better than they used to.
So, picture it this way. If your kids are unsaved your parenting is going to be Teaching and Reproving over and over. That’s all you can do.
But if your kids are born again, they have the ability to truly repent. The more immature they are, the less they will respond to reproof, but a born again believer will always, eventually respond to Biblical Parenting and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If they don’t, they’re not born again, and all you can do is teach and reprove them. But a Christian will be able to be taught, reproved, corrected, and trained to one degree or another.
However, a spiritually mature child (which—by the way—does not necessarily require an advanced age) will move into the Training Phase much easier. And once they’re their, the parenting process looks more like Training, Reproving, Correcting, Training, Reproving, Correcting, and so on.
Again, I don’t want to oversimplify anything, but I do want to make God’s parental expectations manageable and easy to understand.
And I have three more resources that should help you become a better Trainer (assuming your children are participating in the Phase). The episode called A Parent’s 5 Jobs, Part 5 | Trainer will build out an important foundation while the episode How Do You Become a Training Parent? Will give you practical steps for growing into this practice.
But I also have an episode called Training Your Children to Rebel. The reality is that you or someone else can teach, reprove, correct, and train a child to do sinful things. The process works exactly the same way, but since we’re all predisposed to sin, it’s actually easier to train our kids to sin than it is to train them to glorify God. Therefore, since you’re a sinner just like I am, you and I are training our kids to rebel . . . and we probably don’t even realize it.
So, if you want your Christ-honoring training to be the focus, you need to evaluate your life in order to diminish the self-glorifying training you’re doing.
Alright, let’s move to . . .
2. Methods for Profitable Training
As I was carefully thinking through the process of training, I realized that I had already developed this content in great detail. It just took me a minute to realize that the two projects were actually intimately related.
This other project I’m referencing is called “How Much Should a Counselee Talk during a Session?” Now, this material hasn’t been published or taught in any other format, so this will be an introduction to the material, and there won’t be any other study resources available just yet.
But, hey, at least you’re the first to hear it!
Let me set the stage. As a biblical counselor, I work with lots of people and families. And there’s a lot of talking that occurs during a session. Sure, there are times of silence and tears, but—let’s be honest—these people are coming to me because they need help, and we’re not going to accomplish anything staring at each other.
And you can imagine how many thousands of hours I’ve been in formal counseling, informal counseling, casual conversation, parenting, and so on. And I’ve seen the same conversations and situations over and over and over. So, here are my observations concerning how much a counselee should talk during a session and why. And for the sake of this episode, I’m going to change the word “counselee” to “child.”
As you can see, I’m consistent in my teaching regardless of the application. The point of this point is that whether it’s the parent, friend, child, counselee, or whoever, those are the three most important topics to discuss in matters of spiritual maturity. Counseling sessions, discipleship, and parenting should obviously be focused on spiritual maturity.
The second point of my outline acknowledges the benefits of counselee talking even when their talking doesn’t conform to the above topics.
And it’s at this point in my outline that I move to a consideration concerning . . .
And then after introducing each kind of child, I ask some basic question to get us considering ourselves, our kids, and the situation. However, I don’t provide any answers. So, take some time to carefully consider the questions if you think I’m describing your child.
And then I move into my final point. The goal is to help the child talk the right way, and the degree to which they participate will answer the question as to how much they should talk in the parenting process.
And keep in mind that this comes after the fruit gathering stage. We’ve already asked our questions and heard their thought process and descriptions of the event, and we’ve already given them plenty of time to tell us what they think and how they feel and so on.
Alright, so let me break this down for us and apply it to the training process.
Though teaching is mostly parents talking and children listening, the Training Phase can and should start to sound different. Remember, the children are participating in training. They’ve maturely corrected much of their previous behavior, they’re actively learning, they’re actively changing, and so they should be actively participating in the training process.
That means that you should give them every opportunity to speak the truth. They need to take what they know, really understand it, and be able to explain how that truth needs to change their lives. And as long as they’re saying all of the right things . . . let them keep talking.
Of course, they will miss important things, and they may say things that are inaccurate or unloving, and we will need to step in and get the conversation back to truth in love. We need to use The Communication House and Revolving Priorities to get the talk back to a Christ-honoring place.
If you don’t know what The Communication House or Revolving Priorities are, I have links for you in the description of today’s episode.
But the key is that training methodology will start with more parental talking and less child talking, but then it needs to shift as the child matures to more child talking and less parental talking as long as the child is talking accurately about God, themselves, and the process of biblical change.
Let’s look at a couple quick biblical examples of this and then be done.
The New Testament is full of examples of Jesus doing this. Often people would come up to Him with questions or comments. Sometimes He asked the questions to get them to say something, but the moment He encountered falsehood, He would address it.
In Luke 12:13-21 a man presents Jesus with a demand, but Jesus doesn’t even answer the demand. He explains why He won’t respond one way or another and then dives into the truth that man needed to hear the most.
But there were also times where Jesus asked a question, waited for the accurate answer, and then built on that truth.
For example, in Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus asked the disciples who people thought He was. They answered, and then He asked who they thought He was. Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus applauds him for answering accurately.
Consider Zaccheus. In Luke 19, this Jewish chief tax-collector wanted to see and hear Jesus so he climbed up into a tree. Jesus, knowing that Zaccheus was in the right place to be convicted of his sin, confess, apologize, and repent, acknowledges Zaccheus and invites Himself to his house.
Of course, the crowd wasn’t pleased the Jesus once again was going to spend time with people they thought were worthless. But experiencing the conviction Jesus knew he would, Zaccheus announces to the Lord before all who would listen, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”
This man understood God, himself, and his need for change. He also understood what would be required of him to change in a Christ-honoring way. And without being instructed what to say or do, he of his own accord announces his plan. And what did Jesus say in response? Did He correct Zaccheus’ application? Did He add to his plan? No. Jesus didn’t have to because Zaccheus was speaking the most valuable truth he could speak in the moment.
All that was left for Jesus was the encourage the man and instruct the unbelieving crowd. So, Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
What a beautiful illustration of the training process.
I pray today’s episode was valuable for you. I pray that you are in the training process when it comes to Biblical Parenting, and I pray that you are putting these truths into practice in your daily parenting as you children participate with you.
And wouldn’t it be great if other dads and moms could be trained in this material? Please share this series with everyone you can so that other Christian parents can glorify God in their parenting. Part of that process might be leaving us a 5-star rating and review.
Of course, you might have questions and struggles, so please don’t hesitate to contact Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or leave us a voicemail at (828) 423-0894.
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 finalizing our Biblical Parenting Essentials by discussing how to evaluate whether you’re in the training stage or not and how valuable the process is.
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