Imagine experiencing real, genuine, lasting, contagious peace right smack in the middle of your greatest parenting challenges. Join AMBrewster as he opens God’s Word to show us all how we can have real peace in our parenting.
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Welcome to Season 3! It’s so great to have you here with us. I pray this study will help you achieve something that’s missing from the majority of families on the world.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to reduce the anxiety and anger and depression and worry and doubt you experience from being a parent?
I mean, can you really imagine what it would be like to have real peace in your parenting . . . even in the face of a terrorist child?
By the way, if you think you may have a terrorist living in your home or you’re not sure what to do with the terrorist you know you have, check out episode 37.
Peace seems to be much longed for yet seldom achieved in this world, especially in a house ravaged by disobedience and rebellion.
No doubt many of you have a favorite Scripture passage you turn to in times of family strife. There are so many scriptures that deal directly with peace, and countless more that bear such wonderful tidings Christians can’t help but let the truths wash over their souls with a peaceful, contented froth. So, if it’s nearly impossible to pick up a Bible without facing truths designed to deliver peace, why do so many Christian parents struggle with doubt, anxiety, stress, distress, fear, anger, and depression when it comes to their parenting?
I know what this is like. There’ve been times in my parenting and ministry I’ve limped through discontentment and despondency. I hated my situation and couldn’t believe the hand I was dealt really came from God.
Thankfully, instead of running from God, I searched the Bible for answers. My joy — my peace — was found in a thorough study of Philippians. To this day, Philippians 4:4-9 is one of my favorite passages.
Over the next couple shows I’m going to do a series on how you — mom and dad — can have genuine peace in the middle of your parenting. It doesn’t matter if your kids are Hard, Rocky, Thorny, or Soft-Hearted (and if you’re not certain which one they are, you can listen to episode 55). It doesn’t matter if you have a terrorist living under your roof. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the Evangelism Parent phase or the Discipling Parent phase.
I want to apply this beautiful doctrine of divine peace to our daily parenting.
We will learn together from God Himself what peace is and how we can achieve this elusive virtue in our homes and with our children. I hope it will be a study of supreme joy to every Christian parent.
So, let’s delve into our study, starting in Philippians 4:4-9.
The first thing we need to do is determine what peace actually is.
Let me start by saying that when I discuss Peaceful Parenting, I’m not talking about parents who refuse to biblically correct or discipline their children. We’re going to discuss that topic much more in the future, but for now, let’s say that a parent who doesn’t give biblical consequences to their children is not obeying God.
Second, Peaceful Parenting is not different than Ambassador Parenting. It’s just another facet. The Ambassador Parent we discussed in episode 27 will be a Peaceful Parent. It’s not something else we have to become, it’s simply a part of the parenting style God’s called us to embrace.
That means, if we don’t have peace in our parenting, we’re not glorifying God the way we should. And that needs to change.
How can I say that? Well, let’s remember that we’ve all been commanded to be at peace. And that peace is empowered by the Holy Spirit Himself. Galatians 5:22-25 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
But again, just because we’re commanded to have it doesn’t make it easy to do. In fact, even though the word peace is fairly easy to understand in English, you’d be surprised to find how many Christians don’t truly get it.
It’s like the word lasciviousness. I believe many Christians commit the sin of lasciviousness in part because they never bothered to figure out what it was. Let’s not make that same mistake with peaceful parenting.
One way to discern what peaceful parenting is is to figure out what it’s not.
1. Peace (as used in Philippians 4) does not mean a lack of conflict.
If you look up “peace” in The American Heritage College Dictionary the first four definitions deal with the dichotomy of war and peace. For example, the first definition says that peace is “the absence of war or other hostilities.” The fourth definition maintains that peace is “public security and order.” It’s true that, more often than not, the Bible uses “peace” to refer to a lack of war, but in Galatians 5:22, Philippians 4:4-9, and Isaiah 26:3 a “lack of war or conflict” is not the appropriate definition. You can have peace even if there’s a child in your home who’s creating conflict at every turn. How do we know that? Well, a child of God possess the ability to be at peace even in the middle of a war. David is a perfect example of a man who frequently found himself in war time scenarios and either asked God for peace in the middle of the trial or wrote about the peace he experienced. That means that you can be at peace in your parenting even when you have a terrorist child trying to manipulate you through fear or literally trying to hurt you physically.
2. Peace is not a feeling.
The belief that peace is an emotion lies at the root of many misunderstandings concerning God’s will for our lives. As you know if you’ve been listening to this show for any length of time, today’s society is emotion-soaked. Disney tells us to “follow our hearts,” psychologists speak of emotional disorders, and the media encourages us to amass stock in the “feelings-market” lest we bruise our self-esteem. Though emotions are wonderful gifts of God, we as Christians must realize that they are neither formative nor trustworthy, and we discussed this quite a bit in episodes 32-34.
I truly wish I could take more time to go back over the doctrine of Christian emotions; but we don’t have time. Still, there are two cogent points to be made concerning the relationship between peace and feelings.
So, since we’re using analogies, I happen to like this one . . . Feelings are like a fuel gauge. When the gas in your car is gone, your car stops running. The fuel gauge is not the reason your car doesn’t run; it’s just there to warn you that there’s a problem. Our emotions were designed to confirm for us (and warn us) about what’s happening in our spirit, but they are in no way seminal to the issue.
So to sum it all up, God is not commanding us to possess a “peaceful feeling.” In times of family distress it might be very difficult to work up positive emotions. Sure, there are many wonderful feelings that accompany biblical peace, but I don’t always have to “feel peaceful” to have peace.
3. Peace is not a divine stamp of approval.
This point ties in with the latter. Often times in decision-making we search for some ethereal “feeling of peace” from God to validate our choices. “Should I send my child to this school? Should our family move? God, please give me peace so I know your will.” The problem with this kind of thinking is two-fold.
God gave Moses a clear command yet Moses was not “at peace” with God’s will. Now consider David. In the midst of troubling years, being hunted by his king (and later by his son), we read that David often experienced the peace of God.
SO WHAT IS PEACE and how can I have it in my parenting???
In all biblical honesty . . . I can’t tell you!
Peace is very difficult to define.
In my defense, I turn you back to Philippians 4:7. Paul tells us that genuine peace from God “surpasses all comprehension;” it cannot be communicated in its entirety. This is both a sad reality and yet a wonderful promise (which we will deal with in great detail later).
The difficulty we face in defining peace is that it’s not a feeling or an action. It’s not a thought or a word.
Peace is a state of being. It’s a reality that exists in our minds.
Dr. Mark Minnick, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, SC, defines peace as “soul-rest.”
It’s pretty easy to describe emotions, actions, and thought patterns, but it is not so simple to define a state of being. That’s why Dr. Minnick’s explanation is so helpful.
The fifth definition in The American Heritage College Dictionary is also helpful, it describes peace as “inner contentment; serenity; a state of tranquility.”
Can you imagine using those words to describe your parenting?
To truly have the peace of God in your parenting is to experience a state of being that defies comprehension. It can be accompanied by wonderful feelings, or it can sustain us when our feelings are in chaos. It’s a knowledge. It’s an understanding. It’s a plane of living. That is what we’re commanded to have.
So, how do you get this peace? What must you do to achieve this state of being in your homes?
That’s what we’re going to address next time. I hope you’ll join us. It will be an amazing study. Until then, though I would encourage you to check out today’s episode notes at TruthLoveParent.com. I’ve linked them in the description for you.
And I want to thank one of our TLP Friends for today’s show. Her name is Cara, and — like you — she’s a parent who experiences the same difficult situations at home that you and I do. But the same peace God promises her, you and I can have to.
I encourage you to subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player so you’ll never miss an episode.
And you can feel free to email us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com if you’re having difficulty working through an issue in your home and you need some guidance.
God wouldn’t have commanded us to have peace if it were impossible to have. What we’re going to find is that peace is a conditional reality. There are things we have to be and do before we can expect to possess that peace that passes all understanding.
I look forward to taking this journey with you!
See you next time
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