Would you like to experience joyful peace in your parenting? Join AMBrewster as he looks at the first Peace Prerequisite today on TLP.
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Welcome back, friends. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be sharing this information with you today. I can think of very few things that will help you keep your head in your parenting journey more than the study we’re doing over the next few shows.
Stay with us all the way, and I promise that if you believe God’s Word and work to put these truths into practice, your parenting will be revolutionized.
But more on that in a minute.
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Okay, so let’s take our first steps to understanding how to be a parent who experiences real peace, even in the midst of the most difficult parenting situations.
Last time we looked at a number of misconceptions concerning peace – peace is not a lack of conflict, it’s not a feeling, and it’s not a divine stamp of approval – and we ended our time learning that biblical peace is a state of mind.
It’s a “soul rest” that pervades our every parenting situation. It protects us from fear, doubt, anger, and depression. If you didn’t hear our last episode, I encourage you to check it out.
So the next logical question is . . . how does a parent achieve peace?
We’ll spend the bulk of our time in this series in the book of Philippians, so let’s start with an overview of Philippians 4:4-9.
Verses 4-6 are a list followed by a promise of peace in verse 7.
Then verse 8 gives us another long list followed by verse 9 which repeats the promise from verse 7.
What’s the promise? Peace.
Okay, so what are these lists?
Well, this first observation is incredibly important. According to Philippians 4, peace is not an unconditional promise for all Christians. It’s true, you can’t experience this peace if you’re not born again, but just because you’re child of God, doesn’t mean this peace is a guarantee.
These lists are the responsibilities we have if we wish to experience the conditional blessing of soul rest.
If you want peace in your parenting that’s totally detached an unaffected by the turmoil in your home, you’re going to have to work for it. And, if we’re being honest, this is one of the biggest reasons most of us don’t have peace. We’re either too busy keeping our five year old from killing the goldfish or our fifteen year old from dropping out of school that we’re not as focused on our character and behavior as we should be.
I strongly encourage you to check out episodes 42, 17, and 2. 42 introduces us to the most potentially destructive influence in the lives of our children, and episode 17 tells you the most important thing I could say to a parent, and episode 2 points us to the reality that it really is all about us . . . the parents.
So, to that end, let’s look at the first prerequisite to genuine parental peace.
You can feel free to write this down if you want, but don’t forget that we have free transcripts and PDF episode notes at TruthLoveParent.com. And I’ve linked that in description for you.
Okay, so here’s the first Peace Prerequisite:
1. We have a Responsibility to God
Philippians 4:4 is a very familiar verse that says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
Merriam-Webster defines “rejoice” as “to feel joy or great delight.”
It defines “joy” as “a source or cause of great happiness: something or someone that gives joy to someone.”
A simple rewording of this verse could be:
“Find your eternal source of happiness in God; and let me repeat, find your joy in God.”
I love when God – in His divine wisdom – finds it necessary to remind us of something right after He told us about it the first time. Why does He do this?
I know why He does this with me – because I’m stupid. I’m like a dog that returns to my own disgusting vomit-like way parenting through my self-worship. This is why He tells us twice in the same verse; we fail at rejoicing in God repeatedly throughout the day. Have you ever read something in the Scriptures that brings such joy to your soul only to walk away minutes later and have your joy disappear in light of an unplanned conflict between your kids?
This is why we need the reminder.
Not only does God tell us the same thing twice, He also uses divine generalities. He uses a word we tell our kids not to use; He says, “always.”
Generalities are generally bad because there always seems to be exceptions.
But in God’s economy, when He says “always” and “never,” He means it.
We’re to find our sole source of joy and happiness in nothing other than God. And we’re to do it all of the time.
John Goetsch said,“Joy is the flag that is flown from the castle of the heart when the King is in residence there.”
If you live for yourself, joy cannot take up residence there. The life of a selfish person is constantly being attacked by the circumstances and individuals around him that don’t really care about his goals. But a heart dedicated to Christ knows that things don’t have to go our way in order to have joy and contentment.
Verses like this and the passage that tells us to“pray without ceasing” frequently lead people to think that unless one lives merely monastic, you cannot be spiritual. But John Piper rightly made the observation: “For the gospel-liberated mind, all joy in created things is seamless with joy in God.”
The source of sole satisfaction is knowing, believing, and everminding what God says.
a When I look at my children, I’m reminded that they are a direct work of His hands, and I rejoice that my God is so powerful to create such a magnificent and multi-faceted human being.
b When I receive my paycheck, I know that God is the one who provides all good things, and I thank Him for that goodness.
c When I play with my family, I reflect on the fact that God has gifted me with these blessings to be loved and discipled.
d When I find myself in the midst of a heart-breaking conflict with my child, I remember that God has promised to work out the situation to my greatest good and His greatest glory if I respond as Christ would. And guess what! I find peace in His sovereignty.
You see, we needn’t spend every waking-minute reading the Bible, we just need do three things:
a Learn what God says by reading and studying His Word.
b Remember what God says when we’re not reading it.
c And apply what God says to our current situation.
By the way, these are the three goals of Evermind Ministries – and by extension, Truth.Love.Parent. — teaching us what we don’t know about God, reminding us of what we’ve already learned about Him, and applying His truth to life.
But back to joy,
In order to have God as our sole source of joy we need to:
1. Realize that nothing in this life (friends, finances, family, fun) should be our source of joy because none of them can actually deliver.
2. Remember the true source of joy — God and His Word. In order to do this, we need to:
When we do this, peace is the obvious outcome. How can we not be at peace when we’re constantly joyful in the one Person Who lovingly controls all things for our greatest good?
Ever-rejoicing in God is challenging, but it’s the necessary starting point to achieve lasting peace. We cannot hope to have the peace of God if He Himself is not our all in all.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Here’s what this looks like in my parenting:
First, I have a saving relationship with God. He’s my Lord and Savior. That’s the first step. No one can truly rejoice in Who He is without accepting His gracious gift of salvation. If you haven’t yet experienced the miracle of being born again, I warn you that it’s impossible for you to truly joy in God.
Second, as I rejoice in Who my God is, I’m constantly drawn to His Truth. Every time I open His Word I find new reasons to confidently trust Him. Natasha Crain and I discussed children’s devotionals in episode 65, but I’m really looking forward to sharing with you my own personal Bible study plan. I love it because it drives you to encounter God every time you open the Bible. And I as I learn more about Who my God is, I’m armed with fear-fighting ammunition.
So, I rejoice in my relationship with God, I soak myself in His Word, and then the third thing I do is I go out and parent in light of that reality.
For example, when I remember that God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound-mind, I don’t anticipate the worst out of my kids or the eight at-risk teens living in my home. Love hopes all things and believes all things, and fear of man is always a sin. How many of you are living in fear of what your children may say or do next? It’s not because your child is so scary, it’s because your God isn’t powerful enough to handle the situation. By the way, if you’re in the category, please go back and listen to episode 40. It’s called “Fearless Parenting.”
Also, when I consider Romans 8:28, I cannot lie to myself by saying this difficulty with my child is a bad thing. Instead, I’m reminded how Hebrews tells me that God chastens those whom He loves. God is providing me opportunities to parent my child in order to save them from future destruction. Comfortable or not, I’m thankful for that.
I could go on and on because nearly everything I learn in the Bible can be applied to my parenting.
I frequently experience meltdowns from the teen boys in my home. Imagine an elementary temper-tantrum times puberty. It’s quite a site, and to be fair, it can be really scary. And when I respond in a fleshly way, I experience anger, fear, worry, and depression. But when I refuse to let this boy steal the joy that God has given me; when I remember that my happiness is not tied up in what this kid thinks of me or how he acts; when I focus on the fact that all I need is my Lord, I can patiently, lovingly, and peacefully respond to him with the thing he needs most . . . Truth from the Bible.
I know theses examples seem simple, but the answer you seek really is. You don’t have peace because your joy is in something other than God.
Everyone who refuse to found their joy in God has rooted their happiness in themselves.
Every fleshly response is — in one way or another — people trying to capture joy by having things go their own way. By the way, if that’s your source of joy I can promise you two things: 1. You’ll never have lasting joy, and 2. Your source of joy is no more mature than your two-year old’s.
It doesn’t matter if all you want is obedience from your kids, harmony in the form of no conflict, good grades, hard workers . . . it doesn’t matter. If your joy is anything other than God, then the moment you don’t get what you want your peace and happiness will be gone.
The only way to have eternal peace is to find your joy in the eternal God.
“But, Aaron, God doesn’t make me happy.”
I’m sorry to hear that. I strongly recommend you do two things:
Bury yourself in God’s Word. You obviously don’t know Him well enough.
Get yourself into a good, solid, Bible-preaching church.
If God doesn’t give you joy, I fear for your future and the future of your family.
But rejoicing in God is only one of the Peace Prerequisites. There are more, and I look forward to sharing another with you next time.
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God commands peace and provides the power necessary to achieve it in our parenting.
But we have to do our part.
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