As parents, God has called you to be the authority in your child’s life. As you proceed with the tasks of loving and nurturing, modeling, training, teaching, providing for, correcting, and disciplining, you do so with authority imparted to you from God. In Genesis 18:19, God says, “I have chosen him (Abraham), so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord…” If you are keeping the way of the Lord, you must know what Scripture says. In Shepherding a Child’s Heart, I quote T. Tripp, “The purpose for your authority in the lives of your children is not to hold them under your power, but to empower them to be self-controlled people living freely under the authority of God.” Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise becomes wise.” Parenting is imparting wisdom to our children through word and deed as we shepherd their hearts. May your children walk with their wise parents!
So, how exactly does this work in the practical day-to-day? Here are a few points for pondering:
- Explain to your children that your correction is out of love for them (Proverbs 13:24) and out of a desire for them to understand life according to God’s ways. It is an expression of love that speaks to the fact that you love enough to take the time to correct their behavior and their attitude of the heart. All behavior flows from the heart, and wise parents unearth the heart issue.
- One thing that helped me as I was learning to apply God’s Word to my parenting was to write on a sticky note the many Proverbs that spoke about rearing children. (IG post this week!).
- Correcting and disciplining is an opportunity to teach a child God’s standard for a response to x, y, z. It is not an expression of anger over the child’s sin; rather, it is the seizing of a teachable moment and an opportunity to pray for and with your child. While this takes time and interrupts schedules, isn’t our heavenly father just as patient with us…over and over again?
- As we grow in our faith-walk, let us access our spiritual tools with our children – prayer, Scripture, and the powerful message of the Gospel unto salvation and abundant life.
- Our desire for biblical parenting is to honor God and not for appearances in the eyes of others. As we begin to move our children toward the grace of God and their need for a Savior, tell your children the beautiful story of God’s great love for all people. Share about Adam and Eve’s sin problem, and then unfold the beautiful redemption story of the Gospel in your own words – how God made a way back to fellowship with Him through Jesus! Just as you have history with your family of origin (grandparents, uncles, aunts, and so forth…), likewise, you have the historical story of mankind and creation – HIS story (His-tory) that we are privileged to share with our children. While a Christmas classic, a beautiful story to read any time of year is entitled One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham. A lost boy comes upon a mountain cabin where a lady tells him of the Christmas story, beginning with Creation and ending with the Resurrection.
As God’s ambassadors in the lives of our children, the magnitude of that responsibility should cause every parent to bow the knee in humility before the King of kings and Lord of lords. We have been given a biblical mandate to shepherd the heart of an eternal being. That is a sobering thought and a high calling as we depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance, empowering, and God’s Word as our Manual.