(Note: In light of the social media buzz regarding the VMA Awards on MTV and the “performance” of Billy Rays daughter…our Song of Solomon post that was scheduled for today will be postponed until later in the week so that we can address some Christian parenting issues while the iron is hot)
As A Christian Parent….
I am called to a high standard. The eyes of my heart have been opened as the grace of Christ has been poured upon me. I have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit and the scriptures have been illuminated. Due to this fact, I can now see the commands and precepts that God has given me regarding the raising of my children clearly. I’ll either respond to His Word in glad submission or outright rebellion. Either way, I will give an account.
I am empowered and equipped to obey Gods Word concerning parenting my children. Not only have I been blessed to see the instruction given to me but I have received “power when the Spirit has come upon me”. In my own strength, parenting according to the Word is an impossibility. In Christ, we can do all things.
I have God given authority in my home. My children do not dictate the flow of life. What they say does not “go”. They do not rule or reign. They may cry, pout, stomp and sulk but they will not usurp my authority. I am not first in command, as the Lord Jesus occupies that throne, but He has given me charge over the family He has blessed me with. If they rebel against my authority and win the day, they’ll eventually rebel against the authority of our Sovereign God. That will not end well. Because I deeply love them and desire Gods best for their lives, they can not and will not have authority in my home.
I am ok with being abnormal. Here in the western world, the common, average, normal parenting is being largely disengaged with the everyday lives of our children, particularly their spiritual lives. Normal parenting views a successful day as one absent of a yelling match even if that means having no meaningful conversation at all. Todays “normal” parent has low expectations and even lower moral standards. The abnormal parent stands out in this depraved culture. The abnormal parent is often ridiculed and frowned upon. This criticism sometimes comes from a world without Christ but most often comes from th mouths of those we’d least expect it from…other brothers and sisters in Christ or even family. We’re regarded as “stuck in the old days”, to strict or over-bearing. In the midst of the critics, take heart abnormal parent. You are investing deeply in the lives of your children, you’re still gathering around the table for dinner and engaging in robust conversation. You’re praying together, living life together, pursuing righteousness together. Abnormal is ok. It’s commanded. Great is your reward.
I am not that “cool”. Growing up, I remember one of my friends parents were regarded by all of my pals and I as the “coolest parents in the world“. We all went to their house as often as possible. They allowed us “freedom” to pretty much do as we pleased. They even assisted us in doing it. I remember wishing my parents were more like them. Truth be told, now in Christ and a parent myself, I realize they really weren’t “cool”. They were actually just horrible parents. We considered them “cool” because, by their own design, they had no more authority than us. The difference in my friends parents and my own…we actually respected mine. As a christian parent, my goal is not to be the “cool one”. There are rules in my home and there are consequences to breaking them. It’s not “anything goes” here. There are limits on computer time and content. We’re those parents that check every text message our child sends or receives, has pass codes to Facebook accounts and will in no way, shape or form allow sinful behavior to be viewed on the TV (neither by our children or ourselves, lest we be hypocrites). When one of our children has a friend over, which is a weekly occurrence, it’s understood that the same requirements & expectations we have for our own children apply to them. For this reason, we’re not always viewed as cool or as the neighborhood BFF and we rejoice in that fact.
I’m on a mission. My mission is clear: Introduce my children to the Savior and disciple them in the faith. Now, that doesn’t mean that our family life consist of sitting in the living room for hours on end with covered heads and veiled faces singing hymns and washing each others feet. We go to school and play ball and hunt and fish and…well, you name it. We are actively enjoying the life God has given us. We get along and we disagree. We set aside time to play and time to clean rooms. Yes, personally, we are a Pastors family but contrary to poular opinion, we are engaged in those regular, everyday activities that every other family is engaged in. Like most parents, we have high hopes for our children regarding the educational achievements as well as their recreational accolades. Where the Christian family sticks out like a sore thumb is that those things, as worthy and important as they may be, are not our top priority for our children. The reason is simple. We can push our kids to the top of their class, doing everything we can to ensure they eventually wear the robe of the Valedictorian so they may get into a top school or coach our kids with intensity and passionate desire, signing them up for every league and getting them into specialized coaching programs and clinics so they may hoist a MVP trophy and have every D-1 school clamoring to sign them to a scholarship…we may succeed in that…but fail in what matters most: Our children possesing a passionate, growing, eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.
All the “other things” are good and noble. They matter and we should work toward great goals. But as a Christian parent, hear me please, nothing compares with knowing my children are making a difference for Christ here on this earth and will one day join me in Heaven. Nothing. As a christian parent, this is my top priority.
As a Christian parent, we have an extraordinarily high calling. There will be much failure but there’s even more grace. There will be much ridicule but even more reward.
May The Arrows That God Has Placed In Your Quiver Fly Straight And Hit Their Mark,
(Recommended reading regarding this post: Deuteronomy Chapter 6)