Five Things Every Christian Parent Should Ponder

1) God has given you charge over not only their bodies, but also their souls.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 implores us as parents to guide our children into spiritual truth. If you leave this to the “experts” at church, they may begin to see their faith as a Sunday thing and not something lived out during the week. After all, if parents don’t talk about “God-things” with them during the week, they won’t see it as important for their daily lives either.

2) Model for your children how a wife and husband should treat one another. 

My kids “gross” out when Christi and I show any PDA. You would think we were putting hot coals in their eyeballs! Yet, I know that behind their disgust are happy children who feel safe and secure having a mother and father who love each other. A young man needs to see how to treat a woman by the way his daddy treats his mom. A young woman needs to know how to respect and love a man by the way her mom respects and loves her dad. I hope my daughter will want to marry a guy one day who treats her like I try to treat Christi. There is a good chance that will be her standard and expectation.

3) Don’t just focus on their behavior, but focus on their hearts. 

Our goal as parents is not just to get our kids to act right in public. It’s not even to get them to act right at home. We want to go deeper with them. God desires for us to show them the importance of right motive behind their actions. Why do they do what they do? How does the Gospel motivate their thoughts and behaviors? If we just drill into our kids the need to do right things without teaching them the importance of proper motive then, at best, we make them legalists — at worst, hypocrites.

4) Train your children to be measured by grace and not by their performance.

In Exodus 34, God reversed Himself to His people as a God who is compassionate and slow to anger. Yet, God also punished the wicked. His approach is balanced between grace and discipline. Your children need to see you love them for who they are and not what they do. Our kids don’t need to feel we care for them less if they don’t “perform” properly. We give them grace not because they deserve it, but because God has given grace to us. If our kids think we care more for them when they are less of a bother to us then we teach them their value is earned. This flies in the face of what the Gospel teaches.

5) Teach your children to be sensitive to the effects of sin and not desensitized to them.

Everywhere we turn our eyes are filled with immorality. Whether it be commercials, shows, Internet, news, magazines, or billboards, we are inundated with sex, violence, and all kinds of debauchery. Unless we are extremely intentional, we will become desensitized to the effects of these images on our souls. The effect on our children should scare us. If our children become desensitized then sin will become commonplace, and they will live lives of compromise and justification. This is an epidemic in our world today.

Criticism is What You Need to Grow


If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. Matthew 18:15

There are many things we love to receive: a gift, a pat on the back, a million dollars! Some things we never want to be given: a pink slip, toothache, shark bite, or criticism!

Please, no shark bites. But truth that is criticism can be just what you need to grow. Sure, it doesn’t feel good to have someone call your issues out. We try really hard to debunk what they have said because we don’t want to feel the shame that comes over us for being flawed. We do not like to have our issues called out, but truth is, criticism is good for us when it is given in the right spirit, coming from someone whose motive is pure and gracious.

Criticism gives great perspective. One person said, “Criticism polishes my mirror.” It makes things that are fuzzy in my perception of myself come into focus. We often have blind spots and don’t realize how we are perceived, what our facial expressions communicate, how what we say is taken, and many other things that we do not realize people are seeing as flaws in us.

When someone has the courage to reveal it to us in love, we would be foolish to disregard or discredit what they are saying. We should receive it humbly and thankfully. Some of my biggest moments of growth came when someone cared enough about me to tell me the truth, and I received it. Sure it stung, but I grew because they said it and I had the courage to receive it.

Here are some things to consider when receiving constructive criticism:

1) Do not take it personally. If they care about you, they are not attacking you personally or trying to hurt you. They want to help you.

2) Feedback makes you stronger. One of the most valuable gifts, and one given sparingly in complete honesty, is feedback. Feedback that is critical might hurt our pride, but ultimately, we should want to be better and not deceived into thinking we are better than we are. Hurt my pride before you let me keep making the same mistake over and over again!

3) It expands your perspective. You just can’t see things sometimes. They are just out of your peripheral vision. Until someone points it out, you don’t realize certain things about you. If you are hypersensitive and insecure, you will run from criticism because you can’t face the fact that you are flawed. This is tragic, though, as you miss opportunity to increase your range of sight and see yourself more clearly.

4) It challenges our people-pleasing. This is a big one for me, personally. When someone contradicts me, I do not need to see that as persecution. It is exhausting trying to live for the approval of everyone. Being able to give and receive criticism is a way of living healthier in your relationships.

5) It deepens your relationship and trust. When someone has the courage to approach you in love and critique you, and you respond correctly, I guarantee your relationship will grow to a deeper, more trusting level. That is a person you want to keep close to you. It is a rare find, a friend like that.

Let me sum it up: If you are not open to constructive criticism, then you are not open to growing as a person.

Sacred Home: Challenge To Parents

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For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children. Psalm 78:5-6

As infected saints, parenting is a struggle. We know we don’t own our kids but are given stewardship over them by God.  Still, we are sinful adults training sinful children. Amazing, then, that God created mother and father roles as essential to raising children. Moms and dads play unique roles that, together, make a powerful partnership in leading their children. Both are crucial. God is gracious and can work through a single mom or dad, but a partnership between both parents gives the child the best chance of growing up in the ways of the Lord.

Here are a few ways this fleshes out:

1) Together, father and mother bring a combination of masculinity and femininity to the home that represents the fuller image of God. This lead to healthy children who best understand what male and female are meant to be within the design and will of God.

2) Spiritual neutrality in the home is nonsense. I have heard some parents say they don’t want to force their religion on their children. They want them to be free to make up their own mind. This is foolish thinking! If you bring your children up this way, they will likely be neutral with God, too. They will not follow God, but they will try not to offend him either. This leads to spiritual death.

3) One hour of Sunday school in a 168 hour week doesn’t cut it. If you are trusting in Sunday school to train up your child in the ways of God, you are going to need your child to move in with the teacher! One hour is not enough to sufficiently train them to be godly. The home is the training ground; the dad and mom are the primary teachers.

4) Dads are the spiritual thermometer in the home. If you want your wife and kids to follow God, to listen to His Word and practice what it says, then you have to lead the way. Most dads would like to leave the spiritual work to the moms, but that is not how God ordained it.

5) Set spiritual goals for your children, and work to see them reached. Setting goals makes you accountable before God to work toward them. It helps keep you from getting distracted by the many pitfalls of this world. It helps you not to focus in on good things to the neglect of the great things of God.

6) Take your kids on dates. I regularly take my daughter on daddy-daughter dates. I use this time to teach her how men should treat women. I know these times with me show her she is special. If she feels my love and attention she will not seek unhealthy attention from boys.  Moms, this works well with boys, too!

Parents, knowing the importance of our roles and the stewardship required of us, we need to be intentional about creating sacred moments for our children.  I am sure there are many other good habits that can be established in the home to foster spiritual growth within the family. Feel free to comment below and offer ideas you have heard of or practice.  ~ Dax

 

Repentance is not being sorry for the things you have done, but being sorry you are the kind of person that does such things.

The Deeper Journey by Robert Mulholland Jr.

Repentance is something we don’t talk about much in the church but it was the appropriate response to our sin in the Bible. Repentance is not just about turning away from a particular sin. That is a band aid fix. Repentance is about going deeper, to the root of the weed and pulling from there. It’s about Jesus confronting our love affair with sin and our attitude of rebellion. That’s where God wants to do his work. He does not just want to tackle lust, anger, laziness, and other sins that stir up in us; He wants to bring the whole operation down on its head and remove our love for sin and motive for rebellion. That is the work of repentance in us.