It is the desire of all God honoring parents to want their children to live God pleasing lives. The duty of godly parents is to, first of all, conduct their lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27). That is; living in an authentic manner that can be modeled by others. Part of the parenting work is one part instruction and two parts setting an example of patterns.
A pattern is something to be copied/imitated in action or attitude. The duty of setting a pattern is a high duty.
Parents, be patterns… (patterns, not pretensions)
- Let your children see in you the patterns of godliness.
- Let your children see in you the patterns of holiness.
- Let your children see genuine patterns of compassion.
- Let your children see your horror of sin.
- Let your children see you value Christ.
- Let you children hear your love for Christ’s church.
- Let your children hear you sing praise to God.
- Let your children hear your cracking voice when you speak of the holiness of God.
- Let your children see you smile at the news of God’s grace.
- Let your children see in you a pattern of prayer.
- Let them hear your humble repentance.
- Let them watch you conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel.
Next time you are in conversation, don’t forget there are intentional observers watching and listening to you and are about to imitate your words, body language, phrasing, tone, eye rolling, facial expressions and all such.
It’s exhausting to be on spot at all times. You really never get to let your guard down (and it’s best that you don’t). Let them see in you a striving toward joy in the Lord. Let them see a pattern of desire to conduct your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel; not because you deserve the gospel, but because of Christ’s work on your behalf.
O dear parents, let them see how they should walk. They may choose to reject you and your God, but not because you didn’t set a pattern of God honoring conduct.
Go, show them who your Lord is; they are watching you, always.
Renee has one of these freakish cats that have no hair. It’s a long story of how I told her we would never have one of those cats because they cost money and how I told her many times, “I’m not paying money for a cat.” Short back story: She found a loop-hole in what I said. We did not pay for this poor, hairless cat. We did however have to drive over 600 miles and spend money on a motel room. All in all, I paid for a hairless cat.
But that’s not the point here. Hairless or full of hair, cats are known for their curiosity. It’s normal for a cat to explore and even question what something is.
That’s the long way around to this; The world around us becomes familiar and commonplace to us as we age and grow to love our “creature comforts”. But the world is nearly an exhaustless wonder to children whose minds are alert and curious. As a matter of fact, a child that asks no questions, is no normal child. Questions even seem to be signs of mental health and normal activity.
This curiosity is normal and even has a level of normal “innocence”. But don’t be fooled. This curiosity will quickly, if not already, begin to show itself in a small child as a craving to satisfy a sinful flesh.
A duty for a parent is to learn to encourage a curiosity of one kind and expose the curiosity of another kind for what it is.
The duty of a parent is to show a child that they have an inborn propensity for sin.
Encourage questions like;
- Where did I come from?
- Where am I going?
- What am I in this world for?
- How should I treat other people?
- What is my relationship to God?
- How will I overcome sin and temptation?
- How can I become more Christlike?
These and thousands upon thousands of other questions are natural questions for a young person to begin asking as they grow into young adulthood. And, I argue, are questions that should be answered. But more than just being answered, they should be taught how to answer these questions truthfully and biblically. Bad advice and counsel has wrecked many.
Parenting is no easy task. I don’t know of a parent who wishes they had not done some things differently. By the shear grace of God, parents actually do a lot of things right. But, don’t grow arrogant in thinking that there are things you have done as a parent that have not been helpful or will not be helpful if you continue in your own stubborn ways.
As a child grows they need parents who understand that their authority never diminishes, but does transform.
An infant is dependent upon a parent for every decision. But when a math equation is being worked on at age 16, that same child needs more to be taught how to discover the solution than to be told the solution. The authority of a parent remains constant while the duty is to largely teach a child to ask good questions and how to find truthful answers.
Dad and mom, are you as diligently preparing your children to know God as you are in the important matters of reading, math, science, writing?
An important thing I want to remind you of and warn you about is; Don’t forget that your child’s curiosity is not so innocent as they begin to search answers about sexuality and relationships. Be alert. Be on guard.
Be sure you are teaching your sons and daughters where to find truthful answers to their blooming spiritual curiosity. Make sure they understand that their emotional heart can not be trusted.
The best homes on earth are schools of continuing education, with lessons only being partially learned at times. It is important that careful attention is given to all lessons now (both secular and spiritual) because the opportunity to learn them will soon be gone.
It is no small thing that a serious misfortune would come upon your household as the graduates leave without mastering the lessons of most significance. What if they’ve not been trained to know what is sinful? What if they don’t know of the authority of God? What if God and his revelation (the Bible) is treated with such smallness and of no significance to know who God is? Their curiosity to know God will create a god that seems palatable to their undisciplined likes and dislikes.
A great need is needed among our young today. Who is teaching them to be self-disciplined? self-governed? all while submitting to the authority of God? God has established institutions for this; it’s your home and it’s your church.
Here is a biblical teaching that is nearly non-existent in the modern church. It is the matter of being a self-governing people.
I not talking about congregational rule (polity of how a church is structured). I’m talking about mitigation and mediation among the saints at the local church level. (1 Corinthians 6)
In 1982 US Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger said:
“One reason our courts have become overburdened is that Americans are increasingly turning to the courts for relief from a range of personal distresses and anxieties. Remedies for personal wrongs that once were considered the responsibility of institutions other than the courts are now boldly asserted as legal “entitlements.” The courts have been expected to fill the void created by the decline of church, family and neighborhood unity.” (the Peacemaker, by Ken Sande, page 54)
Is it because churches don’t know about 1 Corinthians 6 or is it that churches know about it and just ignore it? Or worse, is it because there are no wise men among us? Either place, it shows a lack of respect for the word of God.
I know part of the argument is that churches have not done a good job historically of handling judicial matters very fairly because of corruption.
Just because our historic track record is not very good is no reason to not respect the teaching of Scripture.
- What does a formal church litigation process even look like?
- Does your church have a formal process that all members know about and agree to adhere?
- What church matters are being relegated to the secular courthouse/government for a judge to give court ordered mandates and general public welfare?
- What if divorce court rarely had to handle divorce hearings from church members?
- What if welfare matters of children of professing Christians was a matter the church handled?
- What if Christians took care of their own when in need of food and basic needs rather than secular government agencies?
It seems like a practical and beneficial process for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to adhere to the teaching of Scripture, and in doing so be a blessing to the communities we live in rather than a burden.
What if churches stopped thinking that a block party will make the community like us better and regain her duty of self-governing. I’m not suggesting that a free hot dog day for the neighbors is a bad idea, I’m just saying that the 1 Corinthians 6 issue is a biblical matter.
Justice Scalia made this observation:
“I think this passage [1 Corinthians 6:1-8] has something to say about the proper Christian attitude toward civil litigation. Paul is making two points: first, he says that the mediation of a mutual friend, such as the parish priest, should be sought before parties run off to the law courts… I think we are too ready today to seek vindication or vengeance through adversary proceedings rather than peace through mediation… Good Christians, just as they are slow to anger, should be slow to sue.” (the Peacemaker, by Ken Sande, page 55)
I would like to hear from anyone who knows of a church that has formal steps to help members follow the teachings of self-governing such as 1 Corinthians 6.
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