Do you have the only truly acceptable mindset for a Christian parent to have?
The main word in that sentence is the word CHRISTIAN. It dictates everything else about the sentence.
As a CHRISTIAN, you are:
- a student of the teachings of CHRIST.
- committed to putting them into practice in your life (and the lives of family members under your care).
- eager to be pleasing to CHRIST in every way you can.
All of those things are important about you, as a person. They guide the way you think and the way you live.
“CHRISTIAN” is the most important, eternally significant description that anyone could ever apply to you.
So how does a CHRISTIAN go about the task of parenting?
Is CHRISTIAN PARENTING defined by the types of things you value in your home?
Is it defined by the standards you hold to?
Those are good things, but they are not the MAIN thing.
Being a CHRISTIAN, and therefore, a CHRISTIAN PARENT is entirely about IDENTITY.
- You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Your very life is now intimately connected to the life of Jesus (Colossians 3:1-3)
- As a result, the WAY that you live (and the way that you PARENT), FLOWS OUT OF THE FACT OF WHO YOU ARE!
Let me say it another way: You don’t DO good things “X, Y, & Z” in order to “be a good Christian.”
You DO good things “X, Y, & Z” because as a CHRISTIAN, it is IN YOUR NATURE to do them.
The fruit of the Spirit (Who lives inside you and has made you a new creation) is:
- and a host of other things…
In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul isn’t giving a prescription for your behavior, he’s giving a DESCRIPTION OF YOUR NEW NATURE.
Do you see the difference?
How the issue of identity in Christ impacts CHRISTIAN PARENTING
Part of parenting is establishing boundaries, rules, and guidelines that our growing children are required to follow. We establish those rules and boundaries for their good. We enforce them for their good. Every good parent does that, even non-believing parents.
But here is the difference: The WAY you go about doing it as a CHRISTIAN PARENT, is much, much different than the way your non-believing counterpart would go about it.
YOU are not going to stop with the rule.
YOU are not going to enforce the rule and move on.
YOU are going to talk about the REASON behind the rule (the child’s identity in Christ).
What you’re doing is training your child how to THINK about themselves, as new creations in Christ. You want them to learn, as they grow up, that their behavior should ALWAYS be consistent with their identity. The more you talk about who Jesus has created them to be, the more they will be governed by their own hearts, to live consistently with that identity.
What if your child is not a believer yet?
If your child has not expressed their own personal trust in Jesus yet, you’ll do much of the same…
- Require right behavior according to Godly standards
- Enforce that behavior with loving discipline
- Bring God into the conversation every time, revealing what HE thinks about the situation
- Discuss their wrong behavior in terms of sin, that comes from a sinful heart
- Encourage them to accept Jesus’ offer to make them a new creation
Faith is not something you can or should force on your child. But as they see your earnest convictions and see them lovingly enforced, the Holy Spirit will do His work of transformation in their hearts over time.by