Parents, if your desire is to see your children’s hearts become responsive to the gospel, the place to start is with your own heart. There are 3 core heart-attitudes to cultivate that will help mold your heart to be God’s instrument for presenting Christ to your children.
The first attitude is humility. Humility is the source of the power that you need to represent Christ well to your children. Humility means that you trust God and follow him. Pride means that you trust yourself and refuse to rely on God’s truth. When you don’t rely on God’s direction for parenting you become from friends with the world. In Chapter 4, James warns that this friendship makes you an enemy of God.
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
Without humility and consciously relying on God’s power you will face the active resistance of God in parenting. This is something to consider when you become frustrated.
The second heart-attitude to cultivate is a commitment to present the gospel as the basis of your parenting and not performance. Obedience is not a prerequisite for acceptance and approval of your children. You must be committed to the gospel. Biblical discipline is always an appeal to the gospel and never about approval based on performance and obedience. If your children perceive they are valued based on well they obey, they will lose sight of the reality that Jesus’ obedience is the only basis of acceptance with God.
Constant prayer is the third heart-attitude essential for being a faithful parent. This is not just a nice idea, it is the command of the Holy Spirit! It is a devastating error to distance the Holy Spirit from obedience. The commands of the Spirit in the New Testament are intrusive to the comfortable relationship we have with our flesh. The Holy Spirit is the gracious disrupter separating us from this complacency. You and I need to be in constant prayer so that we will present obedience in the light of the gospel rather then in the light of gaining our approval. Obedience is to be presented as a response to the gospel instead of a means to gain approval and affirmation.
These three heart-attitudes will wonderfully rock your parenting world: humility, commitment, constant prayer.
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.