I crave peace. Especially in parenting. God’s word is a lamp unto our feet. A light showing us how to parent, how to be good stewards of the time God has given us with our children. We will not do it perfectly, but when we look to His Word to teach us, admonish us, and encourage us, we will find everything we need. Books are fine, in their place. Friends are good for wisdom, in their place. But nothing has what God’s Word has for us. There is no formula for what we come across in parenting, but with each child we can take them to the throne of grace and ask him, as Creator God, to show us what to do in every situation. Here are a few ways where God is teaching us, through His Word, how to navigate parenting.
- Discipline our children. “He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.” Proverbs 5:23. Disciplining for wrong behavior, yes, but also remembering that discipline comes from the word disciple. We are to disciple our children using the word of God. His instruction. It’s important to teach our children self-control (sometimes over and over and over) and self-discipline, to build good habits, good habits in the Lord so they are not LED ASTRAY by their own great folly. Do not let them go without correction AND instruction. How? “Let the word of Christ dwell in you RICHLY as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” Colossians 3:16 We must have God’s word in us so that it will come out of us in these times. God’s word will light up our parenting path! “For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.” Proverbs 6:23
2. Let Peace Rule Us. As we parent our children, God’s word tells us, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 The Moody Bible Commentary says, “The attitude of peace the Christ alone gives-in place of the attitude of bitterness and quarrelsomeness. This attitude is to “rule” (as an umpire) in all human relationships.” Peace is a state of tranquility; exemption from rage; peace and harmony between individuals; security and safety because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous. When we live in a state of peace that Christ gives, and we are thankful, we take on a mindset of choosing peace. We choose peace over anger and quarreling. We have a choice every time we feel anger rising, to make the call of peace. This does not take away from disciplining, but it creates an environment where we are providing harmony. An environment where our children feel emotionally safe to accept discipline and see the love of Christ flowing out of us.
3. What to Put On and what to Put Off. God’s word tells us to put OFF anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language and to put ON compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love. (Colossians 3:8 & 3:12). When we feel anger, put on compassion. When we feel rage, put on kindness. When we feel the desire to say things we shouldn’t to our kids, put on patience. I keep a list of this in my kitchen window so I can run to it when I feel these fleshly desires rising up. I definitely don’t always choose what I’m supposed to, but I’m hoping to create better habits. God’s word tells us to put TO DEATH the attitudes and desires of our sinful nature. They are not helpful for teaching or discipling our children. His ways are. His ways give us and our children LIGHT and it’s done in GOODNESS.
4. Take care of our sheep. The Pharisees and teachers saw Jesus welcoming and eating with sinners. “Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15: 2-4 The Lord gave me this passage when I didn’t know what to do with one of my children. This child had an attitude that needed help, and the Lord taught me to welcome my children, even when they sin, and if one is struggling to go after them. To not continue in every day things when one of my sheep were struggling. Drop everything to help them, teach them, and correct them. It may not happen immediately, but I am to trust and rest in God and that He and His word will change and transform in His timing. “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” 1 Peter 5:2-3. The Lord is our Great Shepherd and we can look to him in how to lead our children when we don’t know what to do. He is the creator of them, of the heavens, of the sun; he named all the stars-he KNOWS what they need and he will lead us and teach us as we and our children need it.
5. Know that it is HARD WORK. When we are committed to doing God’s work it will be hard. BUT we get to call on Jesus for help. He wants us to teach our children about him. He wants them to be encouraged in heart and united in love. Paul’s words have given me purpose in parenting, “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I LABOR, struggling with all HIS ENERGY which so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:28-29. And later, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order the they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2 When we want our children to truly know God and live a life for him, it will be a lot of work on our parts-teaching, being examples, resting and trusting God in it all, but we get to tap into the POWER of Christ to do it. We can’t do it all, BUT HE CAN.
I sometimes want to control everything-all their behaviors and attitudes. But the Lord has been teaching me and correcting me lately. He has been teaching me that when I am trying (it never actually works out how I want it to anyway), but when I am trying to control everything my kids are doing, then I am leaving NO ROOM for Him to work on them…and me. That when I’m reacting quickly in my flesh, it leaves NO ROOM for God to guide by his Spirit. I am to die to my fleshly desires, cut them off, and allow the spirit to control my reaction instead. When we let go of that control by taking a breath and allowing the Holy Spirit to move through us and give us wisdom for each time we need it, then we will see the power demonstrated in us through Christ. There is no greater power than that.