Tuesday, January 5, 2010

gospel powered parenting

i am more than excited to be a mother.  i would adopt tomorrow if God allowed.  but contrasting this desire is a seemingly endless process we have to go through before being approved as parents.  however, i am also grateful for this in between time of unknown length until God decides to make us parents.

because i am a realist [some would call it a pessimist] i know that life will get a lot harder when we adopt, which is why i really am grateful for these last few months with so much freedom and discretionary time.

furthermore, i know that another purpose of this time is to prepare us for parenting, the gravity of which has only recently been hitting me.

Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parentingtoday i started the book "gospel powered parenting" by william farley, which i am excited about and learning a lot from.

farley repeatedly drives home the importance of the cross being the power behind and motivation for parenting.  he writes,

"in my experience, the most effective parents have a clear grasp of the cross and its implications for daily life.  the implications are manifold.  they include a fear of God, a marriage that preaches the gospel to its children, deeply ingrained humility, gratitude, joy, firmness coupled with affection, and consistent teaching modeled by parents daily"

he also lays out five underlying assumptions that should be true of our view of parenting, if we want to be successful:

  • parenting is not easy, and we will not be perfect.  [this is why we ourselves need the grace that comes through the gospel]
  • God is sovereign, but he uses means [something we will never be able to wrap our mind around].  we are completely unable to make our children christians.  but God often chooses the means of faithful parenting to bring children to Himself.
  • a good offense is infinitely better than a good defense.  many parents falsely assume that their children are saved, but dont trust the power of that salvation and instead build up a strong fort to protect their children from the world.  however, gospel powered parenting continually seeks to change a child's heart... and when their heart is changed, they wont desire the things of the world.  some defense/protection from the world is necessary, but the deeper concern is ask God to give your child a heart that is "seized by the power of the great affection".  Jesus:  "no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" john 6:44
  • gospel powered parents need to understand "new birth".  praying a prayer to accept christ is not a new birth.  new birth is initiated by God, it is not a decision by a human being.  the new birth can be detected by its fruit... ie a life of repentance, hunger for God, and increasing holiness. "no one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep sinning because he has been born of God." 1 john 3:9
  • effective parents are not child-centered, they are God-centered.  furthermore, the marriage is a higher priority than the children.  they are willing to look different than the world.
which of these things, if any, did your parents display?

if you are a parent, which of these 5 assumptions do you struggle with?  which areas has God given you a heart of faith in?

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