The problem with good Christian parents is that we still try to parent in our own strength. Let's face it don't you get tired of refereeing every fight that your children have? The little guys are so irresponsible. They mess up everything you have planned in your perfect little world, home and the sofa, well one day you can buy a new one. By the way, about the time they become teens the old sofa will do just fine because they still spill stuff everywhere.
So let's talk about parenting out of your own strength and resources and abilities. When you do this you are teaching your children to live their lives the same way. To do it on their own. When I do the parenting on my own resources I and my child operate on "behavior, performance and external motivations." When I rely on Christ to work in me then I am teaching our children to "pursue Christ, relating to each other on a heart level, and being motivated internally."
How did we get to parenting on our own strength?
- Our parents probably did the same and we were trained by them and learned from them.
- From our own fears and insecurities. Let's face it don't we all fear that others will think bad about us if our kids aren't perfect? (by the way perfect kids aren't natural.)
- We discipline in the methods we know best that leads to behavior modification but not a change of heart.
- We view success and then we move our kids that direction, be it from teams, to dances, to dance teams, cheer leading; to us living our lives through their young lives in success.
The check list mentality that we are looking at is legalism. Legalism creates a difficult and negative impact on the family. If you hear yourself saying these phrases, look out:
- Guilt. "You ought to...you should... or you could" are phrases we use to say our kids just don't quite measure up.
- Fear. The fear that we instill in our children results from our won fear. When fear drives us, our method of rules and regulations, and the kids mess up we punish. (not discipline but punish.)
- Performance. How easily we are saying that our kids are not measuring up to our standards.
So how do we do this? We learn to parent by dieing to self as described in scriptures.
Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
GRACE is the word that we have to live through. You see God throws open the door and moves us into the freedom of his grace. Think about it this way:
- God accepts us, and we please him simply because Christ's Spirit lives in us.
- We can rely on the Spirit to supply us with all of his resources so that we are able to follow Christ faithfully and find fulfillment in him.
- Practically, we have the freedom to use his vast array of resources to internally motivate us and our children.
So what am I saying to you about parenting and your abilities? I am saying that you have everything you need to parent your children through Christ Jesus.
Think of it this way, if we want our children to respond to God and the wooing of the Holy Spirit in their lives how can they do that if we are always telling them what to do and harping on them when they don't meet our demands? As we teach our children, let's teach them to hear the Holy Spirit and that the focus of our discipline, actions and our conversations with them shows them how to hear the voice of God and not just my demands on them.
Our grace goal is to help our children become strong in the spirit as they learn to trust in the Holy Spirit that resides within them. Then as they get older and face more socially, morally, and spiritually demanding situations, the will begin to process the inner convictions to make Godly and Spirit filled decisions.
Parents, all of our other parenting issues will flow from this one decision about grace. This decision will determine how we operate as a family. Once we admit our inability to raise our children and desire to raise them by God's grace, all of God's resources become available to us.
2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
If it is all in Christ, then we give it all to Christ. so that our all in all is Christ and not ourselves anylonger. This way we can stop Parenting Out of Our Spiritual Guides.