For the body of Christ, our mission to make disciples, begins at home. Never lose site of the mission! Let your own personal discipline include a constant reminder that there is a great battle going on. That battle is for our children. You are IN Christ and there is nothing that will change that glorious gift of grace. The enemy has no weapon to fight that; however, he will try diligently to steal your joy and shift your focus to mundane issues and problems of everyday life, which, in the light of eternity are meaningless.
It’s less about your child’s schedule, wardrobe, private school, and behavior. Instead, it’s more about prayer, modeling Christ-like behavior in the home, and pointing him/her to Jesus in every instance. When I say battle that is exactly what I mean, warfare. Tiring, grueling unappreciated hard work! No one warned you when you got that little bundle of joy it would mean becoming a raging bull warrior against the wiles of the enemy.
A daily fight will mean setting aside your own expectations of the perfect family. It means before you blow your top, you stop to sort out what is really going on in the battle. For example, teaching your child to pick up their toys is a good thing, but the underlying truth of that, is learning simple obedience, which will point to learning to obey Christ. If you make it about you having a clean house, you missed it. If you have a tirade because you have asked 500 times, you missed it. If you expect your child’s obedience while walking in disobedience yourself, you missed it. They see you every day. They are not blind to your own hypocrisy. Take every teaching moment! Using “Because I said so” is all about you. Saying, “Because God gave us these toys and home to care for and we love Him and want to thank Him” locks the arrow in the bow and fires. It builds kindling around the heart of your child for the Spirit of God to do His miraculous work in them. “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates” Deuteronomy 6:7-9.
The beauty in the battle is Christ has given us every weapon we need to be Spirit led, Christ centered parents. He has provided His word to guide us and brothers and sisters to lean on, glean from and hone our battle strategies together with. Parenting in the light of eternity changes everything! Discipline is a vital part of raising godly children for we know the “Lord disciplines those He loves.” It’s not to be taken lightly, but to be an integral part of training and teaching (progressive sanctification) for you, as well as, your child. “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
Find the balance. No discipline (all grace) is a gross misrepresentation of the kingdom of God. We are forgiven of sin, but not excused from the consequences of our actions. All discipline (all wrath) is also not a true picture of the kingdom. Sometimes He spoke out of the whirlwind, but sometimes from a still small voice. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who always points to Christ. Listen before you speak and assign rules, requirements, and punishments you can’t or won’t fulfill.
As a word of encouragement it will get better!!! But not before it gets a whole lot worse. Sorry, but the truth is, the toys in the floor, a tantrum in Wal-Mart, or refusing your bedtime, become a longed for fight in comparison to coming home drunk, suspended for fighting, refusing to attend church, arrested for DUI, and etc. The training is for you too! Learning to trust Him in the small things stretches your faith to trust Him on the hard issues.
1. Don’t lose sight of the mission –pointing your child to Christ.
2. Be a relentless warrior -pray every day out loud in front of them.
3. Find the lesson for both of you- Listen twice as much as you speak.
4. Brandish your weapon 24/7 –Speak the word over them, tell them what God says about them, His plan for them and your determination in seeing that plan fulfilled!
5. Model it! In how you speak to your spouse and how he speaks to you. In being kind to one another. In not being a complainer. In your daily disciplines of reading and prayer and in stewarding what God has given you.
6. The sky is not falling Chicken Little– Trust in His sovereignty.
-Pat Reed (A beloved of Jesus. A wife, a mother & grandmother. A worshiper. A cancer survivor. Passionate about seeing the lost come to Christ.)