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I woke up at 2:00 a.m. with this blog post on my heart. Been thinking about the importance of our role as parents quite a bit lately.
In Deuteronomy 6:7 and 11:19 us parents are reminded to pass on to our children, God’s words. It says to do this when we are at home, when we are on the road, when we are going to bed and when we are getting up.
Placing values in our kid’s hearts will give them something to pull from in life each time they need to make a choice. I’m talking all kinds of values; Biblical values, common sense, wisdom and practical advice.
Imagine that your children’s hearts look like a big warehouse lined with shelves. These shelves can remain empty or be filled by us parents with Godly values as our kids grow up. Then imagine that each time they come to a point of needing to choose wisely, they subconsciously go to their moral warehouse and scan quickly through the aisles to see which value to pull from in order to make their choices.
Actually, we all do this and some of us have been really blessed growing up because our parents loaded our moral warehouse. Sadly, others have not been so lucky. Really, it’s one of the greatest gifts parents can give their kids. You can see already how difficult it would be for them to make a wise choice if their moral warehouse shelves contained nothing or very little to pull from.
This is why Biblical parenting takes time and this is one of the very reasons we McCollom’s don’t fill up every second of our lives with going, going, going. We learned a number of years ago that we almost had to plan extra time into the day to have enough time to stop and place values in the hearts of our children.
We totally believe in having our kids in extra-curricular activities, but what we have found to be true as well is that our girls absolutely love to be home with us. So we make an effort to stay in rest by keeping our schedule submitted to the Holy Spirit. He knows the perfect balance.
Placing values in the hearts of our kiddos does take time, but it is not that difficult, especially if we are taking the time ourselves to let God fill our own hearts during specific devotional time to Him as well as all throughout the day. In fact, for me, it has become a natural way of life.
- What I get in my devotional time with the Lord, I pass on.
- Practical lessons I learn, even if I had to learn them the hard way by making a mistake and learning from it, I then pass it on.
- As I learn wisdom and put common sense into practice, I pass it on.
It’s an automatic reaction for me now, to pay it forward by teaching my girls what I am currently learning.
Last night Steve was on Facebook and one of our Facebook friends posted a video about a church in California where the Pastor teaches his congregation that they can go out and minister to people themselves and that it is not just the Pastoral leadership’s role to minister to others. Because of this, his church members are being led by the Spirit to pray for people out and about and they are seeing incredible miracles. He is teaching them that this is a part of the normal Christian life because Jesus said so.
After I watched the video myself, I called the girls into the office and said, girls, watch this! I sat and watched it with them and then we talked about it. I looked at them straight in the eyes and said, You have the power of God in you to lay hands on the sick and see them recover for His glory.
Let me point out the fact that right then was not the most convenient time in my estimation, to place a Biblical truth into their heart. I had a pile of paper work on my desk that I was trying to work through, but when Steve played the video, I just had to stop and watch. Then I knew in my heart that I needed to take the time to share it with the girls.
We talk about God in our house and we do it openly. I take every opportunity I can to place the heart of the Father into my girls’ hearts.
Right now for Bible class in school, one of the things we are doing is going through Joseph Prince’s book Unmerited Favor together, on a nine year old’s level of course. After the drastic change this book made in my own life and my husband’s life, I wanted my girls to carry these truths about grace with them into their teenage years and adulthood.
It is a 350 page book and we have a variety of things we do for Bible class including some independent study. So it is going to take all of 4th grade, all of 5th grade and maybe even all of 6th grade for us to complete this study, but that is OK. We’re not in a race. Even if we read one paragraph and they get something out of it, that is perfectly fine.
Even though we are committed to training up our kids according to God’s Word, I am also careful that they don’t start feeling like I am shoving the Bible down their throat. We trust God that if we watch our girls’ reactions and stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we will know when to talk and when to be quiet.
Parenting by the Spirit instead of parenting led by our soul (our mind, will and emotions) is such a fun adventure! It takes the pressure off of us as parents because we can fully trust the Holy Spirit to lead us. It’s a promise!
John 16:13 says,
But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. (AMP)
One thing we learned years ago is if we only train our children by placing values in their hearts when they are getting corrected, that doesn’t suffice. When kids are feeling the tension of being corrected, their hearts may not be near as open at that time as they are in times of non-conflict. So I encourage you to do most of your training in times of non-conflict; when you are at home, on the road, going to bed, and getting up – in other words, all throughout the day just like the Bible says, giving your children the moral or practical reason why you are sharing with them what you are sharing.
The Bible is the perfect place to find the moral reason why and pass it on to our kids. I remember when our girls were little, we taught them some confessions. One of them was ‘I choose wisely’ and they said “I toose wisies.” It was adorable. I’ll never forget it!
In Hebrews 8:10, as part of the New Covenant God made with us, He says, I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them on their hearts, so the minute your child receives Jesus into their lives, this is true of them! How does this change parenting?
One way that I have learned in the last year as I have grown in an understanding of the grace of God, including learning what we have in the New Covenant, is how to respond differently to my kids. Instead of harping all the time on what they should do or laying down the law, I have learned and am still growing in a new way of parenting.
These days I spend more time calling to their remembrance who they are in Christ and the fact that they are brand new in Him.
For instance, our girls have a play area downstairs. I am fine with them leaving it messy most of the time but have only asked that they make sure there is a path to the restroom so we don’t trip and hurt ourselves trying to get there. I have also asked them to leave their toys and crafts behind a certain line since we have a couch, table and television set up in the other half of the basement.
So we have discussed and they completely understand this invisible boundary line. The space within this boundary gives them plenty of room, but they have still had issues with both of these guidelines.
So last week I went downstairs, saw that they had disobeyed and called them down. In the past I would have said something like, “girls …(while rolling my eyes), you did it again…..disobeyed. Come on, what I have asked you to do here isn’t that difficult. You HAVE to keep your stuff in this area.” I probably would have been real dramatic and demonstrative, showing them again where the line is (sigh).
But since I now understand that once we are Born Again (and they are), we also live under a brand new covenant where God’s laws are written on our hearts, I don’t feel the need to say, you have to, you must, you should or you ought to.
What I do feel the need to say is I know the real you, the new person you are in Christ knows what has been asked of you here and you have a desire to obey. You are good girls in Jesus. But you have chosen to live out of your old nature. This time you chose not to follow the leading of the Spirit so, in making that choice you have just chosen your destiny.
We have been teaching our girls how to walk in the spirit by submitting to God’s grace instead of their feelings.
Then I had them take time out of their school day and clean the entire area up. This took a hour of their school time so they ended up doing school an hour later that day.
The difference in New Covenant parenting, if you will, is that we can call out the new nature of Jesus in our kids and remind them of their identity in Christ instead of putting them under the law. See, the law tells us where we have failed and that is exactly what the law was meant to do, to show us that we cannot keep it in our own strength; therefore, convincing us of our need for a Savior.
If we train our children based on law and not grace, they will always feel like they are failing. We know this is true because we too, as adults, experience this in our own lives if we try to live based on the law. It leaves us feeling like failures.
This doesn’t mean we or our kids are going to just say, “woo hoo, no more law baby….I’m livin’ it up.” No way, obedience is important, but the answer for being empowered to live an obedient lifestyle is found in Christ in us!
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:24, “What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?” First of all, he was talking about the death that comes into our lives as a result of sin and secondly, he did not ask, “What will rescue me from this body of death.” He asked, “Who will deliver me?”
He had already been trying all the whats, and finally, worn out by his own self-efforts, he came to a realization that Jesus was his only hope. Thank God Paul did learn this lesson so we could learn from him and pass it on to our children!
So more than focusing on our kid’s actions, we focus on their believing. If they believe they are a liar, they are going to lie. If they believe they are bad, they are going to act bad. If they are constantly given the signal that they are always coming up just a little bit short, this will discourage them and cause rebellion. On the other hand, if they have right believing, they will behave right!
1 Corinthians 15:56b (CEV)
And the Law is the power behind sin.
We have never said to our girls, you’re liars or you’re bad girls, but guess who does tell them? The devil.
Just the other day Steve and I were correcting our girls over something and they started making excuses for their behavior right away. We let them go on until they were finished and then we pointed out to them that they were making excuses.
Later on that day after it was all settled, just out of curiosity, I asked them what they were thinking when they started making excuses. I wondered if they were making excuses just to get out of the consequence we had given them or what their reason was. That was part of it, I’m sure, but one of our daughters said, “I was thinking that I was a idiot for messing up.” What an eye opener.
We have never called her an idiot so where did she get that? Straight from the pit of hell. Part of the reason she was making excuses for her behavior was so she could feel better about herself, the same reason any of us make excuses for our behavior.
This was another great lesson to me of how I should always be aware to give my girls plenty of affirmation because the devil is never going to stop lying to them.
My number one love language is words of affirmation so this is easy for me to give, but I have still found at times that I can focus on everything the girls are doing wrong and forget what they are doing right. I’m sure I’m the only parent who does this, right?!
Finally, when we really see the value of calling to our kid’s remembrance who they are in Christ and placing Godly values in their hearts, we will take the time needed to fulfill the task.
If this is something that you want to start implementing in your parenting, let me encourage you first by calling you to remembrance of your new identity in Christ Jesus:
- If you have received Jesus as your Savior, you are a brand new person in Christ.
- Because of Jesus, you have the ability inside you to be an awesome parent who can literally shape your child’s destiny.
- You are the righteousness of God is Christ, not based on your parenting skills or a record of perfect parenting decisions (because we all fall short), but based on Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
- You can let go of your mountain of rules and trust Christ to be the perfect parent through you. He is perfect so the more we learn to lean on Him, the better parent we will be!
- You can take a deep breath, relax, and rest in His ability in you as you listen to and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as a parent.
- You don’t have to carry the heavy weight of producing Godly children because the Holy Spirit will show you the way!
So Moms and Dads, let’s not just pay it forward to people outside our home, but let’s all make it a priority to pay it forward to those we love so dearly inside our home, the amazing gifts God has sent to us from heaven, our kids!
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!