Our quest for parenting requires an intent and purpose with results in mind. Parenting is too great a job to wing it. Parenting requires the “supernatural” power of Christ and His wisdom in us to accomplish great things. We must keep short accounts with God on our motives to be sure they are in line with instilling godly values in our children. Parenting is not as difficult as it is challenging.
Let us be reminded that we serve God, not our children, when we parent. We are His means to reveal Himself, His character, and His nature to our children. We must faithfully stand in His presence as He constantly desires to re-engineer our methods. There is no perfect parent, and we should not expect perfection. I have heard it said that in reality “our children raise us.” As parents, we need shaping too. Often God will use our role as parents to conform us to Himself.
If your parenting is causing conflict and tension, don’t wait for the child to respond the way you want them to. Make the changes you need to make to minimize conflict. Colossians 3:21: “Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” We don’t always get it right the first time; and our children require different parenting at different times. Jeremiah 29:11-13 gives us the results we strive for and the means to achieve them:
We can gather from this promise in Scripture that for both parent and child, God has plans for each. These plans are for good and not for disaster. If God’s plans are for good, why would we choose any other measure for parenting our children? He goes on to say if we pray (or our children), He will listen. This makes me want to pray; how about you? And then He adds that if we seek Him “wholeheartedly” we will find Him. What this means is that only God should be sought for motivation, clarity, and results in our parenting on behalf of our children.
James speaks to the “double-minded” man that seeks answers in many places. James 1:8: “Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” I can’t stress enough that parenting is personal. The uniqueness of the individual and the values and goals of the family are driving factors in determining what is best for the child and for the family. When parents are constantly looking over their shoulder and trying to imitate what other parents are doing, it does not produce the best outcome for our children. Our parenting priorities are best when they align with the words of Joshua:
“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”Joshua 24:15