Parenting is a little like learning the computer, only harder, because the confusion is greater, the frustration stronger and the learning curve a lot longer. When we bring home our first bundle of computer technology, it is accompanied by instructions and a phone number for tech support, because we know sooner or later we will need help. We must learn how to navigate through a screen filled with pictures and information to our desired destination. And we also soon learn that typing without periodically hitting the Save feature can result in the frustrating disappearance of our hard work. But in spite of it all we persist, because we will not be beaten, and eventually using the computer becomes a rewarding and enjoyable experience!
May we say that learning to parent is similar? Take note of the word “learning,” because successful parenting requires instruction and application. Within hours of bringing that precious infant home from the hospital, the mystery begins to unfold. Why the crying? What is the need? And so it goes as the child grows, and so does the anxiety, until we realize that there is more to this than love. The only constant is that what works today won’t work tomorrow, and so on. This continues from infancy to adolescence. And if you raise more than one child, you discover that God really has a sense of humor. Being unique really means that techniques working with one child will have a completely different result with another. Every child needs training and guidance, and finding that routines and plans are not enough, we reach for wisdom.
But the news is good; there is wisdom available and, despite the challenges, parenting can be incredibly rewarding! Whether you have one child or several, you already realize that parenting is an enormous responsibility, fraught with potential difficulties, but also filled with much joy and delight. Just watching your children grow, seeing the dynamics as they interact, and noticing the change in their personalities is so interesting. And the best news of all; effective parenting is not a mystery. We can parent with confidence when we draw from the wisdom of Biblical concepts and an understanding of God’s will. When we do it God’s way, our efforts will not be lost. God wants us to understand our role and purpose as parents, and to successfully escort our children to that desirable destination of Godly maturity.
As you begin this study on parenting, God wants you to be fully assured that He can provide whatever you need. Read the following verses and notice what He promises.
2 Peter 1:3-4 “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
It says that God gives us “all things that pertain to life”, which includes biblical parenting. Our instructions are in God’s Word, and it is by HIS divine power that we can do it (v 3).
Our source is “His divine power”: power is dunamis (Greek), which translates as dynamic strength, or ability to do what only God can do.
When we are born again by faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13-14) and the power that raised Jesus from the dead begins working in us (Eph 1:19-20). But notice that all this can only be accessed “through the knowledge of Him.”
We partake of the divine nature and promises “through the knowledge of Him”: knowledge is epignosis (Greek), which means thorough participation in acquiring knowledge.
Knowledge of Christ powerfully affects the believer, and comes only through salvation and abiding in His Word. To abide means “to dwell in,” and indicates more than just head knowledge. It means receiving the Word as truth and then being obedient.
It is important to understand that as we abide in Christ, we not only gain knowledge that can change us, we also qualify for “great and precious promises” from a God who is 100 percent faithful. And, as “partakers of the divine nature,” we truly have access to supernatural wisdom and strength for parenting according to His principles.
Write out what God promises in these Scriptures:
Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
How have these truths affected your attitude/disposition as a parent?
What are the main principle(s) that are promised to you?
Most of us are suspicious that our parents used a “hit-and-miss” philosophy for child rearing, and were probably not confident about their effectiveness.
In view of your current parenting methods, how do you know what you are doing is right? Typically, people copy the good things their parents did, throw out the bad and make up the rest. And most of this is based upon their own personality and past experiences. Since it is rare that both husband and wife had exactly the same type of upbringing, each brings a past into the present, and then both must cooperate to work out a mutually acceptable approach to parenting. But this method can be confusing as parents soon learn that children are uniquely different from them, and that their best techniques are not bringing the desired outcome.
Understanding all this, we are ready for the first key to effective parenting: it is essential to depend on God’s Word. Such logic as, “I thought if I was doing the job better than my parents, my kids would turn out at least as good as me,” or, “At least I’m not screaming and beating them - I had it much worse than they do,” is not uncommon, yet it is not a foundation for success. The foundation on which parents must build, the only guide, is the Bible. God wants parents to succeed and He has provided all the necessary information.
Read the following verses and write out what God is saying about following your own wisdom.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
Read the following Scriptures. In verse 6 Paul gives a command for them to WALK.
Colossians 2:6-7 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (7) rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
How are we supposed to walk? And if you walked that way, how would it affect your parenting?
Paul makes an important comparison in verse 8. He says BEWARE, which translated literally means beaware and continue to be-aware.
Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
What is the danger? What is the source of this danger? According to this Scripture what do we need to beware of?
Where should we be getting our information, or instruction?
These verses are filled with examples of possible consequences. Identify and list them, both the good and the bad.
Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
Colossians 1:10 “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [Him], being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God...”
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
1 Corinthians 3:18-19 “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”
We have learned in this lesson that apart from God’s Word, power and wisdom we are unable to be the parents God desires us to be. If you have any reservation about being a child of God turn to the Appendix C and follow the instructions of how to be one laid out in God’s Word.