In order to follow God’s plan for parenting, we must first look to the original blueprint. It was God, not man, who created the institution of family. And it was the first, therefore a foundationally important institution.
Genesis 2:18, 21-22, 24; 1:28:
“And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Legal marriage in the United States, for the most part, consists of one husband and one wife. This is due to the Christian perspective of those who founded this country, although currently that definition of marriage is under attack. In some other areas of the world man’s wisdom has prevailed resulting in polygamy. Women are considered possessions to be dominated, abused and even killed, and have few rights as wives and even as mothers of their own children. The true God is the creator of marriage and has much to say about proper behavior as husbands and wives, and also about the training of children.
In Genesis 1:28, God says, “A husband and wife will come together and have children.” (paraphrase). This is God’s design for the family, but just a starting point. The majority of couples soon discover that “togetherness” of heart and mind is difficult. And, as children are added, frustrations and unfulfilled expectations can multiply. We put demands on each other and on our children, and when these needs are not met, the result is anger and other sins of the flesh such as resentment, bitterness, betrayal and so on.
It would be a dirty trick for God to leave us with such challenging responsibilities as marriage and parenting, and not provide clear guidelines for success. And God, of course, does not play dirty tricks. Scripture tells us, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.” (Ps. 145:17). Unfortunately, a 1998 survey shows that fewer than 11 percent of Christians believe the Bible has relevant or significant information about parenting.1 In truth, children are a gift from God, and He has greater love for them than we do. Therefore, He provides in His Word all that we need to know about parenting and godly living. He wants our actions to glorify Him and bless the children he has put into our care. Again, it is imperative we understand that God’s Word contains what we need for success, and that God’s desires for the family are not hidden from us.
Read the following Scripture:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“Thoroughly equipped for every good work” means it is God’s intention for us to both understand His will and be empowered to follow through in obedience.
How does this verse apply to learning how to be a parent?
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13:
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”
Examine your attitude toward the Word of God: Do you believe it is the truth, and that following God’s Word will lead to success?
According to James 1:22-25, there are right and wrong ways to receive the Word of God. Please identify the two different approaches, and the characteristics of each.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
What should be our attitude toward the Word of God?
What are the positive consequences when we obey and do the Word of God?
Read the following verses and explain what is said about the Word of God and you?
Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Psalm 19:7–11 “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.”
1 Peter 2:2–3 “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
In Genesis 18:19, God said to Abraham:
“For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
Just as Abraham was told to command his children, we also must teach our children with intention – be intentional about our ways, and intentional about following God’s Word. Once we understand that, as parents, we are truly ministers to our children, and that our relationship to Christ is the source of needed wisdom and strength, we can begin to walk the path of successful parenting.
Also notice that God says He has “known” Abraham personally, “in order that he may command his children and his household.” This implies that God knows Abraham’s strengths and weaknesses, but promises to teach and strengthen him for the responsibility of training his children.
How comforting is it to you to know that God knows your strengths and weaknesses and promises to give you the wisdom and strength to do His will as a parent. Write out a few thoughts telling God how grateful you are for His help.
2 Corinthians 5:9 Paul says, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”
Paul made it his aim to be well pleasing to God; he was very intentional about it. Write out a prayer below, telling God that your aim is to please Him by completing this workbook.