Saturday, May 3, 2008

Chapter 6 - Reworking Your Goals

Saturday's Shepherding a Child's Heart

Last week we discussed unbiblical goals for our children. Now we'll discuss our goals in light of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever - the chief end of man.

When do social skills go wrong? When then are used to teach our children to trust in themselves rather than God, they go wrong. When families sacrifice time with one another and worship of God for these activities, it is wrong. Our families should be exercising physically to keep our bodies in the condition God meant for them to be in. We just need to be sure that God-glorifying lessons are being taught as a result and the children are growing spiritually as a result.

When does psychological adjustment go wrong? When it goes against Scripture. Tripp uses the example of the child being bullied. Many parents (even Christian ones) will train their children not to start a fight but if one is started, "to end it." Yet Scripture reminds us that God is our justifier, not ourselves. We need to remind our children that "a soft answer turns away wrath." We need to show them how to use hurt to love God and deepen their trust in Him. Does this mean our children should not tell the proper authority of such physical abuse? Of course not!

When does getting our children saved go wrong? When looking for a major spiritual salvation event becomes our goal - that's when. Our children need to be spiritually nurtured. We need to be constantly and consistently pointing them to the Lord. They need to see their need of Christ's work on the cross and well as their need to repent of their sin and trust in Christ. It is about a lifestyle, not just a moment.

When does family worship go wrong? It fails when it is used as the end and not a means to an end. It is about knowing God, not checking off another thing on the "Christian Disciplines" list. Tripp suggests a daily reading of verses in Proverbs. He also suggests acting out Bible stories and making them come alive for our children.

When do well-behaved children go wrong? When manners (for example) are not linked to a biblical vision but only social manipulation, it is wrong. Tripp uses the example of saying "please" and "thank you." We should be teaching our children these things are right because they are rooted in the biblical truth of looking out for the interests of others above ourselves.

Lastly, when is good eduction wrong? Tripp says that grades are unimportant. Wow. What a revolution for even myself. I was always obsessed with my grades, not just in high school but through college and even my Master's degree. And yet who cares what my grades were now? does God? No. What is important is that our children learn to do their work (to the best of their abilities) diligently for God. He has promised to reward the faithful.

In the end Tripp deals with the question, "what if my children are not believers?" He says he'll come back to that in a later chapter but reminds us that God calls all people to the same standards. Some rebel but the standard is the same. By continuing to point to God's word, we're pointing our children to Christ. Our over-arching objective in parenting should be teaching our children to live for the glory of God. Life is only found in knowing and serving the true and living God. What a great chapter!

In Christ,

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