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The Law of Parenting

Stonebrook Community Church http://www.stonebrook.org

I’ve had 6 years of parenting and saw lots of great examples so even if you’re not married – pay attention.

Parenting seminar coming up in two weeks

The Bible doesn’t have much as far as good examples in parenting.

We all want wise children – the sort that Proverbs talks about!!!  

Proverbs 23:24–25 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

We are in desperate need of answers to solve our “slow burn” problems. 

Because God has made human beings and their world complex, there aren’t simple formulas that can be applied to our parenting. If all you have are tips and strategies, you will get beyond your fund of knowledge. Your greatest need is to understand deep truths from the Bible. Solid parenting skills are built on solid truth.

Tedd and Margy Tripp Instructing a Child's Heart

We need the deep truths of the Bible to stand on. I think that this is the place where we need to start – with the law: The law of love!

Romans 13:8–10 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

What is this love? We’re lost without it! Where does it come from?

  • Romans 5:8  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • 1 John 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
  • 1 John 4:19  We love because he first loved us.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14–15 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

We are to love our kids – enthusiastically, completely and self sacrificially!

We turn to the rest of scripture to flesh out the law of love.

Here are three priorities of the law of love to give us some handles on what this looks like in our life.

How are we to love?

Priority 1 – Love God more than your kids – The world calls us to be self-focused or child focused while God calls us to be him focused.

Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

We must love our kids but we have to love God more

Matthew 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

What is the danger of loving your kids more than God?

It’s idolatry – you are putting your kids in the place that God should be.

Analogy- Loving your kids more than God is like being dropped in downtown Chicago and trying to navigate without a map or GPS. 

Our relationship with God (gives us so much) but with our kids it tells us where we are and where we’re going. It gives us an orientation – it gives us that birdseye view and solid truth more than mere tactics or “this worked for my kids”

Are you willing to put God first in your life?  Your kids need you to.

Yes, but how? – Get a quiet time and extended time with God – every day, once a month and once a year

Priority 2 – Love your spouse more than your kids – model the most important earthly relationship – show them how your honor your spouse

Mark 10:7–8 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.

Ephesians 5:28–30 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

There is not much directly said about marriage or parenting but this is crystal clear. You are one with your spouse – you are NOT one with your kids.

For those of you parenting alone (either actually alone or effectually alone) – God gives grace

What is the danger of loving your kids more than your spouse?

  • You end up partnered with this person that you don’t even know anymore.
  • You stay together for the kids
  • You lose the fire and passion that are designed for marriage
  • You destabilize the base for your family
  • God’s design for marriage – one man and one woman working together to raise children
  • Marriage is such an amazing gift from God
  • You can go from soulmates to roommates to cellmates

Analogy – Loving your kids more than your spouse is like building a structure without a good base. The higher it gets the more chance that it’s going to fall and the fall will damage your family greatly whatever happens after.

The basis of your home needs to be God – but it needs to be God working through your marriage.

Yes, but how? Get a quiet time and extended time with your spouse
Try to get at least a little time every day together – first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Let them see you be physically affectionate. Let them see you be emotionally open with one another.

Priority 3 – Love your kids more than yourself – be humble get advice – apologize when you’ve wronged them

Philippians 2:4  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Apply this is wisdom – don’t be a doormat

Loving yourself while trying to raise children to be unselfish themselves is just plain hypocrisy!

Loving yourself more than your kids means that you deal with them if it’s convenient or if you really have to you do it -grumbling and complaining instead of willingly. 

Five True Needs

  1. They have a true need for a relationship with God – we need to model this and teach it all the time!

Deuteronomy 6:4–9 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

This will take discipline on your part and dying to yourself – to see their training as more important than your comfort.

  1. They have a true need for relationship with us

If we’re to love them – as we’re called to – we must be in relationship with them, we must know them and spend the time necessary to maintain that close relationship with them. The whole book of Proverbs speaks to this sort of relationship. 

Proverbs 6:20  My son, keep your father’s commandment,  and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Is it always fun and relaxing to do what your kids want to do? Nope. But it’s loving!!!

  1. They have a true need for discipline

Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

The times that I really want to discipline my kids are few and very far between – most of the time I’d rather overlook their faults and hope that they get it on their own. To discipline my children correctly takes a lot of energy, intentionality and heart.

  1. They have a true need for honest examples of humility

Admit failure and don’t paint the picture that you’re perfect. You should actively work against it as a picture of humility.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Ask for forgiveness – teach them about forgiveness

Ephesians 4:32  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Humbly get advice – >>a book or message can’t give you advice on every situation – get specific advice

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

If you get anything out of this message – get this: God wants you to depend on him and his people to be a good parent!!!
DON’T DO IT ALONE!

  1. They have a true need to be unprovoked by you – they’ll get provoked by many other things 

Ephesians 6:4  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Listen to them, explain to them, reason with them, expect enough (not too little or too much) – this all takes practice.
We can easily say: they’re stuck with me as a parent and they have to obey whether they want to or not with little feeling for how they’re doing – this is a deep well! Dive in and see how you can do this together?

Yes, but how? Get a quiet time and extended time with your kids

Don’t be just reactionary – what do I want them to grow in? Have a plan – Think intentionally. Don’t just let it happen to you. Have a plan – work the plan. Be wise see danger and take refuge!!!

Proverbs 22:3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

Conclusion

>>The Law of Parenting is the Law of Love – We must apply the law correctly to our lives obeying the priorities pointed out in scripture

We must love God first, we must love our spouse to whom we’re joined and we must love our children – putting away selfishness

Set up a time to get with God everyday – to read and pray – do this for yourself, your spouse and your kids. Consider an extended time for an hour or two once a month and maybe even a day once a year to pursue God.

Set up a time to get with your spouse everyday – to connect and pray – do this for your kids. Consider getting a date night once a week – show your kids that your marriage is important

Set up a time to get with your kids – meet their true needs

You are insufficient to be a good spouse or parent – that is why God needs to come first. He was sufficient – he loved first so that we can love. That is always our starting place – even every day.