Summary: My attempt this morning is to communicate a biblical perspective on parenting so that we can do exactly that have the confidence as parents to raise our children properly. Parents, simply put, our job is to teach our children how to obey.
Children Who Learn
I love the things kids come up with. A Sunday School teacher asked her class one day why it was so important to be quiet in the church worship service. One bright little girl replied, “Because people are sleeping.”
After coming home from church, one boy suddenly announced to his parents, “I’ve decided to become a minister when I grow up.” The parents responded by saying, “That’s OK with us, but what made you decide that?” “Well,” said the little boy, “I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figured it would be more fun to stand up and yell than to sit down and listen.”
In the days of the Wild West, a lone cowboy went riding through a valley and came unexpectedly upon an Indian lying motionless on the road. His right ear was pressed to the ground, and he was muttering something to himself. “Ummm,” he said. “Stagecoach! Three people inside. Two men, one woman. Four horses. Three gray, one black. Stagecoach moving west. Ummmmm.” The cowboy was amazed and said, “That’s incredible, pardner! You can tell all that by just listening to the ground? The Indian replied, “Ummmmmm. No! Stagecoach run over me thirty minutes ago!”
My guess is that some of you parents feel that way this morning. You’ve been run over by the demands of parenting, crushed by the pressures of child rearing, and you don’t know when you’re going to be trampled again. I think I can hear some of you mumbling, “Ummmm. Kids everywhere. Wet diapers. Dirty feet. Rebellious teenagers. I’m piled and need some help!”
Let’s be honest. For many of us the overwhelming responsibility associated with raising children is not so funny. According to Dr. James Dobson, 80% of parents feel like they’re failures! This “crisis of confidence” is affecting families all around the country. While parenting is demanding, Dobson is concerned that too many of us find the task burdensome. Parents today have saddled themselves with unnecessary guilt, fear, and self-doubt.
Listen to what he writes in his book, Parenting Isn’t For Cowards: “Throughout the Scriptures, it is quite clear that the raising of children was viewed as a wonderful blessing from God a welcome, joyful experience… We’ve had enough self-condemnation. What we need now is a doable dose of confidence in our ability to raise our children properly.” (Page 16)
My attempt this morning is to communicate a biblical perspective on parenting so that we can do exactly that have the confidence as parents to raise our children properly. Parents, simply put, our job is to teach our children how to obey. This is not always easy, is it? It’s like the little boy who was overheard praying, “Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am.”
While our children may think they’re having a good time disobeying, the fact of the matter is that they will be much happier and more joyful if they can learn the biblical discipline of obedience.
Teaching Obedience to our Kids
I want to mention at the beginning of this message that some of my points come from John MacArthur’s excellent book entitled, “What the Bible Says About Parenting.”
Teaching our children to obey is more than a matter of good parenting advice, it is a bedrock moral principle that is given a place of prominence among the Ten Commandments, and emphasized repeatedly throughout the Bible. When you distill it down to the bottom line, here’s what you’re left with: it is the child’s duty to obey, and it is the parent’s mandate to teach obedience. Or, to say it another way, God gives to all parents the responsibility to build their children’s moral character by teaching them to obey God and their parents.
Not an Easy Task
This is no small task. It’s difficult for at least three reasons.
1. The corruption on the outside. It’s not news to you that our whole society is hostile to biblical truth and often seems bent on teaching children to rebel against authority. The Bible predicted that such a time would come in 2 Timothy 3:1-2: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents…”
2. The curse of sin on the inside. Not only is the world pressuring our kids to conform to ungodliness, their own depravity causes them to be naturally prone to rebellion. Both of these influences work in tandem against parents who want to teach their children to obey. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That includes kids. Have you ever noticed that you’ve never had to explain to your child how to disobey? They’re experts in this from the very beginning, but obedience is something they must learn.