Wrecked: Part 2
In “Wrecked”: Part 1, I talked about chapter 1 in a book I’m reading called “Gospel-Powered Parenting- How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting” by William P. Farley. I talked about 3 assumptions the author said parents need to make in order to be effective. Here they are in summary:
- Assumption #1: You cannot be a perfect parent.
- Assumption #2: Effective parents assume two parallel truths.
- Assumption #3: Effective parents assume an offensive mindset.
Read Part 1 for further clarification of these three assumptions.
Assumption #4: Effective Parents Understand New Birth
Are you sitting down for this one? This assumption is painful to embrace: a decision for Christ is not the same as new birth. New birth is evidenced by fruit, not a decision. One evidence of fruit is a hunger for God himself. My own children have talked to me about this as they’ve grown in their faith. A couple of them have admitted that they “prayed a prayer to receive Christ” as very young children, but they did so because they were supposed to or felt pressured to do so, but they believe they did not become Christ-followers until they started to really understand the gospel and respond to it—and that response came with fruit and evidence of heart-change.
Assumption #5: Effective parents are not child-centered. They are God-centered.
Parents, don’t assume your child is saved just because he/she prayed a prayer. Are you seeing consistent fruit? Is your child’s hunger for God increasing? If not, don’t assume your child has been regenerated. One of the most dangerous things we can do as parents is assume new birth, reassure our children that they are okay with the Lord, and because of that, our children are drawn into a false security of their salvation. Look for heart-change in your children – that is the only true evidence of new birth.
The author gives 4 symptoms of God-centered homes:
- A willingness to say “no” to a child when it is in the child’s best interest. In this child-centered world in which we live, it is easy to say “yes” to children particularly when all of their friends are involved in an activity, have a certain device, want to go to a particular movie, etc. We need to continually ask ourselves, “Is this really the best thing for my child? For his/her relationship with the Lord? For his/her relationship with me?” Make the hard decisions to say “no” when the answer to those questions warrant a “no”.
- A marriage in which Dad and Mom are united before their children, even when they disagree about a parenting direction. Mom and Dad, don’t get in the habit of undermining the parenting decision of your spouse. It is much better for your children to see Mom and Dad supporting each other rather than have you play one against the other. If you disagree, discuss it in private and come before your child united in your decision. Women, this can be a tough one for us as we are called to respect our husbands because often times we believe we know best what is the right thing for our children since in many families, the mom is with the children for the majority of the day. Show your children that you respect your husband even if you disagree with your husband’s decision.
- A willingness to make our marriages more important than our children. Your children will be with you an average of 18-25 years. Lord willing, our spouses are with us much longer than that. Prioritize your marriage. Your children need to see you are committed to each other. That gives them a sense of security in an otherwise insecure world. In our family, we joke with our children about how insecure they must be feeling which results in a loving embrace and kiss between Dan and me. Dan will often turn to the kids and say, “Are you feeling insecure?” and then immediately give me a hug and kiss often to an eye roll and a “I feel secure! You don’t have to kiss Mom!” It’s a fun family joke…and every once in a while one of the kids has come to us and said, “I’m feeling a bit insecure.” They leave with a smile once they’ve witnessed a hug and a kiss.
- A willingness to be different. If our homes are God-centered, we will be radically different than other homes in our culture. This difference will be evident in our entertainment choices, the time we spend in certain activities, our commitment level to our family, church, and community.