The Bible has so much to say about parenting, and we have many great resources today to help us understand and apply its teachings. It’s also an area where we need to apply the gospel, both to ourselves and in the grace we give our children.
Joshua 9 & 10
The Bible on parenting
Verse 24, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”
There is so much advice about parenting out there, much of which contradicts this truth. But we have to decide who we are going to believe—God or man!
This is a subject that deserves so much more space than I can give here, but there are many good parenting books out there written from a biblical perspective. Some good ones are: Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman and Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting by Paul Tripp (especially good for parents of teens and pre-teens). Another good one for parenting teens is Get Outta My Face!: How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel by Rick Horne.
If you are dealing with children who are angry, two of my go-to resources in counseling are: The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Chldren and Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens, both by Lou Priolo.
The Heart of Anger is written to parents of children and includes journals and other helps to work with your children. But it first helps parents better under what they may be doing to contribute to their children’s anger.
As parents we are warned in Ephesians 6.4:
… do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
So before Lou delves into the child’s behavior, he helps parents evaluate their own heart attitudes and behavior. His list of 25 ways parents provoke their children to anger is worth the price of the book.
25 Ways That Parents Provoke Their Children to Anger*
- Lack of Marital Harmony
- Establishing and Maintaining a Child-Centered Home
- Modeling Sinful Anger
- Habitually Disciplining While Angry
- Being Inconsistent with Discipline
- Having Double Standards
- Being Legalistic
- Not Admitting You’re Wrong and Not Asking for Forgiveness
- Constantly Finding Fault
- Parents Reversing God-Given Roles
- Not Listening to Your Child’s Opinion or Taking His “Side of the Story” Seriously
- Comparing Them to Others
- Not Making Time Just to Talk
- Not Praising or Encouraging Your Child
- Failing to Keep Your Promises
- Chastening in Front of Others
- Not Allowing Enough Freedom
- Allowing Too Much Freedom
- Mocking Your Child
- Abusing Them Physically
- Ridiculing or Name Calling
- Unrealistic Expectations
- Practicing Favoritism
- Child Training with Worldly Methodologies Inconsistent with God’s Word
Lou devotes a whole chapter to the items on this list, adding plenty of explanations and Scriptural backing.
In Getting a Grip one of the best chapters focuses on communication. It helps teens understand why showing disrespect is self-defeating and how withdrawing and other communication mistakes frustrate their parents and contribute to habits they can carry into adulthood if not changed. The book is easy to read, practical and full of great illustrations.
If you’re not sure where to start and you have younger children, I’d recommend Shepherding a Child’s Heart. It will not only help you understand biblical principles of child rearing, but help you understand how to reach your child’s heart with those truths and the gospel. It will also “shepherd” your own heart and help you see areas where you need to grow and change!
*Priolo, Lou (1998-01-15). Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children (Kindle Location 308). Calvary Press. Kindle Edition.
TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:
If God is for you …
What an incredible picture of what it means to have God on your side, fighting for you! He stopped the sun and moon on their behalf, used hailstones to destroy their enemies and saw that they were protected and had complete victory.
Even when God is not working in such obvious and dramatic ways, He is still present and at work in the lives of all who belong to Him.
Romans 8.31b, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And Philippians 1.6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The source of our success
This psalm recounts the truth of God’s intervention in the affairs of His people:
“You drove out the nations with Your hand (v. 2) … For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them” (v. 3).
Our Joshua reading was one example of this.
Like the ancient Israelites, when God gives us success in some area of life we need to remember where the strength, the ability, the talent, and even the opportunities, come from.
Rejoicing in our salvation
The twelve apostles had already been commissioned to go out and preach the Gospel. And now seventy more disciples were sent out two by two. Matthew Henry comments that the twelve apostles corresponded to the twelve tribes of Israel and the seventy disciples were pictured in the Old Testament by the seventy elders who helped Moses.
When these seventy came back rejoicing after having a great deal of success on their missionary trip, Jesus reminded them that everything else pales in comparison to the wonder of salvation itself.
Verse 20, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
We all need to preach the gospel to ourselves on a regular basis, reminding ourselves that our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life!
What about you?
Do you really believe that God is on your side? How has He demonstrated that in the past?
Is there some area where you need to grow in knowledge and understanding about godly parenting?
Do you “preach the gospel to yourself”? Do you need to contemplate the incredible miracle of salvation? If that is a new concept to you, two great resources on the subject are: A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent and Comforts from the Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time by Elyse Fitzpatrick.
Do you have a question about some issue? Is so, you can submit it in the “Relationship Issues/Counseling Questions” feature by clicking the link. I’ll answer many of them in upcoming blogs.
This week’s featured book:
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.