Are your children the victim of your anger at being forced to homeschool? 1 Peter 2:12 says that we are being watched. “…they may see your good deeds and glorify God…” Our actions often result in how others judge God. This is true, especially with children. How we understand authority in our world affects how we view the authority of God in our lives.
As Christians, we have been forgiven of our sin through faith in Christ. Christ in us makes it possible to live well in in relationship with God and others. God is so other than we broken sinful humans. We often fail to grasp how His grace and mercy intermingle with His justice. Born into this world with a sinful nature, even babies have a natural bent on rebellion toward authority. Still, God has placed in children the ability to respond in amazing trust. God confirms this in Matthew 18:1-4 (NET Bible)
How many times will a toddler share their food or favorite toy with someone they trust? Do you think that is because they are hoping to gain favor with the authority in their life? No! They want to give food because they have been lovingly given food. They are mimicking what they have seen. They want to give a toy because a toy was given to them. We love God because He first loved us.
The most important relationship we develop in this world is with God, but we aren’t born seeking it. In His great wisdom, God places us, as Christian parents, front and center as one of the means of His grace. At first, we require little of our toddlers and most demands are met. However, at some point in life this all changes. How Christian adults wield authority over and make demands of a child will influence that child rightly or wrongly about God’s authority. How are we doing?
I highly recommend that every parent and teacher read Paul David Tripp’s book, Parenting, 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. Learning better how to wield our authority will revolutionize our homes and churches.
Dr. Tripp asserts, “Children come into the world as self-sovereigns, In the heart of each child is a natural rebellion to authority. When I act in a selfish, demeaning, hurtful, way in exercising my authority I am actually deepening their rebellion toward authority. “He goes on to say, “Your job is to make authority a beautiful thing, a gracious thing, a loving thing, a protecting thing, a wisdom giving thing, so this child will grow to be thankful that there is authority in their life. A teenager has to be groomed as a child if they are to come to be thankful for authority.” He closed with a prayer that we would surrender comforts, plans, sense of needs, our very selves to God so that in turn we can “be the look on His face, the tone of His voice, the touch of His hand in the lives of our children.” I am adding this to my daily prayer list. I hope you will too!