Warning: This blog post is a plea, a call to rise higher. You may read the follow-up post on my blog. It is not meant to offend those who find themselves in this situation but to provide a Biblical perspective for those seeking it.
“Is it normal that my child is back-talking me/throwing a fit/fighting with their sibling?” Well, it depends on whose normal you’re wanting. If it’s allowing the normal sin nature to have its way, then, yes, that’s normal. But, if you are a Christ-follower, then this is the nature we are called to put to death in ourselves and our children.
“Therefore…throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).
Biblical training is training away from what is ungodly and training in a new bent. God has called us to be set apart, in the world but not of it. How will we and our children be different from the world if we allow ourselves to settle for lack of self-control? I am learning as I work with my children (and myself) that discipline is the grammar (the building blocks) of character.
Proverbs 16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Self-control is unnatural in our world but the way of life in God’s culture. Am I consistently teaching my children to rule their own spirits? Or am I excusing behaviors and attitudes, saying He’s only 3 or She’s just had a long day?
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8, NKJV).
If a farmer tending his vineyard let his vines go their own way, it would be normal (for a wilderness) but not productive. Pruning, guiding, structuring, tending…if a crop takes so much work, how much more the eternal souls of our children!
Rising to the Task
We Christians can be sadly lacking in the vigorous character that consistently rises to the challenge of training our children. How can we expect our children to learn self-sacrifice, discipline, and servanthood if we ourselves meander in the comfortable valley instead of scaling the heights? It is not odd that our children struggle with similar weaknesses as they see in us.
“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to stand on the heights” (Ps. 18:33).
Don’t settle for the sin nature in yourself or your children. Unlike the popular transformer toys, our transformation is from “glory to glory” as we behold His face and allow ourselves to be changed in the light of His presence. We are called to a life much higher! In parenting circles, it can be a lonely road. But don’t give up; keep your radar out for other families who are being obedient to God’s calling.
Remember, God’s reputation in on the line in the earthen vessels of our families. Let’s not be like Eli the priest in 1 Samuel 3 who was judged for failure to restrain his children. With God’s power in us and His Word before us, we can raise our children according to His calling.
Should our children be morose over every failure of theirs to measure up to holiness? No, but humility, teachability, using the Bible as our guide for attitudes and behavior–these are the patterns to impart. Denying ourselves, serving untiringly, loving unconditionally, don’t we all have a long way to go? But to never start because the road is long and hard, we’ll never get there.
What has been your own family’s journey or is this a new idea for you?
Please join me on my blog for the follow-up post.
About Rebekah Nafziger
Rebekah is a Stay-at-home mom to two blessings, Katelyn (5 ½) and Elliot (3), with another on the way. Parenting is the current step God’s using to mold her into Christ-likeness, along with 11 years of marriage to her best friend. Her passions are homeschooling, homesteading, homemaking, from-scratch living, worship and discipleship, and most of all, glorifying God in everything she learns and attempts. Her family’s blog is just getting started over at Hallelu-Jah Homestead. She also teaches a local workshop called Waste Not, Want Not: Practical Ways to Free Up Your Budget and Live Intentionally, sharing the journey God has led her family on over the last few years.