Battlelines No. 5

Adam Faughn joins us today to talk about parenting. Of all the battlefields we face right now, none may be more important than the family and the future of our children. We face an uphill battle as the world gets more time and unfortunately a great amount of influence upon our children. Adam has devoted his life to being a minister and the last few years to being a good father. I’m thankful he joined us to today and wrote this article entitled Faithful Parenting.

In First John 5:3, we’re told God’s commands “are not burdensome.” That said, there are times when we wonder how “human” we must be, because we struggle to live up to the standards He has placed before us in Scripture. For me – and, from what others tell me – one area in which that is especially true is parenting.

We want to do it well, but we often feel as if we are failing. 

In light of how morally bankrupt the world around us is, being a faithful Christian stands out, but being a faithful Christian parent sticks out like a sore thumb. We are made to feel backward, cruel, out-of-touch, and restrictive. Still, it can be done and, if we are going to be faithful to our heavenly Father, it must be done to the best of our ability. 

It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men. | Frederick Douglass

So, what does faithful Christian parenting look like? While there are countless particulars, let me remind us all of just three general truths that must guide our role as parents. First and foremost, parenting should be based on Scripture.

In fact, there should be no decision that parents make which is not based upon the Bible, and that must be communicated to our children. 

For example, if we are punishing a child for lying, we cannot just say that they are lying and that bothers us, or that “we don’t lie in this house.” We must base our punishment in God saying that lying is wrong and how sin harms our character in His eyes. That way, children see that wrongdoing is not just wrong because there is some arbitrary “line,” but that God has already put those lines in place; we, as parents, are simply striving to help our entire family stay within those lines to His glory. 

The same is even true for basic household rules, such as cleaning a room or a curfew. While Scripture does not give those commands, it does still teach children to obey parents. Remember Ephesians 6:1:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Respect for authority must be taught first and foremost in the home. As parents, we must make that connection – following authority is following God. 

Secondly, our parenting must be consistent. The hardest part of parenting, in my experience, is consistency. As imperfect and fallible humans, we are not going to be perfectly consistent, but as parents, we must try. This includes consistency in our own lives. If we are going to tell our children not to watch TV shows or YouTube videos that contain foul language, then we must hold ourselves to that same standard. 

This includes consistency in discipline. If a punishment is given for being dishonest today, but not tomorrow, the child is confused and it is unfair to the child. We must let them know that certain things are right always and certain things are wrong always (see Hebrews 12:9).

This also includes consistency in what we say and what we do. If we are going to walk around spouting off that “God and the Church are the most important things in our lives,” then we had better be present every time the doors are open, or our children are going to catch on. 

Finally, our parenting must be imperfect. I simply mean that we are people, so we will no always get this right, but we rely on the grace of a perfect God. He has promised us wisdom if we ask with no doubting. See James 1:5-8 which says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

He has promised us peace that passes all understanding if we will be in constant communication with Him (see Philippians 4:6-7). He has promised His presence if we are about His work (see Matthew 28:18-20). Knowing that, we can do this because we are relying on Him. 

The culture around each of us is going to try to knock us off our work. They will distract and tempt. But we know the treasure we have been given by our Lord (see Psalm 127:3), so we put forward every effort to get this right. Parents, you can do this because God’s commands – while not always easy in the moment- are not burdensome.

In fact, they are a blessing. 

Adam Faughn is the pulpit minister for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah, Kentucky. He is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University and the son and brother-in-law of preachers. He is married and the father of two teenage children.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash