Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Easy Button

There are some things that are just tiring. Parenting is often one of those things. Intentional parenting can be even harder. Of course, it is completely worth it! And the bible says it is mandatory in Christian households. I am so thankful that God gives us the strength to endure!

  • "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. " Psalm 127:3
  • "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6
  • "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:4-9
There are many things that make parenting easier, things that lighten the load. Not all of them are beneficial. Emily and I are praying, searching the scriptures and listening to people wiser than ourselves, trying to see what decisions we can make that will be best for our family and the most honoring to Christ. We desire to seek the approval of our Heavenly Father alone, the God who alone gives us meaning and hope for life, not the approval of men. It is for Him that we live and we desire to please him above all others. We want to sow or plant righteous seeds and produce righteous fruit. How if we are practicing things that don't produce fruit, can we produce righteous fruit. If we truly long for that, we also long for that for our children and will parent with the hopes that our kids will one day love the same gospel we are not ashamed to preach and live.

  • "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." II Timothy 3:16,17
  • "Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves." Romans 14:22b
  • "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life" Galatians 6:7,8
Of course we are far from "good" parents, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit we are trying. Some things we realized recently is how far from the Biblical standard we fall short. We were using things to make parenting seem easier because we were not willing to put in the effort. It is never a good idea to give up, especially when it comes to parenting. Children are such a huge blessing from the Lord! Somethings are easier in the moment, that is 100% guaranteed. However, in the long run, it was devestation. We were teaching our kids lessons we didn't want them to learn. If we want Godly kids, we need to pray and train them according to the scripture and not slack off and let the world tell us how to parent.

  • "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. " Galatians 6:9,10
I was challenged by someone I respect recently, to put these thoughts down on paper to solidify my convictions. So let me be clear. I'm NOT writing this to convince any of you to parent they way we do. I am writing this for me (as a father) and for my family. TV is one of the ways we felt we were growing weary in doing good. We used TV as an easy button at times in our parenting. Turns out TV is a hot topic in our church as of late. Most of the things we used to justifiy TV came from worldly wisdom, not things that Scripture taught us.

  1. We entertained ourselves with comedy, drama, romance, suspense, etc. from the worlds view, but we know that if we love the world, we will become like it."Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly" II Timothy 2:15,16
  2. We used it because we were tired and thought we needed a break, but we know that God says he will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. " I Corinthians 10:13
  3. We watched it because it was fun and our kids asked us to watch it, but we know not everything fun is beneficial. "Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. " I Corinthians 10:23
  4. We looked to it to teach our kids some good morals from classic kid stories but we know that the only true standard comes from the Words of Life-the Bible. "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him" John 14:21
  5. We used it to rest and relax, but we know that God gave us one day as a Sabbath, not seven nights a week. "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. " Exodus 20:8-11
  6. We watch it because everyone else does too, but we all know that is a horrible practice in life (think of your mom telling you about your friends jumping off that bridge now) and we are accountable to our Lord and Judge alone, not in relation to others. "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy." I Peter 1:14-16
  7. What we were watching wasn't really THAT bad, but we know that Jesus gives us the best example, and settling for less is not God's design. "The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men" Isaiah 29:13

    Nowhere in the Bible does it say that watching TV is a sin, so we don't preach that and certainly don't want to force others to follow our convictions. What we do believe are the scriptures we just talked about and for that reason, as a family, have decided to stop watching TV. I'm sure there are benefits to watching TV, and it IS something restful to do on the Sabbath. It is sometimes useful in training your children what to look out for in the world. Also there is freedom in Christ to do anything, but after prayer we have decided it is just not for our family. I have heard quotes like these many times "Show me how you spend your time and I will show you what you care about." and "Somehow we are surprised that when our kids spend so much time in Rome, they end up like Romans." We want to care about Jesus and be like Jesus, not the world.

    • "As the deer pants for streams of water,so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? "Psalm 42:1,2
    • "The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. " I John 2:17
    Some of our wiser friends have shared with us that when they take something out of their lives they intentionally replace it with something better. So we have instead decided to fill our time with Sermons. If someone invites us to a movie and dinner night, or a movie is playing while we are out, or a movie is being shown at Youth Group will we run away? No. But in our home we have replaced TV time, with Sermon time. So we are still sitting down as a family in front of a screen, but we do so with the intentional mindset of growing in the wisdom of Christ, not the wisdom of the world.

    • "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" James 3:17

    Lastly, let's just be clear. No amount of "good" or even "intentional"parenting is going to save our kids. We realize that it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit, not by our "good" parenting that our kids will be saved. So we invite the Holy Spirit to work in and through us as individuals and as parents in hopes that we will bring more honor and glory to Christ by the example we set for our kids.

    Here is a recent family photo taken by our dear friend "Uncle Joseph" Lehman at the Daffodil farm!


      1. I think I found your blog through the Staddon's if I remember correctly. What an encouraging post. Thank you. I forwarded it to my husband.