Our Priority as Parents in Uncertain Times (Transcript)
(This is the transcript from a recent podcast. If you'd rather listen, click here)
To say our world has been in upheaval over the last year and a half is an understatement.
I don’t know about you, but I have been struggling with finding a firm place to set my feet. The amount of information and events that we have had to process has been impossible to keep up with. I have gone through the cycle several times of cutting off the flow just to get some relief, only to find myself buried again with more news and information along with grave concerns about where things are going in the world around us. Maybe you can relate.
We are told in Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
If my heart is in chaos, my emotions, thoughts, and actions quickly follow.
As parents, we simply cannot afford that. We have a biblical mandate to be fully engaged in raising our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The word in that verse is “paideia”. It is a Greek word for education, but it was a holistic and all-encompassing term that encapsulated both formal and informal education: “The whole training and education of a child.”
It was about an entire way of life and thought, roughly equivalent to the way that we use the term “worldview” today.
Education is never neutral.
Education is discipleship.
Discipleship is rooted in relationships.
Relationships and discipleship take time.
If our hearts and minds are frantic with distractions and worries about the future, there will be no room to hear God’s voice.
“The day is coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and Judah.
This covenant will not be like the one
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.
But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”-Hebrews 8:8-10 (NLT)
Under the New Covenant, God promises to speak directly to our hearts, but if we give our hearts to other things (like worry and fear or any other idols) there will be no room for God’s wisdom and discernment and if there were ever a time we desperately need wisdom and discernment, it’s now.
The enemy is roaming the earth like a lion, seeking whom he may devour and he wants the next generation.
This is why it is imperative that as parents we stay doggedly determined to both protect our children and give them a thoroughly biblical education: physically, mentally emotionally, and spiritually. We are called by God to be their first line of defense. If we fail, our children suffer and the church and the world then suffer.
This fact is evidenced all around us. We are seeing the fruit of generations of parents in the church who have been idol worshipers and have taught their children to do the same. It’s overwhelming evidence of an unbiblical worldview passed down from parents to their children as they abdicated their biblical role in their children’s lives. If we want to have hope for the future we must start by being truth-seekers, pouring truth into our children, and living it alongside them.
So where do we go from here?
We must think long-term. We must think multi-generationally.
Exodus 20:46 says:
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”
God wants to lavishly bless his people and He is a God of mercy and grace, but He is also a God of perfect justice and he simply cannot and will not bless idol worship. He will not share His glory and He is glorified when we live out the truths of who He is as fully laid out in scripture.
I recently heard fear/anxiety/worry described as a divided mind and a disordered heart.
I pray daily that God would give me an undivided mind and an ordered heart, that I would not be deceived in order that I will be able to hear and see the truth, know and believe the truth and walk fully in the truth.
Truth originates with God alone. There are no alternative truths. We must align our hearts with biblical truth if we are going to have real hope for the future.
Having a Creator changes everything. Where there is no Creator, there is chaos and an attempt to reign in that chaos without Christ is fruitless and leads to more chaos. People from all political arenas are guilty of this because man is sinful and any attempt to bring order outside of Christ’s redemption is an exercise in futility no matter how well-intentioned.
Theology starts at home. The church and the family are institutions that God ordained to create and sustain order in society, so until we embrace that fact and are faithful to God’s order, things will continue to deteriorate because anything less than a biblical worldview leads to chaos.
We must be unwavering in faithfulness to boldly speak truth to power, living what we believe and know to be true as revealed in scripture and applied with the help of the Holy Spirit.
It starts in the home and flows out into our neighborhoods and communities.
Foundational to all of this is the message of the gospel: a loving Creator God sent His Son to set us free from sin and death so that His people (the church) could walk in a new way of being human in Christ which also happens to be the only way to bring order to chaos. Our worship is vital to this. By worship, I not only mean the gathering of the saints but how we live our lives daily because it is all worship in one form or another.
“For the Lord is God,
and he created the heavens and earth
and put everything in place.
He made the world to be lived in,
not to be a place of empty chaos.
‘I am the Lord,’ he says,
‘and there is no other.’ ”-Isaiah 45:18
As believers, we know the root problem of all society’s issues is sin. It’s clear that civilization is fragile, not because of the underlying chaos, but because of sin. For the unbeliever who has no ultimate standard of order, his only hope is to frantically grasp for control in an attempt to bring order to the chaos, but his efforts are in vain and nothing more than pagan worship because he has failed to address what God says is the root issue.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who call themselves believers who are doing exactly the same thing as they live and work and worship from a secular worldview.
It’s time for the Church to stop being wise in her own eyes and to fully embrace a biblical worldview, faithfully passing this on to the next generation.
“Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.
Wisdom will save you from evil people,
from those whose words are twisted.
These men turn from the right way
to walk down dark paths.
They take pleasure in doing wrong,
and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil.
Their actions are crooked,
and their ways are wrong.” Proverbs 2:2-15
Soli Deo Gloria (To God alone be the glory!)
God, show us how to give our children a biblical education, disciple the people in our sphere of influence biblically, and make a habit of proclaiming the truth of the gospel faithfully.
Though things seem to be happening at warp speed, help us to remember that grace can run fast too!
Man quickly forgets that he is just man, but you are the king of the universe!
You say in Psalm 9:19, 20:
Arise, O Lord! Do not let mere mortals defy you! Judge the nations! Make them tremble in fear, O Lord. Let the nations know they are merely human!
You are our God. May we be found faithful to love you with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and teach our children to do the same!