This week I've had to get up around 5 a.m. to do my medical transcription. I've been finishing around 7 to 7:30, and I've been taking advantage of the cool, crisp mornings to wake me up and get me going before waking the children. With iPod in hand, I've been listening to a message by Jeff Noblit titled Faithful Fighting Fathers. This message is aimed at fathers but certainly applies to both parents. Being unable to take notes while walking around the neighborhood, I was anxious to listen to it again so I could write down some important truths. Of course I'm going to share them with you. You can visit the web site and find the message there if you want to hear it in full and get all the scripture references.
The church is always reforming. Are we always down on the church? No, just up on God's plan for the church. It is every generation's job to grasp where we've veered off the path, search the scriptures, and pull ourselves back on by the grace of God. Sometimes we measure success by worldly standards and then try to ignore or explain away our failures.
Somewhat of a revival that is currently being seen is a return of Biblical fatherhood. Not just family devotions, teaching, etc., but a lifestyle.
We should never emphasize the rules - family law, dos and don'ts - when training children. We should emphasize the superior principles that God has given us through Jesus and then give the rules. Life principle first - followed by rules after the principle has been taught. What are some foundational life principles?
I. Love, Enjoy, and Glorify God
If our children do not see us doing this and they don't do it either, even if they walk by our rules and standards, all we've made is idolatrous, self-consumed, arrogant, proud Pharisees. Or worse. The minute they get a crack of freedom, they run and rebel like we've never seen. We want our children to love and enjoy God. The byproduct will be good, but this is where it has to start. Our children need to see this in us.
Four attributes of God to teach: 1) God is all good. Even in tragedy, we should let our children know that God is all good. 2) He is all wise. He knows what He is doing. At the end of the age, we will understand. 3) He is all loving. He has infinite love for His children. 4) He is all powerful. No one can thwart His will.
A. Convictions We Function By
1. Lifelong partner - We desire that our children achieve this. God's ideal = one man with one woman for a lifetime. Next comes the rules that can aid in this ----
*Modest dress - Anything that draws attention away from the beauty of Christ in a woman's countenance could be considered immodest; Godly women should control their desires so as not to lead others into sin; young ladies should be taught proper modesty in clothing as well as in spirit and disposition. You can be modest without looking like Little House on the Prairie (but it's okay, Cari, if you want to!). Should dress so as not to attract "strange men." The Bible does not give specifics here. It doesn't say women should only wear skirts/dresses, and they must be _____" below the knee. The rule for one Christian household may not be the same for another. We should not be judgmental towards others in this area.
2. Pure entertainment in our homes - movies, TV, internet - Internet filters can protect the family. Our home should be a safe place where children can escape temptation. We should be discerning and wise regarding novels and magazines. Even with our best intentions, we'll still encounter things of the world, but these can be learning opportunities - discussion of the error and why it is wrong and against God's principles.
3. Authority is our Protection - all society is designed to function under authority. We should respect those in authority over us - even when we don't agree with them (that's a hard one!) Satan wants us to rebel against authority. We should teach our children 1) obedience to parents. There is blessing in protection. Ephesians 6:2-3. We must warn them about peer idolatry - when what their friends think of them is more important than being obedient to their parents - making an idol or god out of approval of their friends. 2) Our children should be taught to respect those that have been given limited authority over them, i.e. teachers, coaches. 3) Respect for police. 4) It is very important that children be taught the importance of honoring elders, preachers, and pastors in the church.
4. No fellowship or encouragement given to rebels outside the family.
5. Our body is the dwelling place of God. 1)Therefore, no intoxicating or addictive substances. They can alter our mind and cause damage to our bodies. 2) No carnal music. Not saying to stay away from non-Christian music (some Christian music isn't worth listening to either), but we should test the spirit of the music. Are the lyrics unbiblical? Do they encourage a sinful lifestyle, encourage you to live for yourself, or teach false doctrine?
6. No premarital impurity. Biblical courtship encouraged and taught.
After listening to this message this week, I had the opportunity to have a good discussion time with my girls. I was able to review some of the above with them and encourage them in why we don't watch some TV shows, listen to certain music, and why we as their parents don't intend to let them do the typical dating routine but want to teach them about the blessing of courtship, etc. I asked them "do you think we make these rules because we hate you and want your teenage years to be the worst ever?" Thankfully, they laughed and said "no." Yes, I know it's easy now because we're not actually there, but I realize now more than ever how important it is that we teach these truths early and that the reason we are doing this is because God's way is always best. Excuse me while I offer up a prayer right quick :>) ~Lord, please give us wisdom and strength to persevere, and give our children hearts that love you and seek your ways!~