22 Feb Parenting – Chapter 11
Chapter 11 – Josh Feil
1) Why do my children do the things they do?
2) How does change take place in children’s hearts and lives?
3) How can I be a tool of change in the hearts and lives of my children?
Paul David Tripp, author of the book Parenting, would challenge us to embrace gospel-driven, eyes-open, grace-soaked answers to these questions through the following lenses: worship, idolatry and the supremacy of Jesus.
Tripp defines worship as “that inner desire for wonder, amazement, and awe that every human being possesses” (154). “Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.” (Deut. 11:16) “Why did my child do that?” Paul Tripp would say that God’s throne in her life has been functionally abdicated to a counterfeit god. She needs her idols to be crushed. She needs you to wake her up to the battle which is raging for her soul.
Tripp reminds us that “the capacity of the heart of our children to worship is meant to drive them to God.” But from day 1 to 1000 and beyond, the power of sin deceives us and leads us into cosmic treason against God, His word and wisdom. How often do we find that discipline toward our kids is little more than our idols and theirs locked in a battle royale? Beware the temptation to encourage an exchange of their idols for yours. Hear it from Dr. Tripp:
“Yes, they want their children to believe in God, to go to church, and to do what is right, but the primary focus of their parental energy is on producing children who are mannerly, do well at school, and succeed in sports and music. So they try to control all of the behaviors that will get in the way of these goals. Because of this they do not focus on the heart and what rules the heart. And because they fail to think about the heart, they miss those wonderful moments of grace where God is revealing the heart of the child so that this parents can be God’s tools of rescue, leading our children to insight, confession and repentance (157).”
How can she change? She needs her idols to be crushed, but she needs Jesus to do the crushing.
Jesus does for our kids what only he can do for our kids. Here’s the good news for you, for all of us charged with the Christian nurture of young image bearers: Jesus cares more for their head, hearts and hands than you ever could. And he can do something about it.
“He has done something about it! He is after the heart of your child even when you don’t have the sight or the sense to be [emphasis added]. And he will be faithful to give you opportunities to see and help your children to see the God-replacements that are progressively gaining control of their thoughts, desires, feelings, choices, hopes, dreams, cravings, values and goals. He is on a mission of rescue, and he has appointed you to be his representative on-site in the lives of your children (158).”
On the cross, Jesus put death to death. His victory over sin crippled not only the curse of sin but also its power. And that’s good news for us too, because if we’re honest, “we’re more like our children than unlike them” (162). Dr. Tripp would say that this doesn’t mean we do nothing. But that in all we do, we seek to be “sharp tools in his powerful hands” (161).
We help them to see when they’re blind, believe what they doubt, and lead them to experience the “rescuing and transforming power of grace” (160). May God grant you the reverence and humility to trust that He has given you everything you need “to engage in that deeper war” (162).