/**/ The Purposeful Wife: Assessing the Spiritual Condition of Our Children

Friday, March 4, 2016

Assessing the Spiritual Condition of Our Children

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One of my greatest frustrations with Christian parenting books is the tricky business of how they address {or don't address} our children's souls.

It seems that a lot of books assume that your children are already born-again believers, or inevitably will be if you follow their prescriptive plan. So there is an underlying assumption in all of their advice for discipline and instruction that our kids are going to respond a certain way, that they will have genuine repentance, that the Holy Spirit is definitely working in them.

Don't get me wrong- I so hope and pray that that is eventually the case for my children. I love them deeply, and thus am deeply concerned that they turn to Christ in repentance and faith before it's too late.

I just struggle with knowing how to discipline and instruct them, knowing that an unregenerate person is utterly opposed to God and His ways, and knowing that to some extent the only thing I can really exert some control over is their behavior {although let's be honest- we have a lot less control over that then we'd like!}.

Of course I'm trying to reach their hearts. I'm trying to call sin what it is, to point them to the Scriptures, and to address underlying attitudes and not just actions. I just have this strong sense that "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain" {Psalm 127}- unless God is working to draw my children to Himself, they aren't going to know Him and at the end of the day there is nothing I can do about that.

I recently read Martha Peace and Stuart Scott's book, The Faithful Parent, and was truly struck by it.

This is the first Christian parenting book I've read that actually says my children probably aren't saved at their current ages {of course we know age is irrelevant, and the Lord isn't limited by numbers...still}. It's one of the only Christian parenting books I've read that acknowledged the condition of my children's souls, gave solid Biblical counsel on how to address unregenerate children in day-to-day discipline and instruction, and equipped me to evangelize them appropriately.

Think: less pressure, less sermonizing; more simple Gospel instruction in a Deuteronomy 11:19 way- as you sit in your house, walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.

As Peace and Scott so wisely inform, our goal in parenting isn't perfection- that's impossible! Our goal is not a proven product- if you do A, B, C, and D, your children will turn out this way- also impossible!

Rather, our goal is to be faithful- striving to know the Lord, to obey the Lord, and to point our children to the Lord, as we grow in sanctification and grace. It's a faith process. There will be lots of bumps along the road, plenty of failings and pain inflicted on both our part and our children's. But by God's grace and with His help, we can be faithful, growing more so each day.

One of the last sections of the book is a 30 day devotional series for parents whose children are in outright rebellion. This portion alone is worth the price of the book. The counsel given is so wise, gentle, Christ-exalting, and faith building. I pray that I'm never in that situation, but if in God's providence a rebellious child is in my future, I intend to remember this section and just plant myself in it.

My prayer is that the Lord would help us to be faithful in our calling as mothers. That we would realize that the weight of our children's souls is in the Lord's hands, not ours. That we'd let go of all the pressure and stress and fretting, and instead pour all of our hearts into loving God greatly, and mothering the best we can, utterly dependent upon His help and working.

I hope this book encourages you as it did me.

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