Purposeful Parenting, Part III - PATIENCE
Purposeful Parenting, Part III–– PATIENCE
It has already been established that we, as Christian parents, are called by God to humbly take charge of our homes, and to shepherd the hearts of our children. We are not meant to go with the cultural flow when it comes to child rearing. If we do not raise and disciple our children with purpose, the world (e.g. media, peers, culture) most certainly will. God’s word is peppered with passages exhorting us to be intentional with our parenting and the supervision of our homes.
Paul declares: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Elsewhere God’s word states: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Again, what we see in Scripture is not passivity in parenting, but a call to God-centered, word-saturated intentionality. This approach takes focus, energy, and persistence. It also takes loads of patience!
Patience does not come naturally, does it? One anonymous writer humorously quipped: “Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, seldom found in woman, never found in man.” Patience, as hard as it is to show, is possible by the grace of God. Patience is a fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Indeed, those who are keeping in step with the Spirit and yielding to the Spirit’s leading bear the fruit of patience (Gal. 5:25). It is out of the soil of pride, however, that impatience grows and festers. We often get impatient due to a kind of wrong-headed sense of self-importance (e.g. “I shouldn’t have to put up with this person or situation!”). Impatience also thrives where there is an absence of love. “Love is patient ... it is not irritable or resentful” (I Cor. 13:4-5).
As we parent our covenant children, therefore, we must seek to be patient with them–– even as the Lord is patient with us (Ex. 34:6-7). However, this kind of patience does not just happen. Rather, it flows from the wellspring of a heart that is actively abiding in Christ (through the means of grace), dying to self, and walking in the Spirit. We need to remember that parenting is just as much about our sin and our growth in Christ as it is for our children. Moreover, recognizing that we live in an impatient society that wants everything immediately, let us remember to take the long view with our children. Rejoice in the growth that you see, and be patient and prayerful for the growth that you so desperately want to see.
- Pastor Jon