Student Ministry November 2018
Dear Church Family,
This month my wife and I will be welcoming into our home our new baby boy! We are beyond exited, slightly nervous, and definitely ill-prepared for the amount of sleep deprivation we are about to experience. Ultimately we feel abundantly blessed, and we can’t wait to get to know this person the Lord has entrusted to us. It is because He has entrusted the raising and training of this child to us that we have been reading a book by Ted Tripp titled, Shepherding a Child’s Heart.
In this book Tripp discusses the need to train the heart of a child, not just the behavior. The premise is that scripture teaches that behavior comes from the heart, which means that if your heart is sinful, then ultimately your behavior will be too. And since scripture also tells us that all humans are sinful (Romans 3:23) we all have sinful, self-focused hearts that will produce sinful, self-focused behavior. Tripp’s point is that this reality is the number one issue when it comes to parenting. Children’s hearts are sinful and our parenting must point that out and give our children the solution. Obviously teaching children and teenagers proper behavior is extremely important, and discipline is necessary to do so. But we cannot forget that for all of our discipline and teaching, we cannot, as Tripp would say, give our children God oriented hearts.
But that is not to trouble us too greatly. It should make us feel a little powerless to command and dictate our child’s life; but that’s the point. God didn’t give you your child so you could control their life. He gave you your child so you could teach them about God and help them understand the gospel. He gave them to you so you would grow in your faith to trust the Lord with the heart of your most precious possession. You see, this is the hope that you have as a parent: God can change the worst of hearts. Look at what scripture has to say about God’s ability to move the heart. Proverbs 21:1 says “A king’s heart is like channeled water in the Lord’s hand: He directs it wherever he chooses.”
When you are disciplining your child, or lecturing them for the thousandth time; remember that their heart orientation is what truly matters. How are you pointing them to the gospel in your discipline or lecture. More importantly, how often are you praying for God to change their heart? Do you believe that God can change the hearts of great kings? If so, won’t you hope in Him to guide the heart of your child? By all means teach, lecture, and discipline your child. But more than that, lead their heart to Christ and ask the Lord to do the work only He can do.