A parent has many jobs, can I get an Amen? But do you know what THE most important job, hands down, for any Christian parent is?
In fact, that’s the primary job Jesus left all of us to do (Matthew 28:19) as Christians, so how much more is this command given to parents, backed up with the commission to “train and nurture them in the admonition of the Lord?”
We all agree on the principle. But how to do it in the every day isn’t quite as easy to flesh out. Or is it?
Simple explained, discipleship is passing a way of life, a belief system, onto another person, and begins with relationship. You can’t disciple a person with whom you have no relationship. So nurturing relationships with your children is the crucial underpinning of our task.
But what does it look like, day to day, to disciple our children in the gospel of Christ?
Having set times of devotion or worship are certainly an important part of raising children in the admonition of the Lord. But in my opinion, these are much less effective means than the daily connection we have the opportunity to make. Fleshing out the gospel largely means showing our children, in the non-formal settings–the day to day living–how Christ lived and how He wants us to live.
And this is hard. Because it requires us, first of all, to live it out ourselves. The first, and most powerful influence in our children’s lives is our example to them each day. How do we face conflict? How do we deal with insults? Are we honest? Are we loving? Are we kind? Do we prioritize God’s Word? Do we hate our sin? Do we forgive? Do we respect authority? Are we thankful? Do we take everything to prayer? The list goes on. (Ouch, ouch and ouch.)
Then, there are a hundred ways in which we can help our children navigate through life, showing them what God’s Word says about how to live–that is the essence of discipleship. There is a “why” to virtually everything we do.
“Keep your room clean.” Why? Because God has called us to be good stewards of what He has given us AND it is loving to others to help keep order in a home. (And because He has asked you to obey your parents.)
“Don’t yell at your brother.” Why? Because even when we are angry, we are to handle the situation without sin. What is the heart of our anger? “There is fighting among you because you want and cannot have.” (paraphrased from Scripture) What is a better approach to solving conflict?
“I’m really proud of you for being kind to that new girl.” Why? Because you are fulfilling the law of Christ when you love your neighbor and treat them as yourself.
Our job here at home is a large one. If you don’t think it is, you have lost the vision of what you have been called to. (By the way, if you have been faithful, and you have a child who is not following the Lord, don’t despair; the story is not finished. And also remember, that even one of Christ’s own disciples turned away. It wasn’t His fault.)
GK Chesterton said: “How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe?”
And doesn’t that also apply to Christ’s command to make disciples? If one mother of 3 is faithful to do this, and each of her children become mothers (or fathers) of 3 and are faithful to do this, in 5 generations, that one mother would have the potential to make (if I did my math right) 360 disciples just in her family. That’s no small thing.
Ask the Lord to renew your vision. Then get on your knees and ask Him for help discipling your nation.