The Objective of Parenting
As we read in Psalm 127, God is the builder of any righteous house. He’s the guard of any city submitted to Him. This doesn’t imply that we cannot try on our own, or that we don’t play an integral part. Solomon clearly declared that we can and sometimes do build in vain. But notice also that even though God is the builder, we are still laboring. And even though God is guarding His people, there are still watchmen.Solomon clearly declared that we can and sometimes do build in vain. Click To Tweet
What does this mean? It means that what Solomon is communicating is that God is the one who establishes a thing. The word for ‘builds’ in Psalm 127 means to procreate. God is the one begetting things. When we operate according to God’s plan, all good things are established and they’re established by God Himself, and He is then glorified. This is a true and Biblical understanding of faith with works. No separation whatsoever. One (works) necessarily flows from the other (faith).When we operate according to God’s plan, all good things are established and they’re established by God Himself, and He is then glorified. Click To Tweet
Parenting – Building the Family
Concerning parenting, we are working for—and with—our God and King similar to a husband and wife working together to have a child. In the garden, God established Adam and Eve as the first builders or the first watchmen. This required them to work, to do their part. But as we know they didn’t execute that job very well and quite honestly, neither do we most of the time.
As image-bearers, they were tasked with ruling and reigning over all of God’s creation. They were to be fruitful and to multiply (again God causes the increase, but we still perform our part). They were also to subdue the world (God is the master, but we are His workers). There’s so much more I could say about being watchmen over the original temple of God (the Garden), but we have to keep moving.As image-bearers, they were tasked with ruling and reigning over all of God’s creation. Click To Tweet
I do hope you see that Psalm 127, in context, has everything to do with the objective of parenting. Ruling and reigning is a multigenerational endeavor. With every set of parents, there are arrows given to carry on the work of God. Each one is to be taught what it means to labor correctly and what it means to labor in vain. They are to be taught what it means to trust God with their whole heart versus what it means to lean to their own understanding. The objective is to be image bearers who walk by faith, doing the work of God in His world.Ruling and reigning is a multigenerational endeavor. With every set of parents, there are arrows given to carry on the work of God. Each one is to be taught what it means to labor correctly and what it means to labor in vain. Click To Tweet
Let’s pay special attention to the final verse of Psalm 127 which says, “How blessed is the man whose quiver is full (a brief note here) of them (children); they (parents/children?) will not be ashamed when they (children) speak with their enemies in the gate.”
What has happened within the trajectory of this verse? The parent has trained their children and consequently, they (the children) are able to contend with their enemies in the real world. We can see that the objective of parenting is both spiritual and physical. It is to train up image bearers to do the work of the King, to rule and reign and subdue the world God has given us. And it is to engage with the principalities and powers of this world.
Of course this requires knowing our starting point, which then gives us a more practical objective in parenting. We are raising image-bearers, but how do we get there? Well, the first step is knowing what we’re dealing with. All children are little lumps of clay, and we should assess the quality of the material to see what’s needed.We can see that the objective of parenting is both spiritual and physical. Click To Tweet
Romans 3:23 says, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
Romans 5:12 says, “…through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”
This means that your little bundle of joy who you brought home from the hospital—as cute as he or she was—is a sinner. And as we’ve already learned previously sin and foolishness are connected, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” – Proverbs 22:15
So the practical objective of parenting is to train up image-bearers by a process of refinement. This process is intended to drive out the foolishness and replace it with the wisdom of God. This is why Solomon said this at the outset of Proverbs:
“To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching;” – Proverbs 1:2-8
Parenting done well is intended to instill wisdom, thus producing image-bearers.
How do you assess your children in order to see what’s needed in their growth? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.