TLP 524: Biblical Parenting Essentials, Phase 3

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I’m your host AMBrewster, and today we are just three episodes away from concluding our review of the past 500 episodes. 

Obviously, there are so many truths and lessons and challenges and practical applications from the hundreds of hours of podcast episodes that if you have the time, I strongly encourage you to go back and listen to them all. At least go through them and find the ones that address your current parenting needs. 

Each of these episodes and series were created to function as the teaching time of a biblical counseling session. In fact, I use so many of these episodes and series in my biblical counseling so that the family can be focusing on truth during the week, learning what they need to change, and then we can spend our sessions applying the truth to their lives.

If you have enjoyed and benefited from this series in any way, please rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts, Facebook, and anywhere else you can rate and review the show. 

And if you’d like to see more of this free, biblical parenting content, will you please consider donating. After this series is over, we’re going to have to take an indeterminate break from producing new podcast episodes because we simply don’t have the financial support to allow me to continue creating this free content full time. 

Basically, it’s come to the point where I need to dedicate an increasingly larger portion of my week to working a second job. Now, I pray this won’t be the case for long, and we may have so many monthly donation commitments come in after this episode that I’ll be able to continue pouring myself full-time into TLP because our financial needs are met, but until that time, this is the plan. 

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And while you’re there, as always take advantage of our free episode notes, transcript, and related resources.

And now let’s talk about how to evaluate how you’re doing in the Correction Phase of Biblical Parenting.

The biggest challenge is to determine whether you’re truly Correcting your kids or whether you’re just Teaching.
In order to determine this, I have a bunch of criteria which are broken down into three Levels. So, let’s get started.

By the way, the vast majority of today’s information is new to the show. I’ll remind you of some really valuable resources as we go, but this is the first time I’ve presented this material this way.

Let’s start with Level 1 Evaluation: The Promise

Are you biblically correcting your child?

1. Are you inviting your child to commit to biblical change?

After we’ve taught and reproved and forgiven our kids, we need to invite them to spiritual maturity. But—more than that—we need to invite them to commit to that change.

In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus approached a number of men and presented them with the same command He presented His other disciples, “Follow me.

In I Corinthians 4:16, Paul exhorted the church to “be imitators of me.

Every command in Scripture is an invitation to do something and—more generally—to at least commit to doing something. Let’s be honest, you won’t do it if you’re not committed, and committing is actually easier than doing because it’s merely words. That’s not to say they’re unimportant; they’re very important.

If you’re inviting your kids to commit to biblical change, you’re off to a good start.

But there’s a second necessary part to Level 1.

2. Is your child committed to change?

In Luke 9:57-62 as Jesus told the various men to follow Him, they each had an excuse. None of them would even commit to being His disciple. It doesn’t matter if God Himself invites your child to follow Him, they won’t be His disciples unless they take the first step.

If your child won’t commit to the process of change, you’re not in the Correction Phase. Remember, they have to participate.

However, if you’re inviting them to biblical maturity and they are committing to the process, that’s a great start.

Level 2: The Plan

It’s great to make a Promise, but if there’s no Plan, it will be impossible to fulfill the promise. And as we discussed last time, your kids are not equipped to follow through on their Promise without a solid and specific Plan. 

Therefore . . .

1. Are you leading your child to determine what they need to biblically change in their lives?

This is establishing the destination of their spiritual journey. This is defined by God and empowered by God and communicated in God’s Word.

If you’re not helping them see from the Scriptures God’s expectations for how they are to respond in this situation in their life, you aren’t correcting. 

2. Is your child participating in determining what they need to change

You’re teaching if you’re telling your kid how God wants them to mature. But if your child is participating in the process of discovering God’s plan for their maturity, you’re correcting.

Of course, the quality of your correction is going to be determined by how specific and actionable the application is. It’s wonderful to know that God expects us to be gracious with each other, but what does that mean? 

I just did a series for The Celebration of God called The Gracious Life. You should check it out. It was so convicting for me. Anyway, what does it really look like to be gracious? What does that mean? Well, you can’t be gracious unless your humble, kind, compassionate, gentle, patient, enduring, forgiving, and loving. 

We need to help our kids dig into the Scriptures to make sure they truly understand God’s expectation for them. It’s not good enough to have culturally-informed definitions. It’s not good to think we know what it is to be gracious. 

The Correction Phase is the Bible study phase. This is part of the reason the Correction Phase takes time. It takes time to study and meditate on the Scriptures in valuable ways.

But as long as you are leading and your child is participating in the process of knowing the mind of God as it applies to their current sin-struggle, then you’re in the Correction Phase.

And the more practically, personally precise the application, the better.

But that is not the end of the Planning Level. There’s so much more, and this is the part that will sound familiar as you consider what it means to biblically obey.

3. Are you leading your child to determine how they need to biblically change in their lives?

Whereas the last point required helping your child discover God’s destination for their change, this point focuses on the ever-so-important path to reach the destination.

What does that look like when your chid is interacting with the school bully? What does it sound like when your child needs to be gracious with their siblings? How are they do deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Christ at work, at school, in the bathroom, and at the table?

This is the point we unpacked last week—this is the moment to help our children nail down super-biblical, but also practical, precise, and personal application.

But this needs to be more than a lecture or a speech.

4. Is your child participating in determining how they need to change?

I do this with my counselees all the time, but it works with kids too. All it takes is a simple question:
“When you’re tempted to _______________, what do you need to do to say ‘No’ to the temptation and ‘Yes’ to God’s will for your life?”

And then you wait. You ask questions, you provide Scripture and illustrations to lead them along, but the key is that the child is participating. They’re not grudgingly siting there with their arms folded saying things like, “I don’t know.”

However, though we all know that our kids need to change by heading to God’s destination for their lives on the path that leads them there in the most Christ-honoring way, they will never reach the destination or take one step down the path unless they have the right motivation.

5. Are you leading your child to determine why they need to biblically change in their lives?

This isn’t about the destination, and this isn’t about the path. It’s about the whole reason for taking the path to the destination.

Though I’ve presented this point near the end of the Planning Level, I strongly suggest you start with it.

One of the best ways to determine if your child is truly interested in Biblical Correction is to teach them the importance of motivation. 

James 4:3 teaches, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Your child may be asking for change and growth and maturity, but if they only want those things in order to spend them on their own pleasures and for their own glory, they’re idolaters who will not receive that for which they’re asking.

Later in the passage it says that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” and continues by calling us to submit to Him.

Correcting that which is incorrect must not be about avoiding consequences, manipulation, a better life, more friends, more privileges, or about simply pleasing yourself. God gives us the grace to change when we have the right motives. We must do all to His glory.

Of course . . . that conversation isn’t enough.  

6. Is your child participating in determining why they need to change?

All it takes is a few careful questions to determine your child’s motivation for wanting to do right. Sure, they may lie to you; in those situations you simply have to trust God, but don’t avoid asking. And when they inevitably explain their very self-focused reasons for changing, then I recommend sharing key passages with them about the importance of why we do what we do, and then ask them why God wants us to change.

It’s a vital conversation, it rarely happens in a couple minutes, but it has to happen lest your kids try to change without the Lord.

Remember, there’s a unbreakable chord tying the motivation to the destination. You will never walk the right path and come to the right destination if your goal is to achieve your own ends. It’s impossible to glorify God while glorifying self. You can’t do right while doing wrong, and—yes—motivating your “right behavior” for selfish reasons is doing wrong.

So, if your child is participating with you to understand the foundational reasons for his or her spiritual maturity, you’re likely in the Correction Phase.

However, the Promise and the Plan aren’t enough. How many road trips were planned but never taken?

Therefore, we must consider the final Level of Correction.

Level 3: The Product

Do you want to determine if you are Correcting your child to the glory of God?

1. Are you consistently discipling your child to do the right things?

As your child participates in the correction, are you faithfully and consistently coming along side them, leading them, nudging them, and discipling them? 

It’s not enough to have a one-off conversation about the right things in the right ways for the right reasons and in the right power. Change is a process, an often long and difficult process. If you are patiently and consistently there with them, helping them move toward the right beliefs, desires, actions, words, and feelings, you’re correcting them.

And—of course . . .

2. Is your child changing the right thing?

This isn’t about a one-sided conversation. I must continue to repeat this. Your child has to do their part to be in the Correction Phase with them.

And, to be honest, it’s this moment right here that signals that you are in the Correction Phase. Your child has turned the ship and is sailing due west. They’re taking your advice, they’re doing things differently.

And the final four points must all be part of the process for it to be biblical correction.

3. Are you consistently discipling your child to do the right things in the right ways?

As you do so . . .

4. Is your child changing in the right ways?

And—most importantly . . .

5. Are you consistently discipling your child to do the right things in the right ways for the right reasons?

And furthermore . . .

6. Is your child changing for the right reason?

According to James 1, when your child is no longer just a hearer of the Word as you teach and reprove them, but they have now become a doer of the Word “who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”

They will be blessed in their change, their maturity, their correction.

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