Today’s devotional on a parenting passage is adapted from my book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. Notice the title of the book. These are gospel principles. Just because I’m applying it to parenting doesn’t mean it only has relevance for moms and dads, but for every situation, location and relationship in the Christian life.
If I were to ask you what the best, most practical, most helpful parenting passage in all the Bible was, what would you answer?
Most biblically literate Christian parents would run to Ephesians 6:1–4: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (ESV)
Those are wonderfully helpful verses, but there’s another parenting passage that’s almost never mentioned in the context of parenting. These words, straight from the mouth of the Messiah, contain everything you need to know and understand in order to experience the rest and courage of heart that fuels good, godly, perseverant parenting.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
The Great Commission? Yes! I cannot think of any directive more appropriate to every Christian parent than this one. Here’s why:
Your job as a Christian parent is to do everything within your power, as an instrument in the hands of the Redeemer who has employed you, to woo, encourage, call and train your children to willingly and joyfully live as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This calling is more important than how they do in school, or how positively they contribute to the reputation of your family, or how well they set themselves up for a future career, or how well they do in sports and the arts, or how well they are liked by adults and peers. These things aren’t unimportant, but we must not let them rise to the importance of this one thing: discipleship.
I have to ask you: How well are you making disciples of your children?