Communion with the Triune God

Crossway, 2007 - : 445

The family breakdown we are witnessing today is the result of decades of destructive cultural trends and family choices. What began as seemingly minor erosion has reached huge proportions.

Who is going to stop it, and when and how? Its going to stop when Christian parents take a courageous stand and say like Joshua, As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:15). Lets consider what it takes to make the same courageous commitment today.

We Must Be Committed to Instill Godly Traits in Our Children

Since God is the ultimate builder of true character that passes the tests of time and temptation, we need to consult His Word to know what traits and values go into forming godly character in our children. There are six areas that we believe are crucial to instill in your children.

Instill Confidence in Your Children

As parents we want our children to be secure in who they are in our family, and especially who they are in Jesus Christ. The best statement of this confidence is Pauls declaration, I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). This was not a boast but a testimony of confidence in God.

When our children were growing up, I would sometimes drop them off at school or some function and tell them, Remember who you are and whose you are. They were members of the Graham family, and they were members of Gods family, too. Deb and I never wanted our kids to doubt that they were secure in our love and in Christs love.

One key to raising confident children is to express your confidence in them to do the right thing and make good choices. The incredibly low level of expectation society has for our young people, particularly in the area of sex, communicates a complete lack of confidence in their ability to exercise self-control.

Instill Conviction in Your Children

The old saying People who dont believe anything will fall for everything could be written across the forehead of this generation. One result is that we are producing people determined not to take a firm stand for anything for fear of being labeled intolerant. But truth by its nature is intolerantnot of people, but of that which is false. Help your children understand that God has given us the truth in the person of Jesus Christ: Truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

Truth always demands a decision on our part, and one of the best things you can do for your children is to help them know what they believe and why they believe it, and to encourage them to stand on their convictions no matter what.

Remember that children form their basic attitudes and beliefs at a very young age. Those truths need to be instilled into our kids until they become settled convictions. And truth instilled becomes truth lived out. We wanted our children to grow up with firm convictions that were grounded in the Word of God, not simply with opinions or preferences. We wanted them to be filled with convictional truth that comes from God.

Instill Character in Your Children

One product of deep-seated convictions is solid character. Truth transforms character, so much so that there is no character without conviction. We parents really need to come to grips with the fact that if all we do is give our kids rules without building convictions in them, what we get is outward conformity with no inward character, which lasts only as long as the kids are under our authority.

Instilling character in our children doesnt mean they wont ever venture off the path or try things they shouldnt. But having well-rooted character gives children and young adults an inner sense of conviction to which the Holy Spirit can appeal in drawing them toward the right. When your children not only know the difference between right and wrong but have the courage to stand for the right even when no one is looking, you have produced a person of character.

Instill Compassion in Your Children

All caring begins in the heart, with true compassion for those who are hurting. As Jesus told the story we know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, He said that when the Samaritan came upon the man lying wounded by the side of the road, He had compassion on him (Luke 10:33).

Compassionate parents produce compassionate children. Take your kids with you as you go out to serve the needy in your church and community. There is certainly no lack of opportunities to care for others; its just a matter of getting up and going where the needs are. Theres nothing more exciting than to watch your children grow into people of compassion.

Parents often say, I want to give my children what I didnt have. Well, thats OK as long as you dont forget to give them what you did have. If you were raised to care about people, pass that compassion along to your children, and watch them make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.

Instill Competence in Your Children

We need to raise competent children. Part of this is teaching them how to do the everyday things of life well, whether its learning how to handle money or carrying out their chores at home with excellence.

Of course, the competence our children need goes well beyond money management and car care to the spiritual gifts and abilities with which God has endowed them. Its important to provide them with opportunities to develop their gifts because we are usually successful and fulfilled when we are serving in the areas of our giftednessand that builds confidence and competence.

Philippians 4:13 bears repeating here: I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me. God-instilled confidence leads to God-instilled competence as our children learn that in the power of the Holy Spirit they can do what God has called them to do.

Instill Love for the Church in Your Children

We love the church of Jesus Christ that He loves and died for, and we wanted our children to love the church. Regular church attendance is one area of Christian discipline that should be a must in any childs life. Being part of a local body of believers is not only a scriptural act of obedience (Hebrews 10:24-25), but it is also a great bonding time for families.

The greatest disservice a parent can do is to be halfhearted about anything in the Christian life, including our involvement with church. I urge you to make church attendance deliberate and purposeful for your family.

Summary

Realize that God gave you children not just because He wants more people out there who look and act like you, but because He wants more people who look and act like Jesus! We are raising our children not just to bear our name but to bear the name of Jesus Christ.

So draw a line at the front door of your home, and take your stand with Joshua and other godly parents.

 

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LibraryThing Review

  - LudieGrace - LibraryThing

Admittedly, I have only read the sections on communion with the Father and the Son so far. But I have every expectation of enjoying the rest, and it's a book I will definitely want to own eventually.

LibraryThing Review

  - BookAlert - LibraryThing

What a tremendous work laying out the work of the Trinity in salvation. Owen plunges the depths of the love of the Godhead in helping us to understand their love.

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 (2007)

John Owen (1616-1683) was vice chancellor of Oxford University and served as advisor and chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. Among the most learned and active of the Puritans in seventeenth-century Europe, and known as the "theologian's theologian," he was accomplished both in doctrine and practical theology.

Kelly M. Kapic (PhD, King's College, University of London) is professor of theological studies at Covenant College, where he has taught for over fifteen years. Kapic has written and edited over ten books, focusing on the areas of systematic, historical, and practical theology. Kapic has also published articles in various journals and books. Kapic and his wife, Tabitha, live on Lookout Mountain with their two children.

Justin Taylor (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher at Crossway. He has edited and contributed to several books, including A God-Entranced Vision of All Things and Reclaiming the Center, and he blogs at Between Two Worlds--hosted by the Gospel Coalition.

Kevin Vanhoozer (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of several books and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Systematic Theology and the Journal of Theological Interpretation.