In his recently released book – Counter Culture, David Platt challenged the church to engage all of culture with the transforming grace of the gospel. He realizes that many of us can easily address one or two issues (say poverty or abortion). But as a Christian, we are called to do more. We are called to embrace all aspects of Christian living (not just the ones that come easily to us.) To be faithful, we have to cling to our gospel boogie boards and paddle against every fallen aspect of the cultural stream. We have to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and daily follow Jesus.
And I believe, we should call our kids to do the same. We should expect our kids’ to live lives radically transformed by the gospel. We should call our kids to counter the culture. And the main way our kids do this is by obeying us (their parents).
In II Timothy 3:1-5, we read that one of the signs of the end times is that people will be “disobedient to their parents.” And it doesn’t take much looking to find disobedient kids all around us. We all know the smart kid at gymnastics, the son who argues with his dad during the baseball game, and the daughter who lies to her mom on her way home from school. We also don’t have to visit many stores to find a mom frantically screaming as her kid races down the grocery aisle. Disobedient kids are everywhere.
And, the kids who continually disobey their mom or Dad is not just a little messed up or confused. They are lost and standing in judgement. To love someone in authority, you must obey them. The apostle John also said no one can love God and hate their family. Disobedient kids don’t have an issue with their Dad, they have an issue with their heavenly father. Judgement is not far away.
To be a loving parent, we must call our kids to obey us as we seek to follow Christ. We must call them demonstrate their love for Jesus through their actions in the home. Our kid’s spiritual wellbeing depends on it. Their testimony depends on it.
God is not just interested in whether or not kids fold their clothes or take out the trash. He calls children to obey their parents, because such obedience leads to long fulfilled lives (Eph. 5). God designed parents to teach, disciple and train their kids (Deut. 6). Parents (not pastors) have the greatest opportunity to teach about managing money, about people skills, and about eternal life during the typical day. And as kids listen to their parents, they acquire the skills needed to excel at life, and they get the knowledge necessary to embrace heavenly obedience. As expected, God’s plan works. A large majority of Christians embrace Christ as children.
When our kids throw their toy across the room in anger, we can’t excuse their action as cute nor can we ignore it. That little person’s behavior is separating them from Christ. To be a loving parent, we must call our kids to obey us (And of course, we must be obedient to Christ. Hypocritical parenting never helped anyone) and then discipline and restore our kids when they fall short of our commands. As we do this, we point our unredeemed kids to Christ and remind our believing kids to value Christ above all us. Obedience is a big deal.