Day 1: God’s Design for Parenting
The purpose of biblical parenting is to train our children to know God, love him, and honor him with their lives. Our goal is heart transformation, not just behavior modification. We’ve found that the vast majority of parenting books—even Christian ones—tend to focus on behavior modification. Behavior modification is primarily concerned with controlling kids’ actions. We can train our kids to behave and still miss the heart issues. Biblical parenting means going after the heart.
We want to teach kids to think about God and pursue his design for their lives. We believe that parents are God’s agents to train the hearts of our children. Let’s consider a few foundational principles to God’s design for parenting.
God Loves Our Children
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” Many of us begin teaching this song to our children before they can even talk. I (Kristin) remember my mom humming and singing this song to me as a young child. Even before I understood the saving power of the gospel and my personal need for salvation, I started to understand the words of this song. It’s a simple song full of rich theological truth. God does love our children—even more than we do. He has plans for them and has made them in his image to carry out his purposes. God knows everything about each one of them. He formed them in the womb and put his “thumbprint” on them in a unique way. He continually cares for them and never gets tired of doing so.
The Bible declares God’s love for our kids; he has a design for his children. It is our distinct privilege and duty, as parents, to help our children understand this design, and to pray they will embrace it. We are their first Bible teachers and give them their first spiritual experiences. Through the Scriptures, we teach them the pattern of God’s design, sin, brokenness, and how to be transformed by the gospel. This pattern is important to understand for salvation, but it is equally important as we teach our kids to walk with Christ .
God’s love is steadfast and redemptive. What a comforting and encouraging truth to teach our children. Even though God loves them, parents know that each one of our children needs to be converted. We pray that each one of them will choose to repent of their sins, believe in Jesus for their salvation, and be regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
Even after they become believers, our children will sin. Our children will experience brokenness. Our children will need to learn how to continually repent and remind themselves of the gospel. They will need to know that even though they fall, God will support them with his hand.