When thinking about our children and all that they face in today’s fallen world, it’s easy to feel discouraged and even desperate, isn’t it?
While there still are bright spots, we live in a culture that is overwhelmingly characterized by moral relativity, extreme individualism, violence and injustice, and the rejection of authority. The ramifications are devastating: hopelessness, purposelessness, depression and suicide, substance abuse and addictions, promiscuity, pornography, and even the wholesale rejection of Christ.
And on top of it all, we’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic with no end in sight! What a tough time to be a parent or a grandparent! It’s more than enough to keep any parent up at night.
How do you navigate the minefield of our world today? How can you be an effective parent and raise positive kids in a generally defective world?
The first step to being positive parents in a negative world is to have clear-cut objectives. What are you trying to accomplish?
That may seem simplistic, but it gets at the foundation of your parenting purpose. What is it? Well, God’s ultimate goal for our children is not mere happiness but Christ-like holiness: “Bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
Our singular focus should be to help the kids we influence toward becoming like Jesus—disciplined, other-centered and holy and pure—and not because they are forced to, but because they want to.
And just as Jesus modeled love and sacrifice, we are to be a model our children can watch and pattern their lives after. We are to demonstrate the love of Christ daily to our children, to BE Christ in their lives.
It’s a little like how the apostle Paul modeled God’s love to all his “children”—the countless people he poured his life into for the sake of the gospel.
There’s a wonderful passage in 1 Thessalonians in which he describes how he interacted with young believers in Thessalonica. He uses the love of a mother and a father as illustrations, providing us with a revealing picture of biblical parenting.
“Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. . . We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, 11-12).
Caring, delighting in, sharing lives, encouraging, comforting, urging toward lives worthy of God—what a marvelous list of parenting behavior to aspire to!
Yes, it’s easy to feel despondent when battling the enemy’s attacks on our children. You want to raise your children to be positive and Christ-like despite growing up in a negative, Christ-rejecting world.
But God reminds us of something very basic and very powerful. His love prevails.
If you’re looking for more resources on how to raise positive kids with sound, biblical parenting strategy, check out Chip’s series, Effective Parenting in a Defective World.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip