Parents often get narrowly focused on achievement, success and people’s approval without taking the time to think about what it really means to win as a parent. In this lesson we’ll help you think more intentionally as a parent, giving you a simple framework for raising a whole-hearted Christian kid.
King David Failed as a Father
David was the greatest king in the history of Israel, but he was a failure as a father. While David was a brilliant strategist, a conquering warrior and a charismatic communicator in his professional life, he was haphazard and undisciplined in his personal life. David famously won many military campaigns, often trusting in God for the victory. However, when David’s son Adonijah plotted to steal the throne of his father, David failed to step in and lead.
1 Kings 1:6 “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, ‘Why are you doing that?'”
Sadly, the story of David is not unique in the Old Testament. The Bible is filled with stories of parents who failed to lead well at home, and the consequences were usually disastrous.
You’ll Fail Too If You Don’t Parent on Purpose
The story of David serves as a reminder for us today. King David did not fail on purpose as a parent; he failed because he didn’t parent on purpose. He didn’t give it the attention and passion that he gave to his wars and his women.
Even today, parents who don’t bring intentionality to their role at home are setting themselves up for trouble. Parenting with a lack of clarity creates reactive instead of proactive parents – parents who put out fires as they come up rather than leading with strength and confidence through the challenges of daily life. God wants us to be intentional in our parenting, entering into it with a clear plan. And all of this clarity of purpose is for the good of our kids, leading them onto the right path.
Great Parents Help Their Kids Onto the Right Path
Biblical parenting is based on the idea that there is a way we “should” go. Without the guidance of parents, many kids will default to a path of selfishness and destruction. There is right and wrong, and the Bible is the final authority on the topic. Godly parents work intentionally to transfer their values to their kids over the course of their parenting years, encouraging their kids to buy into a biblical worldview and live it out in their everyday lives.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Some parents misunderstand Proverbs 22:6. It’s a proverb – a principle – not a promise. Training up a child in the right way does not guarantee that the child will follow the right path. Every person is responsible for the choices they make, and even parents can’t make choices for their kids. But the clear principle is this: godly parents chart a good course for their kids to follow.
Christian Parents Help Their Kids Pursue God
So, what exactly is the course that we should chart for our kids? What does it look like for a young person – or any person – to pursue God in today’s society? We call it going “full circle” in your faith: trusting Jesus, honoring God and helping others. The goal of Christian parenting is to raise kids who pursue God “full circle”.
Keeping the definition of discipleship simple will help our kids to buy into it and live it in their everyday lives. It starts with trusting Jesus – both his power and his perspective. It leads to honoring God – not because Christians are perfect people, but because the Holy Spirit empowers us to live a new kind of life. It culminates in looking outward and helping others pursue God – which is the mission of every Christian parent and person.
If King David had to do it all over again, he would have certainly been more purposeful as a parent. Before his death, he gave this charge to his son Solomon:
1 Kings 2:2-3 “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go.”
Those who parent on purpose by investing intentionally in their kids and inviting them to pursue God with their whole hearts can say with confidence to their kids that they will be successful in all they do and wherever they go. That’s a win.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- What was your parents’ goal in raising you? Do you think they accomplished it? Explain.
- What are some of your core values as a parent? Do your kids know what they are?
- Why do you think David hesitated to discipline his kids? Do you ever feel the same way?
- Describe what it means to go “full circle” as a Christian. Are you doing it? Do you think your kids can do it?
- Make a list of 3 things you do well as a parent. Also make a list of 3 things you can do to be more purposeful.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
- [How to: Use pursueGOD.org in your life]
- [How to: Download a video]
- [How to: Download an article]
- [Watch: Studio Sermon]
- [Download: Discussion Guide]
- [Download: Sermon Slides]
- [Go to: Leader Community – Google+]
- [Related Video: Did You Live Up to Your Parents’ Dreams?]
- [Related Topic: Getting 5-Point Clarity in Parenting]
- [Related Topic: Going Full Circle as a Parent]