Becoming a parent has been the most satisfying and challenging gifts I’ve ever received. By far, one of the most challenging aspects of parenting is teaching my children obedience. It really is a balancing act of making sure I’m correcting them in a way to “train them up in the way that they should go” (Proverbs 22:6) while “not provoking them to anger” (Ephesians 6:4).
God commands children to obey their parents, so as a parent it is my job to help my children obey God by obeying me. Not in a selfish or self-serving way, but with a heart to honor God in all our relationships, especially the parent-child relationship.
As we are the ones teaching our children about God, we especially need to ensure that as we teach them obedience it does not get confused with legalism. I have too many friends that grew up in households that were so focused only on behavior modification that they grew up thinking God only wanted good works from them.
This thinking makes it incredibly difficult for children to understand and accept the Gospel message that says our salvation is by grace through faith and not our works.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
As we teach obedience we can’t avoid talking about the actual acts we expect of our children, nor should we, but there are certain things we can do as parents to teach obedience without it leading to legalism or the belief that they can earn salvation and acceptance from God by being “good” or performing. Here are seven ways we can do just that.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Xavier Mouton