RESCUING A PARENT’S HEART: The Biggest Obstacle to Parenting Are Your Own Idols
You are the biggest obstacle to your parenting. We love to blame others and the culture but the Scriptures indicate that it is our own selfish desires that are the causes to conflicts and quarrels. James 4:1-10 states: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Often in disciplining our children, we use wrong motives and are driven by selfish desires that come from idols that we have established in our hearts. Just think of the last time you were angry with your child. What is it that you really wanted? Did your child interrupt your desire for comfort or peace? Did you accuse your child of being disrespectful when what really happened is they did something that you did not like? Did they not show appreciation for something that you did for them? Were you wrapped up somehow in an activity they were doing and they did not achieve something you desired? Were you embarrassed about something your child did and became angry about it rather than grieve or fight for them? Your answer to these questions may indicate your heart is embracing idols.
Paul Tripp talks about the principle of inescapable influence. It is understanding that whatever controls your heart will control your life. Your desires and passions will eventually overtake you so that as James 4 indicates, you will hurt others, fight and quarrel for them. If the gospel of Jesus Christ is not the center of your heart, other things will take their place. Anything that displaces Christ will become an idol and idols make false promises and never deliver what you wanted. That is why you will continually return to them thinking that eventually you will get what the idol promised. Christ is our strength and our joy and delivers what is promised.
Tomorrow I will present the importance of understanding biblical grace in your parenting.