Parenting Isn’t for Cowards!

Parenting isn’t for cowards. Tim Keller aptly noted this in King’s Cross:

When you have children they’re in a state of dependency.  They have so many needs; they can’t stand on their own.  And they will not just grow out of their dependency automatically.  The only way that your children will grow beyond their dependency into self-sufficient adults is for you to essentially abandon your own independence for twenty years or so.  When they are young, for example, you’ve got to read to them and read to them – otherwise they won’t develop intellectually.  Lots of their books will be boring to you.  And you have to listen to your children, and keep listening as they say all kinds of things that make for less than scintillating conversation.”

And then there’s dressing, bathing, feeding, and teaching them to do these things for themselves.  Furthermore, children need about five affirmations for every criticism they hear from you.  Unless you sacrifice much of your freedom and a good bit of your time your children will not grow up healthy and equipped to function.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of parents who just won’t do it.  They won’t disrupt their lives that much; they won’t pour themselves into their children.  They won’t make the sacrifice.  And their kids grow up physically, but they’re still children emotionally, – needy, vulnerable, and dependent.  Think about it this way:  You can make the sacrifice, or they’re going to make the sacrifice.  It’s them or you.  Either you suffer temporarily and in a redemptive way, or they’re going to suffer tragically, in a wasteful and destructive way.  It’s at least partly up to you.  All real, life-changing love is substitutionary sacrifice.”

Sunday’s sermon was called Diligent Discipline. ( Here are a few highlights to help you navigate the often murky waters of parenting.

While the debate continues regarding physical discipline (because of abuses), let me give you a few pointers:

  • Never use your own hand (a wooden spoon: Mr. NoNo)
  • Never through the face
  • Never in anger
  • Seldom use physical discipline

Regarding verbal discipline (both physical and verbal discipline are referenced in Proverbs), consider these guidelines:

  • Do not say, “You’re a liar.” Say, “you lied.”
  • Do not do it in anger
  • Get the facts right.

Finally, remember that you are parenting on this side of heaven. Life is wrought with difficulties. Parenting is hard work. Sacrifice is never easy, otherwise it wouldn’t be called sacrifice. Gospel-centered parenting remembers these three realities:

  • You are parenting in a fallen world.
  • You are a sinner parenting a sinner.
  • God is willing, powerful and able. (adapted from Paul Tripp)



Why Lebron James Works so Hard

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV)

lebronjames23Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in an overtime thriller. It is quite an accomplishment to beat the Warriors in their own house, especially without the assistance (or literally assists) of Kyrie Irving. It was an impressive win. James had 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. The Cavs won game 18 of their last 20. What a game!

When we watch games we’re only privy to a sliver of the action–what we don’t see is the daily regimen athletes endure. Paul, writing here of the Greek games in his day, says every athlete exercises self-control in all things. Athletes in the ancient games were required to practice 10 months (and no nothing else but practice) before the games. Today, athletes prepare four years before the Olympics. Sometimes that preparation is for a 10 second sprint in the 100 meter. At other times it is for the best attempt at the triple jump. Four years is condensed into 18 feet!

They do it to obtain a perishable wreath. In Paul’s day the “medal” was a wreath made of leaves. It withered and died. Today it is a gold, silver, or bronze medallion. It will one day melt when the earth is consumed in fire. It is perishable too. Lebron is playing for another championship ring–two are not enough. How serious is he? Recently he shared his daily diet routine:

  • Meal 1 (6.25am): Whole wheat bagel with 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/2 cup of strawberries, 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • Meal 2 (9.30 am): 1-cup orange juice, 1 banana, 1 scoop protein power with 1 cup of milk (low fat).
  • Meal 3 (12 noon): Lean roast beef with whole-wheat bun. Lettuce, tomato, 2 tablespoons of mustard, low fat cheddar cheese, and a 1-cup milk (low fat).
  • Meal 4 (2.30 pm): 1/2 cup blueberries, 1-cup low fat natural yogurt, 1/2 glass milk, and one granola bar.
  • Meal 5 (5.00 pm): 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup milk, 1 cup orange juice, an 1 cup low fat strawberry yoghurt (with or without 1.2 tablespoon of honey)
  • Meal 6 (8.30 pm): 11/2 cup small broccoli, 1/2 cup rice, 1/3 cup orange juice, 3 oz chicken breasts, sliced water chestnuts (4 ounces) and 1.2 tablespoon virgin oil

Now you’re feeling bad about that doughnut you just finished eating.

Paul says that we compete for an imperishable wreath. Our wreath is not our entry into heaven. It isn’t even hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It is others. Don’t miss this. He says, “lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” In verse one Paul called the Corinthian believers his workmanship and the seal of his apostleship.

If you’re a parent of teenagers, they are your imperishable wreath. If you’re an employer, your employees are your imperishable wreath. Teachers…students. Coaches…athletes. Doctors…patients.  Neighbors…neighbors. You get the picture.

Do they matter to you as much as a third championship ring to Lebron?