Last week, we started a series called “The Gospel & Parenting,” based on a talk given by William Farley at the Connecting Church & Home Conference. Over the next several weeks, we’ll continue to take a bird’s eye view of the “events” of the gospel and their practical import for parenting.
If the first step of the gospel work of God was electing His chosen people, the next could be considered the incarnation of Christ. In history, in time and space, God the Son became a human being. In order for God to actually reconcile His chosen people to Himself, Christ had to become a man. It was necessary in order for Him to become a perfect mediator, sacrifice, substitute, and savior. There was no other way.
As Paul so beautifully recounts in Philippians 2:5-9:
…Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…
Our minds can not grasp the humility displayed by God the Son in His incarnation. The Creator of the universe (Col. 1) becoming part of His creation. The One angels worshiped becoming the One men rejected. The enthroned God becoming a vulnerable infant…All to save undeserving sinners like us. Mind boggling.
But what’s this have to do with parenting? How can we be challenged as parents by the incarnation of Christ?
A. Model humility
As Farley stated in his talk, “obedience (to God) is always self-humbling.” Christ’s obedience was. Ours must be as well…There is a theme that runs throughout Scripture that goes something like this: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). As God’s people, who desire His graces, we ought to frequently humble ourselves before Him and before our families.
So, be willing to confess your sin toward your children. Be quick to apologize. Frequently ask for forgiveness from your spouse and from your children. As a parent, your role is not to display a polished, sin-free portrait of yourself to your family. No, you are to be honest and transparent, showing your cards as a fellow sinner who is just as in need of God’s grace as your children.
B. Help your children put on humility.
But don’t let your efforts stop at your own example-setting. Call your children to put on humility as well. This might take a variety of shapes, but could include:
- Taking opportunities as a family to serve others outside of your family (making meals, raking leaves, praying, sending cards, visiting the sick, being generous, etc.)
- Requiring them to serve one another within the context of your family (“chores,” etc.)
- Disciplining and challenging them when they display defiant and selfish attitudes
- Calling them to consider others (beyond just themselves) in their decision-making
- Celebrating the humility you see them display (Remember: God Himself “exalts” the humble)