Saturday, February 18, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)


The ultimate aim for all of Christian living must be the glory of God. Believers strive to live for Christ and for His renown. Paul said it like this: we make it our ambition… to be pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 5.9). That must be the believer’s primary target. This relates to parenting as well. The ultimate aim, the primary target of all Christian parenting must be to honor Jesus Christ and fulfill the duties that God has given through His Word in relation to the children. No parent will fulfill this perfectly, far from it! But God’s grace is so mighty and sufficient that He will help fathers and mothers to parent with the primary target in mind. Here some helpful reminders.

The parents must aim to prepare their children to meet God. The Lord Himself has given parents to be the God-given instructors to teach and prepare the children to meet God. All boys and girls have souls that will never die. At the very instant of death, all people will meet God. Those righteous in Christ’s merits through faith alone will enter heaven (Philippians 3.9) but those who stand guilty and laden with sin will have no hope as they meet God for judgment (Psalm 130:3). Parents should strive to prepare their children not only for future ambitions in this life but also for the realities of the next life

The parents must aim to instruct their children in God’s Word. To prepare children well, parents must wield the sword of the Spirit constantly and relentlessly in the home. Parents must teach the Bible, read the Bible, instruct with the Bible, counsel the Bible, resolve conflicts with the Bible, evangelize with the Bible, discipline using the Bible, and pray the Bible. Children will never be saved through a thorough knowledge of the Bible, but God does work by and with His Word in the saving of unbelievers. For David wrote: the Law of the LORD is perfect, restoring (=converting) the soul (Psalm 19:7). 

The parents must aim to teach their children to live uprightly. Another way parents can aim properly at the target in parenting is to command obedience. God commands and demands holiness of His people and that’s what parents should require of their children as well (Ephesians 6:4). When the children do not obey, they must be disciplined appropriately with firmness and with love. In doing this, parents should consistently seek to teach the children to live as one’s under authority, obeying governing authorities, in full submission to God and His Word, and to live out the unique roles and functions in the home that God has clearly revealed in Scripture. 

The parents must aim to convey the priority of prayer. Another way parents can target the heart in parenting is to prioritize prayer. Family prayer should be regular. And even the teaching of the children how to pray, and the manner and attitude they should have when others are praying is vital. Teaching children to fight distractions is important. Telling them to sit still is key. Teaching them that prayer is a reverential duty because God the King is implored and addressed. These are necessary elements in aiming for godly parenting. Parents should prioritize this in the good and difficult times, in the hard and the comfortable times, and in the times of plenty and in need. God remains faithful. 

The parents must aim to extol the sufficiency of the Word in all areas of life. To target the glory of God in parenting also means that God’s Word should be referenced, quoted, alluded to, illustrated, and applied as often as possible in the context of family life. 

The parents must aim to present Christ in all His loveliness, glory, and grace. Successful parenting seeks to be faithful to keep the main thing the main thing. Ultimately, for all believers, to know Christ and gaze upon His loveliness is the chief pursuit. All Christian parents must seek to teach the glory of Christ and the grace of His person and the loveliness of His character. The target of parenting is to faithfully discharge the duties God has given. 

With all of this, parents pray for God to save the children (Romans 1.16-17) and then for the Lord to sanctify them in the Truth (John 17:17). But parents cannot save, nor can they sanctify. But it must remain the constant prayer and pursuit of parents to keep the main target in view at all times: to obey God in parenting for the glory of God, to teach and instruct the children in the Word of God, in the gospel of grace, and in the glory of Jesus Christ!

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