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Friday, October 8, 2010 | Comments (2)

As parents, we strive to instill respect and obedience in our children—and rightly so. That’s part of our responsibility. We take pride in training them to sit quietly, listen carefully, speak graciously and obey promptly. And that’s what much of the Christian parenting literature aims at—socially acceptable and morally commendable behavior. Trophy kids.

Sometimes, we’re tempted to think that’s the ultimate goal of parenting—controlling our children’s behavior. But is it? John MacArthur wants to sound a warning: parents who concentrate all of their efforts on controlling their child’s behavior take a considerable risk.

God’s goal for parenting is much loftier than mere behavior reformation. He wants our children’s hearts, and our goals as parents must reflect His. Here’s John MacArthur to explain the ultimate goal of parenting . . .

Listen to this 7-minute clip:

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Listen to John’s sermon excerpt, then take these questions to the comment thread:

(1) Discuss the dangers of parenting for behavior modification only, rather than aiming at the heart.

(2) How do you see God model the kind of parenting He calls us to in Ephesians 6:4? Be specific.


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#1  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Is sending a bad kid to boot camp necessary? Letting someone else to discipline the kid. It's something that prevents them from trying and it's that they don't have Christ in their hearts. I read in scripture that said if one discipline a child in public, the child will hate. If one discipline a child in private, the child would love.

Is this what #1 question meant.

God bless

#2  Posted by Trevor Kurschner  |  Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 1:45 PM

1. Concerning behavior modification, if the inward man(the heart) never changes, then the outward will only be false. For example, there is the child who does everything right, but only because of fear that he/she will get in trouble. That can also easily lead the child to think that he or she could be saved when in reality, the child may not be. That is a danger in parenting. We as parents mustn't discipline our children just for the sake of changing their behavior, or just because we don't like what they did. We must get to the heart of the issue with our children. And that is, if our children disobey, that brings dishonor to God, it does not bring Him glory. And like MacArthur said, the heart of the issue is our corrupt nature. We have a nature bent towards sin, so we must explain to our children that, if they are saved, they ought to obey because they love God and that it grieves God when they sin, or if they are not saved, that they are in need of a savior. Those are the heart issues that frankly, I don't see many parents present to their children nowadays.

2. Eph. 6:4 says to bring up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord as well as not provoking our children. God models these in that when we do something wrong, first, he does not provoke us by letting us get away with what we did. The Bible says that there are consequences for every sin. Some may think that they got away with something, but in reality, God may be allowing that person to live with personal consequences, such as guilt once they come to a realization, "That was wrong". There are numerous examples of the Lord's discipline in the Bible. The Israelites for one always went into captivity once they turned from their God.

Second, God brings us up in the discipline and instruction of His Word. Heb. 12 says that God disciplines those whom are His sons and in v. 11 says that in the end it will yield righteousness.