How do we shepherd our kids?

In Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Ted Tripp writes:

“Teaching your children to submit to authority presents you with beautiful opportunities to shepherd your child’s relationship to God.  God commands children to obey Mom and Dad.  That is God’s directive.  Your children must be brought to see that living in God’s world as creatures means submission to that good and wise God in all things.  The call to submit to Mommy and Daddy is a call to trust God rather than ‘self.’  ‘Self’ tells your child not to submit.  ‘Self’ says, ‘do what you want, when you want, and how you want.’

What a wonderful opportunity to talk to children about the rebellion of their hearts!  Show them how they are inclined to disobey and turn irrationally from what is good for them.  Confront them with their weakness and inability to obey God without God’s work within.  What happens to the child who becomes persuaded that obedience is good for him?  Do his problems with submission melt away?  No, no more than yours do when you know what you should do.  Doing what he knows is good may still elude him.  This, too, takes him to God.  He must learn to get hold of God for help and strength to obey.

The gospel seems irrelevant to the smug child who isn’t required to do anything he does not want to do.  It seems irrelevant to the arrogant child who has been told all his life how wonderful he is.  But the gospel has great relevance for the child who is persuaded that God calls him to do something that is not native to his sinful heart—to joyfully and willingly submit to the authority of someone else!  Only the power of the gospel can give a willing heart and the strength to obey.”  This happens by the Holy Spirit applying the blood and perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ alone to the sinner (including both children and parents) as we rest and trust in Christ by faith.

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