READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l Spiritual Parenting is the process of raising children/spiritual infants into encountering God and becoming disciples of Christ. Some have their own children but everyone who is involved in nurturing others on their faith journey in any capacity is a spiritual parent, e.g. Children’s Ministry volunteers, Small Group leaders, Course facilitators, etc. Essentially, Spiritual Parenting is about making disciples.
Deuteronomy was written to remind the Israelites of the responsibilities and privileges of being in a Covenant relationship with God, including impressing this relationship upon our children as of utmost importance.
1. It is the worship of one triune God
Moses began with the call that there is only one true God. (Deut 6:4) Like us, the Israelites were prone to wander. Jehovah God (I AM) is a redemptive God and as we parent with God at the centre, we must make known the person of God and the importance of loving Him and being obedient to Him. We capture every opportunity to make Him known.
2. It is for all of God’s people
Spiritual parenting involves the entire church. (Deut 6:6) This commandment was addressed to the faith community and not just parents. We yearn to raise disciples to take on the world as Christ’s disciples and not just prepare them for the world. We need to pray for all involved in such ‘parenting’. What is God calling you to do in the aspect of Spiritual parenting? Do take the spiritual health check found on the church website to help you find out how to get involved.
3. It is heart-work
Raising the next generation is hard “heart-work”. We need to live out our faith authentically. We cannot give away what we do not have. It’s all right to share our very real struggles and how we wrestle with the Word of God in trying to live for His Glory, like how the Psalmist hide God’s word in his heart so that we do not sin against God (Ps 119:11). Many of us are thankful that we have experienced being spiritually parented so that we are where we are today in our faith journey
The word impress in Deut 6:7 means ‘to repeat or to sharpen’ reflecting the intentionality of discipling our children. Here are three applications to further illustrate what Spiritual Parenting looks like.
1. Parenting Worshippers
How do we lead ourselves and our families into a posture of worship in our homes and personal lives? There are three guiding principles – Devotion, Adoration and Dedication. We must decide to pause and deliberately devote part of our time and attention to the Lord as a family together. It can start with gathering around the dining table for dinner. We can then give thanks to the Lord and make spiritual conversation. Perhaps aim for just five minutes at first to allow the family to devote themselves to the Lord. This is followed by adoration, where the family could come together to worship, give thanks and pray together. Scripture reading and discussion about the reading can be added. Thirdly comes dedication. This can be an end of day prayer to declare trust in the Lord and commit everyone to his care. This can all be done in a very informal way showing that God is always first in our hearts. But we must persevere with these family devotions. There are upcoming courses planned to help us learn more about building an environment of worship in our families
2. Parenting involves personal Transformation
A spiritual parent means having to journey with someone and this would necessarily mean learning how to sacrifice time and space/deal with guilt for personal and parenting failings, etc. so that not just the mentored but also the mentor will be transformed. We need to rely on the Lord and pray for trans-formation. The disposition of spiritual parenting is a constant submission of helplessness and trust in the grace of God.
“No parent gives mercy better than one who is convinced that he desperately needs it himself”. (Paul Tripp from his book Parenting) This is possible because God never fails and will help us. His mercies are new every morning.
3. Spiritual parenting is a long-term commitment
It involves the spiritual formation of our children and our own personal transformation.
Deut 4:9 is a verse we can hold close to our hearts. Do not forget the things you have seen or let them slip from your hearts as long as you live.
References and recommended reading:
Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas.
Parenting by Paul David Tripp
(Sermon notes by Frances Lim)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Let’s Recall, Reflect, Consider and Commit.
- Recall on your spiritual circumstances. Most of us began our Christian journey with a spiritual parent or mentor.
- How did they influenced you as a disciple of Christ to grow, and even in parenting your children or spiritual infants?
- Reflect on Deuteronomy 4 and 6. What did God commanded His people to do? Name as many instructions between the 2 passages.
- In your Christian life, how did some of these instructions encouraged you in your growth and in spiritual parenting? Take a few minutes to talk to God and allow the Spirit to reveal and reorientate your heart.
- Consider what it means to show Christ by showing unconditional love and acceptance while journeying with our children or spiritual infants.
- What is hindering you from showing Christ in your daily life and walk with God?
- Commit to the Lord those that God has placed in your life to parent or to shepherd.
- Take some time to pray and seek Him in the next steps of your discipleship that Jesus would be the center of your life and ministry, so that others may see Jesus being the center of their life and ministry.