How To Press On In Family Discipleship

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By Courtney Chambers
 
In various shows and movies, there are scenes where a kid’s birthday party or celebration occurs. We
watch as chaos is all around. Children are yelling and dancing, messes are being created, and during the chaos are parents who look exhausted.
 
While my family might have just three kids, this is a good analogy of what some nights in family discipleship feel like. Some days, my kids don’t listen; they fight or get into giggle fits. We make messes in the crafts or have meltdowns when something doesn’t work right. We get glazed faces when teaching and reading the Word of God, or we get rebellious and spend our time correcting more than anything else.
 
Some days are great, and we leave our time refreshed and thankful for a productive and fruitful time. Others, we can feel discouraged, questioning whether or not the time we just spent was worth it. How do we not get discouraged and quit when disobedience and glazed eyes are before us? How do we press on in the call to disciple our children daily?

God makes things grow, not us.
If we are not careful, we will place the weight of our kid’s salvation on ourselves. We will consume
ourselves with what we said wrong or not fill our conversations enough with precisely what we think
they need to hear. We must remind ourselves of one of the most freeing truths: God saves, not us. We
plant the seeds; God makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-8). God’s call for all Christians is to be faithful to the Gospel and to preach it. We fulfill this calling whenever we teach and train our kids through God’s Word.

We might never know what seeds we plant stick with our kids until maybe years later. The fruit may
blossom immediately or later on. We must cling to the promise that God called us and equipped us to do his work, and we trust that he makes things grow. I remember my husband encouraging me with this truth one night after a failed attempt, in my eyes, of family discipleship. He reminded me how, while our kids are young, we never know what seeds are being planted today; God calls us to be faithful, so we must press on.

We shouldn’t quit or take a break until our children are older. We shouldn’t take a week off because the children’s behavior was unbearable as soon as the Bibles were opened. Instead, we cling to the
reminder that our only call is to be faithful to preach the gospel. We live out the gospel, preach the gospel, and teach the gospel daily to our children. We release the pressures of failure and lean into the promise that God grows the seeds even when we feel the fruit will not bloom.

Remember, we are all sinners.
One of the most humbling things that can occur in parenting is to admit your sins and faults to your
children. Whether we have to apologize for acting out in anger or responding to a situation unjustly.
Admitting we are sinners is difficult no matter the case because it removes us as the boss and points us to the one who is really on the throne.
 
Remembering that we are sinners points us to the gospel. We must remind ourselves as parents that our children are sinners just like us. If they have not professed faith, they are sinners seeking to fulfill their selfish desires. If they profess faith in Christ, they are sinners redeemed by grace seeking to live in a fallen, sinful world. As parents, we can recognize the inner turmoil that occurs every day to choose Christ over sin. Our children fight this battle as well.
 
Reminding ourselves of this can drive us to press on when family discipleship appears to be a bust.
Seeing our children as sinners needing a savior will help us be patient when they act out or refuse to
participate. We can proactively point our children to the gospel and pray for them in these moments.
What sinners need is a savior. The very thing we are trying to teach throughout family discipleship is the exact medicine our children need in these sinful moments.
 
Reminding ourselves of this helps create an eagerness to get the gospel to our children. Sometimes, it might call us parents to look upon our own life and remind ourselves of who we were before Christ
(Ephesians 2:1-10). We were like our children and didn’t love Christ at one point, then we heard the
gospel, and our eyes were opened to our need for a savior. Even some days in our Christian lives, we
must choose to read the Bible when our heart doesn’t want to. Some days, our believing children will
feel this as well, and we must teach them to press on because we need the fuel and strength found in God’s Word every day.
 
Some days are difficult, and the easiest thing to do is put family discipleship on hold. It’s more convenient often when kids yell, the day is hard, and you are exhausted. I encourage us all not to do the convenient thing. Instead, open your Bible, sing songs, and pray together in the most challenging
moments; this is what our families need. We need the daily reminder of the gospel and cling to the
truths found in Scripture.
 
Difficult moments will happen to us all. Every family will have a bad day in family discipleship. When those days happen, remember the call for you to be faithful and remember that your family is all sinners who need a savior. The Word of God is the best medicine for our families in those difficult moments.
 
Courtney Chambers is a pastor’s wife and mom of three living in northeast Missouri. Courtney has a Bachelor’s in World Missions and a Master’s in Biblical Counseling.  Courtney is passionate about biblical theology and reaching the next generation. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, and baking. You can find her @courtneyrchambers and @thereformedlife
 
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