GFK043: Refreshing your Christian parenting mindset : the fear of the Lord
Listen to Refreshing your Christian parenting mindset : the fear of the Lord Here
HOSTS: Carey & Mindi Green
Resources from this episode
Do your own study of every mention of “the fear of the Lord.” Pick out some of those to memorize. Commit yourself to understand and embrace the true fear of God.
TRANSCIPT: (not corrected)
Hello dear friends. Welcome back. I’m Carey. And I’m Mindi. And we have a little bit of a refresher episode for you today. Nothing too earth shaking in terms of new content, just a reminder of sorts, I guess is what this is.
And I want to start out by telling you a short little story. When I was a kid, I played baseball and I heard these stories from my older siblings of how my dad used to coach baseball and notice past tense. He used to coach baseball. He didn’t coach when I was a kid. I was the youngest of five and there was a big gap in the middle. So, you know, my dad was getting into his mid to late fifties by the time I came along and was able to play baseball. And so he wasn’t up for coaching anymore. But as I heard the stories, my older brother said, yeah, our team always won the city championship. And I was just intrigued by that. You know, how did, how’d that happen? How’s dad such a good coach? And so I asked my dad one time when I was playing baseball, you know, dad, why do you think your teams were always so good? And he said, well, I can’t say every reason, but I think one of the main reasons is I always focused on the fundamentals. I always focused on fielding and catching and throwing and hitting with good form and good basic technique and nothing fancy, no fancy plays, none of that. I’m just teaching the kids the basics. And we’re doing the basics in practice over and over and over and over until it’s second nature.
I think we all need to understand that in the Christian life, there are basics. There are certain beliefs and certain truths that undergird everything. And this episode, we want to do a refresher for you regarding what the Bible speaks of as the fear of the Lord.
Understanding the Fear of the Lord
Now, the fear of the Lord, biblically speaking, is a respect, but more than a respect. It’s an understanding of who God is in comparison to us. So, picture this big chasm between us and God. He is the completely holy one, the completely infinite one. He is above us in every way, shape, form, you can imagine. And we, as His creation, are rightly to be in subjection to Him. We are rightly to be obedient to Him. That’s our right place. It’s appropriate. And so it is appropriate for us to fear Him. Yes, I think that’s a very good description of the fear of the Lord. And it’s as we learn to fear Him, we learn more about Him, just in the reality of who He is. We learn about Him in comparison to us, like you mentioned.
And I love that illustration that you told about your dad coaching, because the fear of the Lord truly is foundational to living a Christian life. Being a Christian, our journey of life is to come to know the Heavenly Father more and more every day. And the more we know Him, the more we fear Him. And you would think that statement would be, the more we know him, the more we love him. Well, that’s true, that happens as well. But this concept of reverencing God properly and fearing him in a way that’s fitting really does grow as you grow spiritually. And so we’re wanting to ask you parents today, How are you doing in your fear of the Lord? And we’re not talking about in your parenting. We’re talking about in your life, And maybe my definition of the fear of the lord could help you to answer that question. I see fearing the lord, Simply believing What he says about himself?
And if I believe it and act on it and trust it Then I am fearing him, So you’re talking about obedience being evidence of the fear of the Lord or an outgrowth of your fear of the Lord. And I understand where that’s coming from having lived with you all these years because I know there have been times in our married walk where there have been very hard circumstances we’re going through and I know you’re having a very tough emotional time in the midst of those circumstances. And I can recall times when I’ve asked you, how are you doing? How are you holding up? How are you processing things? And among other things, your response, very often is, I’m seeking to walk in obedience because what else can I do? I fear the Lord. I, honor Him and I have to, I have to obey Him. And folks, I hope you hear that, have to.
Yes. So that’s what I was going to ask. Do you parents have a sense of, I have to obey God, I have to believe Him? Or are you being led astray by your anxiety or fear of a situation or desiring to be the one in control so that you can feel better about things? What is the have-to in the back of your mind? Is it a have-to that I want to be in charge? Is it a have-to that I want my needs to get met? Or do you have that have to of, no matter what, I have to obey God? Yeah, and when we think about that have to, I know for some people that sounds, I don’t know, oppressive maybe is the word that would come to some people’s mind that God is forcing us to obey him. But when Mindi and I say we have to obey the Lord, it goes back to that idea of what’s proper and what’s right. We are the creatures, he is the creator. It is appropriate for us to obey him. And so, if we are gonna align our minds with the truth of who He is, we’re going to align our hearts in a way that we’re saying, I am choosing in my own thinking, in my own feeling that I have to obey the Lord because I want to fear Him.
Yes, that is so good to say it that way and to remind ourselves daily, because so many things come up that want to lead us astray. Way. Many times we are led by fear of other things, fear of approval of man, you know, fear that if we do the right thing, our boss is going to not approve or maybe even fire us. I mean, there’s just a lot of different things. So parents, we want to encourage you, are you striving to fear the Lord? As you’re reading your Bible, having your own study time with the Lord, praying, are you gaining more knowledge of Him, and are you remembering the things you’re reading and using those truths to encourage you day-to-day in your walk, just to help you in the mundane, normal routine of life? This is a refresher that you yourselves need to be on that path of learning to fear the Lord and as a result, obeying Him more often, and as a result, loving Him more. The more you obey Him, the more you love Him. The more you love him, the more you obey him.
Yeah. It’s a beautiful circle that you just described.
Parenting with a Proper Fear of the Lord
Now real quickly, how does a parent having a proper fear of the Lord manifest itself in the way they parent their children.
The first thing that comes to my mind is as we learn to obey the Lord, we get a picture of what it looks like for children to rightly obey their parents. You see, as we are leading our children in obedience to us as the parents, we’re teaching them the fundamentals, back to that concept from my dad’s story, the fundamentals of fearing the Lord and obeying the Lord. So parents, what is one of the most important ways you can teach your children in the long run to fear the Lord? Well, Jesus said in John chapter 14 verse number 15, if you love me, you will keep my commandments.
So as we’re teaching our children how to keep our commandments, how to keep our instructions, we’re teaching them actually how to love us as parents. And that, naturally, is going to translate into their relationship with the Lord as they grow older. So, parents, it’s crucial that when your children are young, that you teach them to obey. That’s the foundation that they are going to learn the fear of the Lord, because they’re learning to fear you in a healthy way. So don’t give up if there’s an area that they are struggling to learn obedience. Give up too soon and say well I tried that and it’s just not going to work. God will lead you as you seek Him and ask Him to give you wisdom in how to train your children. That’s His heart’s desire, so He will help you.
And as this attitude of the fear of the Lord gets developed in your children and they’re growing older, then you have more opportunities to flesh that out in different contexts that older children are going to face with peers and with the pressure of drugs and various things that are going to hit them in the junior high and high school age. Going to be able to bring in their relationship with the Lord, which is based on this fundamental of fear of the Lord, to help them reason out why do I not want to get involved in this behavior? Well, there’s obviously all of the practical things, well, it’s bad for you, it’s going to kill brain cells, whatever, talking about drugs. But fundamental to that is because God doesn’t want me to do this, it would be dishonoring him. It would dishonor my body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You know, there’s all kinds of teaching you could go to in the Scripture, but underneath all of them is this concept of the fear of the Lord. Miriam And do you see, parents, how important it is that you are coming to know the Lord yourself.
So that as your children are growing older, you can be teaching them what you have been learning. When they’re young, you’re really focusing on just obedience in their behavior, and that starts shaping their mind and their mind becomes more disciplined. As they get older, you still are wanting to train them in obedience, but you’re starting to share with them what God thinks about it more often. And you will read them Bible verses, and this is why he thinks this, and this is why he thinks that. So you need to be knowing those things about the Lord so you can be sharing it with your children. And as you do that, they start developing an understanding, this is how God thinks. And because I love him, I want to obey him.
And also, don't be afraid to tell your children the hard truths about God's thoughts on a matter. They need to know what God thinks, they need to know in comparison to what their peers are saying, what they're seeing on TV and movies and things like that. They need to know the purity of God's heart, God's truth, so that they can strive to live for that, even in the midst of this sinful world.
the way you said that reminded me that Psalm 19, verse number 9 says, the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. So this fear of the Lord is going to grow purity in you and in your children. And the way that I see your growth in the fear of the Lord connecting with your ability to parent your children in the fear of the Lord is in the same way that, say, a review on Amazon serves to help someone who’s considering purchasing. You have first-hand testimony. You, have a first-hand experience with God concerning the fear of the Lord, and so you’re able to appeal to your children. I know the Lord. I know his goodness and his love and the blessings that come from obedience, and I want that so much for you. I don’t want to see you going in a direction that’s contrary and is therefore going to bring grief into your life, you know. It’s that appeal from from the heart that makes so much difference.
Sharing God’s Love and Hard Truths with Children
Yes, and also sharing with your children again and again, not only the things that he doesn’t like, but also how much he loves your children. They need to have the positive and negative, so to speak, so that they can grow in a bigger understanding of the Lord. And one way that I’ve noticed the attitude of the fear of the Lord work itself out in our children is as they got older, I would see them mess up about something, but because of their fear of the Lord, it caused them to come back to confess it to us. Or if they are older, living on their own, they fight the struggle of the temptation and the sin that they gave into. And they, after that, whatever, how many ever days, they struggle through it, weeks, months, they come back to repentance and sorrow because they truly do fear the Lord and they realize how they walked away they disobey during that time. And so the fear of the Lord is the path that we are walking on, is the foundation we’re living on. And God allows us to mess up because that helps us to see, how dependent we are on Him. It teaches us humility. I mean, it teaches us so many things. And so I’ve noticed in our children, yeah, they haven’t been perfect, just like Carrie and I and I haven’t been perfect, but the fear of the Lord brings them back, right on track to the path that they need to be walking on and that’s what every parent wants When their children leave the home there’s so much want to have that sense of confidence that their children are going to continue to follow the Lord and, So fearing the Lord is the protection, The greatest protection you can give them. That’s right and going back to the illustration I began with.
Just like those fundamentals were ingrained in my dad’s baseball players. When the pressure came and the crunch time in the game was on, they just kind of automatically did what they knew to do because that’s how they had been drilled. That’s how they had been taught. And so this idea of training your children in the fear of the Lord functions in the same, way. It’s a fundamental that gets your kids back on track repeatedly throughout the course of their lives. So for this episode, parents, we have an assignment for you. I had a thought of something that might be an encouraging or a helpful little study that you might want to do. Look up all the verses that talk about the fear of the Lord and just journal out your thoughts about them. Maybe find some of your favorite ones to memorize. Make this a real project, make this foundational to your walk with the Lord. So I just encourage you to seek the Lord to help you to grow in this area. Well, friends, we appreciate that you’re with us. We hope this refresher has been helpful to you. Let us wrap up with a word of prayer for you and for your parenting journey.
Lord, we thank You for these dear brothers and sisters in Christ who, as part of Your family are striving with all the energy that You provide to raise their children in the fear of You. And Lord, we know that that begins in their own hearts as parents, that they are learning more every day to fear You, to walk in obedience to You, to govern their lives by that right relationship between them as creature and You as the creator. And Lord, enable them to live that authentically so that their children see it and their children and know one thing about mom or one thing about dad is that he’s always gonna obey in the end because he fears the Lord. And then Lord for that to be able to translate into the way they parent their children, that they can teach their children obedience out of the fear of the Lord, and that that will establish a fundamental in the children’s lives that they’ll be able to come back to over and over and over throughout their lives. Lord Jesus, we know You’re faithful. And Father, we know that it is Your goodwill to lead us into this knowledge of You and the fear of You, that our lives can be enriched and pure and stronger. And we just ask You to do this in the lives of the parents who are listening. In Jesus’ name.