“Real Parenting”, (a.k.a., “Stewardship”) vs. “Just Having Kids”
(The stars * and numbers throughout this writing means, Please see my footnotes at the end for the scriptures which support the principles which I am using to make my points. Because – as a favorite childhood T.V. Host was famous for saying - “You don't have to take my word for it!” Or, more importantly, as the scripture puts it, in I Jn. 4:1; “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”)
We've all heard the apt analogy that “Going to Church does not make one a Christian, anymore than standing in the Garage makes one a Car!” And that is true. There are masses of merely religious, thoroughly deceived, people out there who go to Church every time the door opens, and yet have no clue as to what the Scripture says, or how to rightly apply it to their lives! They are sadly, visibly lacking in the “Fruit”, or results, which this religious practice, or spiritual discipline, is supposed to bear forth in their lives.
In other words, their lives bear little evidence of their confessed or stated belief structures. There is little in their daily practice, in fact, which actually separates them from the lives of the non-religious ones in their acquaintance. In fact, it has been much observed that the average non-religious person tends to be more accepting or loving than the average Church goer. And that is just plain WRONG!
But that is not what I am here to discuss, though it must, of necessity, have a bearing on what I DO want to discuss – which is the proper patterns, motivation, and results, of parenting, or “raising” , or stewarding children for God.
In the same way that the above analogy is obviously true, it applies equally to the situation of “having kids”. What I am saying is that it has become glaringly obvious that, “Having kids does NOT make anyone a “PARENT”! And I think this fact of reality is tragically, and epically evident in the way that the family has eroded in recent decades, leaving gaping, rotting holes in the once (almost) solid fabric of American society. (In my opinion that “fabric” has had gaps from the get-go, due to the embracing of much European Doctrinal error, but never was that fact more evident than it is today!)
Anyone who has read my writing knows by now that I attribute most of the responsibility for this tragedy to the religious systems of our land. This is due to my observation, and resulting belief, that these institutions have taken much more than they've given. And that what they have “given” has been bogus at best, and downright destructive at worst! They have, by and large, lulled the American people into a deception of an easy “Grace”, which ignores, or even dares to condemn God's righteous standards! I am frequently astounded at the means to which people will go to avoid “legalism to the Jewish Law”, while simultaneously walking into a complicated web of religious, and idolatrous bondage, that is easily ten times over more evil than that which they were seeking to avoid!
This Pseudo-Pharisaical/ now Idolatry-profaned mixture has even sought to replace God's solid foundations with rickety doctrinal man-inspired materials, mixed with unhealthy doses of rampant heathenism - which are (not coincidentally I think) clearly forbidden by God! And that travesty is performed in the Name of the Messiah which God sent! Talk about adding insult to injury! Hence the Epic Fail of the “Christian” Religion, which has managed to bring about the fragmentation of God's systems – breaking down first the worship of God, seeking to divide “Spirit” from “Truth”, and the family next – through the usurping of the authority of the individual, and the parental structure, and then of society as a whole – since culture has replaced God's standard in the deciding factor of what men will let motivate them! What is being missed is that it could not produce anything else. Flawed is flawed, poison is poison and evil is evil.
As I have also noted, following Yeshua was supposed to be an adjustment to following the Torah – never was it meant as some kind of “replacement” for it! The Torah, which He followed and taught, was His standard, and it should have become ours as well! There should have been merely a slight adjustment from “the Letter of the Law” to the Loving, God inspired “heart” of it! Following The Anointed One was NEVER SUPPOSED TO PRODUCE JUST ANOTHER RELIGION! (Yes. You will be hearing that a lot from me.) And as it has been written, “Let him who has ears to hear, hear what the Ruach is saying to the Church.” But what has this to do with family and parenting? Everything!!!!!!
God is the ONE who instituted Family! He is the One who invented Parenting! He is the One who laid down the laws of Stewardship – of everything - from how you use your land, to how you treat those who work for you, to how you treat your property, etc. But His main thrust has always been how you treat your spouse, and how the two of you then raise the offspring with which He has blessed you! And all the other realms of society were meant to have sprung from, and revolved around, that institution! Family.
Worship was to emanate from the family table at Shabbot, and His other instituted Moedim, or Appointed Times. Those times were to have provided the prophetic calendar, illustrating the “types & shadows” of things to come, drawing attention to the things which He has already done, and celebrating His sovereignty over His creation, in the midst of the chaos of sin. They were to have been His teaching tools, His “manipulatives”, if you will. A hands on, show and tell, way of showing us His plan.
Firstly, He meant that married couples, who claim affiliation with Him, would consider their offspring to be THE FIRST, and best, sign of His blessing on their lives – and next He wanted those instructions to guide just how those so gifted would in turn guide or steward those blessings, preferably into a relationship with Him, the Creator! I think a thorough reading of Scripture would indicate that we are not supposed to be churning out worldly flesh pots with no discernment, or zero standards by which to guide their lives! Nor are we to be churning out churlish, judgmental religious idiots who are so bound by worthless, lifeless rules that they wouldn't know Truth if He knocked on their doors! Trying to serve Him with no joy, no love, and no respect for God, themselves or others! That is NOT in the “job description”! (*1.)
But I think that, if we take these truths seriously, one can see that “Parenting” does not just happen! Anymore than true, lasting Love just happens! It takes work, dedication, and, to achieve the most ideal results, God's help is a vital necessity! But we can not run from His help and run to it at the same time. And it is exactly that kind of duplicitous behavior, “double-mindedness” is the term used in the KJV version of James 1:7 (*2.) which is the single-most reason that most American Christians look like a pack of yo-yos!
Parenting requires ALL the “Fruit of the Spirit” listed in Galatians, chapter five! We must have love, first and foremost – from which all the other “fruit” seems to emanate! It would seem that Love is the Branch, and the other traits are the “fruit” which that Love produces, the way I read it! It is clearly stated that we must love others “as or above” ourselves, which implies we must first love ourselves from a grateful, balanced, humble perspective! That definitely requires the help of God's Spirit in our lives!
Yeshua called that “The Great Commandment” - the “Torah Ha Gadol”! It is the pivotal point of all the Torah! In fact, He stated that if one kept that point that one would have accomplished all the Torah! He meant that that one standard, properly kept, would intrinsically influence all other decisions and motivations by which we act – and therefore we would not act outside of His law toward anyone. We would never let our own desires, or lusts, or addictions, for example, cause us to use anyone's feelings for us lightly. Therefore we would never be guilty of “defrauding our brother” or our lover, or anyone else! (*3.)
So according to Yeshua, the entire Torah is based on being transformed by our simple obedience to the LOVE of GOD. My question then is, W.T.F.? Why The Fear? Ha. Sorry, gotcha! But in today's slang the other question works too, if not as clearly. The question is, what part of that “Law of LOVE” should we fear as “Legalism”? What part of Love requires the wrong kind of servitude from others, or puts people into religious bondage? None of it! Only the typically peddled, false, man-u-factured brand of common, westernized, institutionalized, RELIGION produces that kind of religious bondage!
Yet Yeshua came to illuminate the Torah to us! To “Be about His Father's business”, which for hundreds of years before He came was expressed purely, solely, in TORAH! How then can we expect to live, love or parent our brood without it!
If I have made mistakes in my parenting, it has been largely due to my own stupidity, in overly regarding the selective stupidity of those in realms of “spiritual leadership”! (Which, by the way, neglected to inform me on these Scriptural truths, and realities!) It was largely due to the fact that I dumbly trusted their word for it, their opinion that I was “on the right track, because I would sometimes blindly submit to their ideas of what the Word said!” We are plainly told to “Try every spirit to see if it is of God”, which I quoted in my opening remarks. Yet not being skilled or instructed in that so much, I instead merely did as I was told - which was what submission was said to look like in that doctrinal spider's web!
So, instead of trusting my own gut instinct, and obviously more advanced, more developed, reading/comprehension skills - I bought into their well-crafted deception that they knew more than I did, that somehow God had imparted to them more wisdom due to their “position”! Which – in fairness to them - should have been true, and sometimes, in some instances was true! But it was not all there was, and eventually I grew up spiritually! “In spite of”, or “because of”, is probably an equal tally – and eventually I learned discernment by the Spirit, and escaped that intellectual and spiritual bondage to doctrinal error.
Now, all of that is “water under the damn” so to speak. Some of it is very dirty religious “bath water” that I have have thrown out, while being careful to try and preserve the “baby” which was contained therein! For as we know, all Deception is based on a nugget of truth.
So, to get to the point, what is necessary to “parent” correctly, “steward” correctly, pray correctly, or do anything correctly is to “mine the nuggets” of what God actually said, out of the piles of erroneous doctrines that men have added to it out of fear, pride or delusion! And for the sake of this writing - “Correctness” is determined by God's opinion, not our own – most certainly not the evil politically Or religiously divisive mess that currently drives most social opinion one way or the other these days! Parenting MUST be done in Spirit and in Truth, just as anything else which has to do with obedience to His Law (Instruction) of LOVE.
Flesh makes a sorry disciple, a sorry follower, a sorry lover, and a sorry parent! Flesh is marked for execution for a reason! We dare not attempt any spiritual conquest while still under its decrepit sway! We must become people who hear the voice of their Shepherd, and who have died to the cowardly flesh that would prevent us from following Him! We must as it says in Romans 12, refuse to be “...conformed...” to the varying cultures of our godless world (or the cultures which worship false gods), and instead do what it takes to “be transformed by the entire renewing of our minds!” (*4.)
That is real parenting, as opposed to simply spawning offspring. The worldly ones may not have a choice, but His people do, if we will but exercise it. In these times of immense uncertainty we can be certain of a few things, one of them is that one day soon we will stand before God to give an account of how we handled that choice!
* 1. Treasury of Scripture
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
train up a child
*2. Treasury of Scripture: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
*4. 1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.…
Treasury of Scripture
And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.