As parents, our goal isn’t behavior modification or mere information transmission. Depending on God’s Spirit, and trusting the power of His Word, we pursue faith-fueled life transformation in our children’s lives.
The “Gospel Shaped Home” podcast is a family discipleship resource from Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. It aims to equip you and your family to be on a mission with God, to the end of the street and the ends of the earth.
Welcome back to another episode of “Gospel Shaped Home.” I’m Andy Owens, Pastor of Family Discipleship here at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. And I’m thankful you’ve tuned in for another episode.
We are going through our family discipleship pathway here for a quick series on this podcast, so it’s just me today. Soon we’ll be back to our normal pattern of having guests, either here in person with me, or call in to talk through how to be about the business of being disciple-makers in the home. But today I want to share with you about three areas of transformation. Three areas of transformation, head, heart, and hands. So as a parent, your goal is more than imparting knowledge, it’s faith-fueled life transformation. So depending on the spirit of God, using the Word of God, we seek to instruct the mind, the head, inspire the heart, and then influence the will. And so head, heart, hands, instruct the mind, inspire the heart, and influence the will.
Now, before we dive in, there are really two dangers that we’re trying to combat when we have this conversation. The first is the mistaken idea that knowledge is the key, information. We don’t want parents to think my job is to stuff my kids full of Bible facts and information. We don’t want kids who are full of information, even full of knowledge, but starving for wisdom. But the other danger, which is probably more common is we don’t want our parents to fall into the pattern of parenting as behavior modification. We try to control the externals, words, deeds. We try to suppress disobedience. We try to force submission to authority without any real pursuit of our kids’ hearts. Because then if that’s our method of parenting, as soon as our kids are out from underneath our authority they’re going to go wherever their hearts lead them.
So when we talk about discipleship in the home, what we want is our kids to know and treasure God in a way that radically changes their lives. But that’s something we can’t do, we can not grant them that knowledge. And so that’s why we do this in dependence on God, on His spirit and using His Word. It’s a little bit like light, heat, and power. So the truth of God’s Word goes into the mind like light, and that light in the mind produces heat in the heart or affections in the heart. And so the brighter the light, the hotter the heat. So the brighter the better, as we speak and teach God’s truth. But then with that heat, those affections in the heart it produces power to move the will, to love, and good deeds. Without this divine and supernatural light shining into our lives there can be no Godward affections and there can be no genuine love and goodness that brings honor and glory to God.
So these things all go together, but it’s a helpful way to think, “Hey, my job as a parent is to independence on God, pursue Christ-honoring transformation, faith-fueled transformation that affects head, heart, and hands.” Okay? So first off, instruct the mind. Knowing God is more than knowing true things about Him, but it’s not less. We want to avoid the idea that good parenting looks most like a seminary classroom. Seminary classrooms are a blessing as long as they’re teaching the truth, but that’s not the end goal of parenting. But we can’t parent, as God would have us, we can’t pursue this transformation without opening our Bibles, without giving our children true knowledge of God from His revelation of Himself in the scriptures.
So we’re trying to avoid ivory tower theology that’s disconnected from life, but we aren’t avoiding theology. We aren’t avoiding the Bible and big truths, so we teach the Bible. Lives won’t be changed without knowledge of the truth, but then we have to pray that God would give His Word success, that he would make it a fall of fertile soil in our kids’ hearts. And that it would move to the second level, which is inspire the heart. Now, this is one of my favorite passages in all the Bible, but in Luke 24, after his resurrection, we see Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus with two of his disciples. And they’re having this conversation and He just shows up, but they don’t recognize Him. They are kept from seeing Him, from recognizing who He is. And that’s because before they saw Him with their physical eyes, Jesus wanted them to see Him with the eyes of their heart.
So what He did is He interpreted to them in all the scriptures, the things concerning Himself, as Luke 24:27. And then they get to this destination, they’re eating dinner. He breaks bread and immediately their eyes are opened and they recognize Him, but then He disappears. But what they say is, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the scriptures.” So that’s verse 32, Luke 24. So even after they had seen Him with their physical eyes, they were remembering that burning in their heart sensation, these affections for God’s Messiah, King that they saw through the scriptures.
And so we want to teach God’s truth to our children in such a way that it would move their hearts to value God above all things. Now that means teaching it with integrity. It means teaching it with our words and then living a life that’s consistent with it, that shows the worth and value of it. And ultimately, like I’ve already said, it means depending on God to help them feel the weight of His glory. And what happens when God grants that prayer is that it influences the will. The goal of our instruction is love. Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:5, “We want our kids to love God with all their heart and soul and mind and strength. We want them to love their neighbors as themselves.” “We long for our children to have faith in Jesus that,” this is from Galatians 5, “works through love. Faith working through love. We want them to move towards need in others, not to live selfish life. We want them to live lives full of good works, full of these fruit of good works so that people would see and give glory to their father in heaven.”
And this sort of transformed life, this sort of obedience that flows from faith only happens when God’s truth shapes the head, stirs the affections of the heart, and empowers the hands for all kinds of God-glorifying service in the path of love. So parent, each day, as you think about your children, you think about what they need, ask God to help you pursue transformation, head, heart, and hands. Ask Him to help you rely on His spirit, rely on the power of His Word to bring about life change in your children’s lives. Thanks for joining, hope to catch you on the next episode.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the “Gospel Shaped Home” podcast, produced by Providence Baptist Church of Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information and resources from Providence, visit us online at pray.org. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please consider subscribing and leaving a review on Apple Podcasts.