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Successful Child-Rearing: Religion or Relationship? - In His Grip - Week of March 13

Religion or Relationship? – Key to Successful Child-Rearing

How will you know if you have become a successful parent? The answer to that question may test your patience. The best way in which to determine your success as a parent is to see what kind of children your children raise. I believe there is a significant principle in this. Building a legacy means that your children should be able to raise their children in a better way than you raised them. And then their children should be able to point to even greater success stories in how their parents raised them. And on and on it goes. In other words, our kids need to eat the meat of our good parenting and spit out the bones of our bad parenting. This is the stuff that helps shape a Godly legacy. But the pathway to a godly legacy is often filled with ruts and obstacles because we are flawed and broken in our parenting.  And yet, it’s in that brokenness that we experience the very grace that God wants us to pass on to our children.

My in-laws raised seven children. At the end of their lives they became the matriarch and patriarch for 104 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Most of them have trusted Christ as their Savior and Lord. Several of them are in full time Gospel ministry. My in-laws were the first to say that it was not due to their great skills as parents. In fact, they wondered at why God had blessed them as He did, and the only conclusion they could come to was “grace, it’s all grace.” More than one of their children made decisions that broke their hearts but in time, these same adult children were drawn back to a life of faith by the grace of God.   During these hard times and the good time, my in-laws’ learned to trust in the absolute sovereignty of God.  The grace and mercy of Christ led to their dependence upon him in all things. And that was contagious. They were at one time great churchmen but their personal relationship to Jesus Christ was weak at best. It was through crisis and turmoil that they learned how to trust Christ personally with every aspect of their lives. There was a significant change in their approach to raising their children that was hammered out in the crucible of affliction. Their older children noted a significant change in the entire spiritual demeanor and temperature of the household.

There is a vast difference between raising your family as good churchmen and raising your family to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a religion. Religion is man's way of trying to reach God. Christianity is God's way of reaching man. Do you have religion or do you have a relationship?  We cannot pass on what we do not have.  Grace living is contagious.  Ask your Father to open your eyes to His grace and pass on that same grace to your children.

DIGGING DEEPER: Ephesians 2:8-9 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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