What Parents Must Understand about Parenting


Colossians 3:20-21 NRSV

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart.


All Scripture memory systems for children naturally begin with Colossians 3:20. It is no surprise that Paul would exhort children to, “obey your parents in everything.” Of course children must obey their parents.

The stunner is Paul’s word to fathers. “Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart” (v. 21). In the first century, no one tended to care too much about children becoming discouraged by their fathers.

Why did Paul care about children? Because Jesus cared about children. Jesus cares about children because God cares about children.

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. (Matt. 19:13-15)

Children form their primary image of who God is through the way they are parented. If a parent is harsh, they will naturally, albeit unknowingly, assume God is harsh. If a parent is filled with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, the children will unknowingly assume this is what God is like. This makes parenting all at once the most practical and the most theological task in the world.

Here’s the bottom line for those of us who are presently parenting children: we can fool a lot of people a lot of the time, but we can’t fool our children. Whatever is in me will come out in my parenting. The surest way for my children to have a true sense of who the real God is and what the real God is like is for me to be a real Christian. Hence, my chief responsibility as a Christian parent is to be a real Christian. And the only way I can be a real Christian is to be filled with all the fullness of God.

Domino #3|20 is Home Training.


Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, in whom all your fullness is pleased to dwell. Thank you that we have been given fullness in him. Come, Holy Spirit, and awaken me to the reality of being filled with all the fullness of God, especially for the sake of all of our children. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


  1. Have you ever thought of parenting as a theological task? How did the way you were parented impact your image of God?
  2. Have you given consideration to what it means to parent “in Christ?”
  3. Remember: the secret is not in your parenting skills; the secret is “Christ in you.” This means grace-based parenting—grace for our children and also grace for ourselves when we stumble. How about that?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. J D, I believe that today’s Daily Text may be getting to the root cause of why our Christian based culture is in decline. I have come to realize that true discipleship begins at home with our own children. And yes, I fully agree that a child’s impression of God the Father will come through the received image of their dad. Unfortunately, many of us were not raised in away that portrayed that image in a positive way. Having been raised in a family were alcoholism was a factor, the ideal image of the gracious loving Father was not there. When both parents suffer from this same addiction, it only complicates the situation more.
    I believe that to truly experience the Awakening that we pray for, many of us will need to experience a type of inner healing in order to better reflect the full image of “Christ in us”. I have no way of knowing how many of us can relate to this, but I’m sure that it’s not an isolated situation. I believe that this is where being involved with some sort of “ band/class” will go a long way in providing the desired inner healing.

  2. Inner healing is when Christ enters.
    He is the healer. Healing must first come from the spiritual. Christians must learn to burn past traumas, rejections, and sinful desires with the fire of the Holy Spirit. It is the only way the evil one cannot remind us of our failures or lure us back into coping with these events through sinful behavior, which is all we know until we know Christ.
    Children should be Biblically taught about spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6:12, and other warfare scripture, so they can begin to mature in Christ’s nature instead of maturing in the sinful.

  3. Setting boundaries for and disciplining children, without provoking or discouraging them with harshness is a challenge. It’s also humbling and heart-breaking when children grow up and rejects what you’ve taught them and the way you sincerely tried to live your life as a Christ-follower. The story of the prodigal’s father is being experienced by many Christian parents. Dear Jesus, bring the prodigals home to follow You and heal the hurting hearts of their parents.

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