Raising Children for the King Part 1
The Law Of Sowing And Reaping
I’d suggest that we, in spite of even faultless insight and intellect in regards to every area of human development from a physical and spiritual standpoint, would not ever be capable of controlling the ultimate outcome of our labors. In other words, it will always come down to a face-to-face encounter with a living God. We cannot “do it for them.” They, like us, will be “born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This is the only way it is going to happen—not of human decision, not of natural descent, not of a husband’s will, but born of God. We will not be able to make them be born of God, no matter how accurate our insight is into the ways of God. We can’t do it for them. That’s their encounter with the living God.
However, we do have a responsibility as “substitute parents” (Heb12: 5-11; Luke 11:11-13) to “train them in the way they should go.” Specifically, we must be certain that they know the unalterable, invariable Law that says: “A man reaps what he sows.” He may not reap it today, but in due season, I guarantee you that every man will reap what he sows. It is unalterable. It is like the law of gravity—it’s going to happen; a man reaps what he sows. If you sow a corn seed, you will not reap an oak tree. It is impossible. It’s not going to happen. If a man of a particular species is involved in the propagation of that species—guess what—he will propagate only that species! The seed determines the outcome. It will always be that case, and you will always reap what you sow. Never will a pumpkin seed go into the ground, and cabbage come up. From Genesis chapter one, throughout Jesus’ teaching (Luke 6:43-45 etc.), and to the end of the Bible—“A man reaps what he sows” “in due season.”
A Price Must Be Paid Every Single Time
Again, as upside down as it sounds, our job with our children is not to get “results,” but to make certain that they see the consistency of paying the price every single time they sow seed—whether “to the flesh” or “to the Spirit.” (A side note, worthy of several pages to some parents: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER should a child be disciplined out of selfish anger.) Without this vision, the external behavior may be conveniently altered to avoid punishment or to manipulate a response from you, but the heart will not be changed towards God! What a price to pay for our carelessness and lazy inconsistency!
We need to disciple our children into realizing that if they sow to the flesh, they will reap destruction. When they sin, there is a price that must be paid. When we are inconsistent because of laziness or lack of sensitivity in disciplining children, then we are teaching them that they do not reap what they sow. When we just let things go by, or when we just give them a little token discipline and say “Be on your way,” or when we tell them not to do something, and we ignore it when they do it anyway because we are so busy with our own affairs, we are teaching them that you do not reap what you sow. “I can sow anything I want and reap a good harvest. I can be lazy, I can sow weeds and I can reap wheat.” That’s what we are telling them when there is inconsistent discipline in the raising of our children.
If we are not aware and consistent, we are teaching them that they can break the law of sowing and reaping. When, in fact, they actually can’t break it, because God, their true Father, is going to bring about the bad harvest in their lives whether they know it or not, in due season.
Our job is to continue to push microcosms in front of them. We are to show them on a small scale what is true on a spiritual level. We must be consistent in physical, material matters so that they will know in spiritual matters and matters of the heart that they will reap what they sow.
The Kingdom Is Within You
As we are raising up the children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, we are teaching them the principles in the material world, the visual aids that will allow them to understand the neither-here-nor-there-but-within-you principles of the heart.
All of the Old Testament is a foreshadowing of the reality that is in Christ. The entire old covenant is a visual aid in the material world of the reality that is true in the Kingdom of God. And that the Kingdom of God is neither here nor there—but within you! The old kingdom was a kingdom of sacrificial system and temples, etc. Now the Kingdom of God is that God does not dwell in temples built by men. Not in brick and mortar and not in steeple houses—he dwells in men. The kingdom is neither here nor there. It’s not at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. It is within you! The sacrifice is a living sacrifice, no longer a lamb, goat, or bull. The Kingdom is not in the old covenant of material things, but now it is within you. It is a spiritual reality.
God’s people were always called the “children of Israel.” Did you ever notice that? Point being, God referred to them as children, and they are in fact types of children today. The law of sowing and reaping and the law itself—the commandments, the sacrificial system—all of that is relative to their position as children as they are slaves in the household. When you are a child, it says in Gal. 4, you are just like a slave in the household even though the whole inheritance is yours. It’s not until you come into huios, sonship, that you really understand the inheritance that belongs to you.
“Moses said to you, ‘Do not kill,’ but I say to you, ‘If you hate you have committed murder.’ Moses said to you, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ but I say to you, ‘If you violate your will, if you violate your heart, you have committed adultery already. If you have lusted you have committed adultery already.’” The fulfillment of the law in the Kingdom of God has to do with heart issues. God is not interested in behavior modification. He wants your will and your heart.
We teach that to our children by teaching them the law of sowing and reaping in the material world. By doing that we are teaching them the law of sowing and reaping in the spiritual world. If we are inconsistent in the material world, they will not believe in the justice of God and the holiness of God in the spiritual world, unless they have a revelation and probably a tremendous fall on their own apart from that. It can be done, it happened to most of us. We didn’t grow up understanding any of these things.
Let’s Get It Right NOW
Most of us didn’t have parents that taught us these things. Yet somehow, by God’s Fatherheart, He intervened and showed us some of these things anyway. Our job is to turn our hearts to the children and the children to the Father, so that we can have a generation of children unadulterated by the patterns of the world. We want them to grab that torch in full stride, running at full speed towards the glory of God, ushering in the return of Jesus Christ! We DON’T want them to have to undo all the bad things that we have passed on to them.
It’s paramount, it’s important, it’s mandatory in my book—that we get these things right NOW even though we may not have learned them before. The Fatherheart of God can overcome our inadequacies, and that’s a good thing to know because we are probably never going to get all of these things perfectly in line. God’s Fatherheart is able to overcome these things, but if we can teach the children these things in the here and now, in the shadow of the physical world, then God can more readily grab their hearts in the spiritual world.
Our job with our children is not to get results, but to make certain that they see that if they sow a seed, they will reap a harvest every single time. If we won’t be consistent, we will not teach them how to really change their hearts. They will only learn how to manipulate us—“Well, Dad, I just love you soooo much....” “What do you want from me?” “Car keys, dad.” See how that happens? It happens because they have not learned the consistency of the holiness and the judgment and the knowledge and the wisdom and the vastness of God. And this happens because we have been inconsistent! They can manipulate us and get away with it, and they know they can. So they think they can manipulate God, too, until a greater revelation and probably a tremendous fall comes along. What a price to pay for our carelessness and lazy inconsistency!
In conjunction with this, as your love and mercy dictate in accordance with their “ignorance,” you may decide to demonstrate the Grace of God. (l Timothy 1:13 “Although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”) As our children are ignorant and walking in unbelief, as they don’t have understanding of all the righteousness of God, we may, out of our mercy (out of our Fatherheart or our Motherheart), give them mercy and show them kindness. You may decide to demonstrate the grace of God rather than just tremendous consistent discipline every single time they even look at us cross-eyed.
There may be a time when grace is the order of the day. However, “Grace” is not “overlooking” sin and mindlessly or “lovingly” pretending it didn’t happen, but it is allowing someone else to pay the price for the transgression, rather than the one who committed it. You have to understand that grace is not overlooking sin. Grace is allowing someone else to pay the price. Sin is never overlooked. The wages of sin is always death. There is never an exception to that. We will always reap what we sow. There is never an exception to that unless we allow someone to become a curse for us, unless we allow someone to become sin for us that we might become His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).
The Whole Law
Divine Justice and the Law of Sowing and Reaping do not allow “lawbreaking” to be ignored, even once. The Word of God is very clear on that (Rev.21: 27; Rom.3: 23; Rom.6: 23; Jas.2: 10-11; Gal.3: 10-14).
James 2:10-11 says that if you have committed even the slightest sin, then you are guilty of breaking the whole law. If you have just had a bad attitude, if you have been disgusted at your boss, if you have been deceptive in the slightest way (maybe you just haven’t told the whole truth), then the Word of God says that you are guilty of breaking the entire law. You might as well have been a rapist and a murderer, because you will be judged as a rapist and murderer for even rolling your eyes one time. You are guilty of violating the entire law if you violate it on even a single point.
Why is that? Because when you violate it on even a single point, you are shaking your fist at God. You have said, “God, you don’t have the right to tell me what to do.” That’s a violation of His holiness, and, therefore, a violation of His person! It is a violation of His person to totally disregard everything about God and to make ourselves a law unto ourselves. “I will decide what is good and evil. I will decide this is a little sin and this is a big one. This is important, this is unimportant. This is okay, this isn’t okay. It’s not okay to murder, but it is okay to roll my eyes. It’s okay to slander my boss or to have a bad attitude and slander my neighbor.” God says it’s murder.
Moses said to you, “Do not kill.” But I say to you, “If you call your brother a name you are guilty of murder.” The nature of lawlessness is that we become a law unto ourselves. We violate God’s holiness. If we violate God’s holiness, we are totally guilty of violating every point of law and we are in a lot of trouble because the wages of violating God is always death. There’s never an exception to that.
Jesus Took The Curse
Gal. 3:10-14 says if we try to be justified by the law, we are under a curse. If we try to do good in order to please God and we become a law unto ourselves judging good and evil, then we are under a curse, and we shall die. It says that Jesus became a curse for us, because “cursed is he who dies on a tree.” But if we, by faith, receive what the gift of God in Christ Jesus is and who we are, then we are clothed with Christ and are sons of God. How? By faith in Jesus Christ. “For as many of you that have been baptized into Christ, that have been clothed with Christ...” If we enter into the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ by faith in Jesus Christ, then He becomes sin for us while we become His righteousness. If we won’t allow Him to become a curse for us because we won’t receive His mercy and His kindness and grace by faith...if we decide we are going to justify ourselves in God’s sight, then we are cursed because we are guilty of breaking every point of the law and we will die on that tree. The law is very clear on that.
The Good News of Jesus Christ will be foreshadowed to your children as you creatively demonstrate the unwavering absoluteness of the Laws of God, and also, as Mercy is aroused—the Grace of someone else receiving the irrevocable punishment warranted by the transgression of the command that God, through the parents, has issued. (As crazy as it seems, “fast” for a day to pay the punishment that the child should have had to pay, or skip desert for them—and tell them why you’re doing it—if you decide to extend them grace that is “unmerited”. It could be a thousand different expressions, but let it be something!) Divine Justice says that one always reaps what they sow, and “grace” is never that sin is ignored, but that someone else pays for your transgression instead of you.
We issue a command to our children—if they violate that, even in attitude, they become guilty of violating the whole relationship between son and parent, daughter and parent. They become guilty of breaking the entire law by rolling their eyes. The law is that they are worthy of death. And, in fact, the old covenant was that if a child was not obedient to his parents, they would be stoned publicly in front of the whole church, in front of all Israel. That was the foreshadowing of family relationships and God was trying to show us that the rolling of the eyes is to violate the relationship of the family. That is true for husband and wife. That is true for child and parent. And it is an irrevocable law, and that warrants death according to the word of God.
Here’s the neat part: As hard as all that sounds, the good news of Jesus Christ is that He can become sin for us. He can become the curse for us. This is a life or death issue. This isn’t just a little bit of a game, a little bit of word play. This is life and death. If we won’t receive Jesus Christ as sin for us but rather we decide we are going to live a good Christian life to earn our salvation before God, then we are guilty of the entire law if we fail just once. You are okay if you don’t even fail once. But if you fail once, you are guilty of violating the whole of God’s love for you. And in so doing, you are guilty of violating the whole law, which is punishable by death. It’s true in a child relationship with a parent as well. The good news of Jesus Christ foreshadowed in our relationship with our children is that we can also show them a grace not by overlooking their sin, but by allowing that sin to be paid in another way. Don’t miss this opportunity to bring your children through a learning experience that they will either learn when they’re young, learn when they’re older (more difficult)… or never learn at all—and lose their souls for eternity, “reaping what they’ve sown.”
Taking The Punishment
One classic example that was very clear was when my daughter was interrupting a conversation that I was having with some adults. The law of God through the parent was “don’t ever interrupt adults,” and she did it. She did it innocently. She was a blasphemer out of ignorance, so she was shown mercy. Grace was aroused, and I took her punishment for her. She should have been disciplined, but I literally took that discipline for her. As bizarre as that sounds, (and there are a thousand ways for that to be wrought out) it has to be seen clearly that the punishment will always be there 100% of the time—not 99%. “I’m going to pay the price for you.” 100% justice. 100% of the time. Grace is simply allowing someone else to pay that punishment for them. A man will reap what he sows, unless someone else reaps it for him.
It’s going to take some creativity and some thought on our part to make certain that the price is paid. “The price must be paid; here’s how it will be paid,” or “I’m going to fast for today because of this transgression in your life...” There must be 100% justice. Even if there is grace extended, that’s not overlooking. It’s substitutionary, it’s imputed, and it’s not overlooked.
Understand, Nurture, And Admonish
Jesus Christ has reaped what we have sown on the cross. He has died. The wages of sin is death, and He paid that price. So we disciple our children into an understanding of that by our consistency and our training of them, and by demonstrating grace to them in whatever creative ways that we can. But we have to know all of this. We have to understand grace. We have to understand the Fatherheart. We have to understand mercy, and justice and holiness to be able to disciple our children in these areas. It isn’t going to happen by accident.
We need to have an understanding from the Father of what His relationship is with us so that we might transfer that to our children and grow them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—HIS nurture and admonition! It is not just trying to make good citizens out of them, teaching them to stay out of the way and to be “good,” quiet little children when we are trying to talk to someone in our own little selfish arena. We don’t want to make little dummies out of them, who mindlessly follow us around. “Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir.” The objective is not that they be “good little angels.” I would rather have a rebellious, rotten child who has learned the righteousness and holiness of God, and has learned the mercy and the grace of God through my relationship with them, than have a mindless child whose heart is foreign to God even though he knows how to stay out of trouble and avoid circumstantial trouble.
You cannot force “results” (and that is not truly your immediate aim), but you can be certain, through your willingness to lay down your life for your children in consistent training, that there is no mistake in their mind that everyone will reap exactly what they sow! May God be merciful to us as we try to walk this out.
Too Old for Discipline?
Question: Is there a time when, for me as a mother, to stop spanking my older son (twelve years old) and hand it over to my husband, as long as the respect on my son’s part is there?
My gut reaction is that you will know when that time comes. Some little girls are not too old for me to pick up and hold on my lap. But I know that there comes a time when that is just not right any more. It is entirely possible that the time is coming when you turn your son’s discipline over to your husband, or you exercise discipline in some other way.