Raising Kids in the Way of Grace: Parenting by the Spirit


Check out this excerpt from Raising Kids in the Way of Grace by Bob Kellemen:

I was recently counseling a couple (DeWayne and Paige) whose teenage son was a prodigal. After hearing their story and empathizing with their hurts, I asked, “Tell me some of the prayers you’ve been praying about all of this…” They were honest enough to say, “We’ve become so exhausted by this situation that we’ve just about stopped praying. We’re hoping to get your insights and encouragement…”

It would be easy to jump to judgment: “How could you stop praying!” Rather than doing that, we turned together to Ephesians 5-6 for some of the encouragement they desired. I began by explaining that Ephesians 5:21-6:9 contains a “household code”—Paul’s biblical portrait of how members of the household of his day (Husband/wife, parent/child, master/slave) were to relate.

I then asked DeWayne to read a verse directly before the household code, Ephesians 5:18: “… do not get drink with wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Then I asked Paige to read two verses directly after the household code, Ephesians 6:10 and 18: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power… And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” I didn’t even have to ask them what they noticed. It was Paige who said, “Before and after Paul talks about family living, he talks about being filled with the Spirit, being strong in the Spirit, and praying in the Spirit.”

I replied, “That’s right. Because Paul understood the temptation to give up when family life exhausts us, he sandwiches his discussion of the home with Spirit-dependency. Paul is emphasizing our need for strength from above. Based on the context, it’s perfectly legitimate for us to paraphrase Ephesians 6:10 like this: ‘Mom and Dad, finally and always be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.’ DeWayne and Paige, the same power that raised Christ from the grace is available to the two of you as you parent your prodigal son.”

I continued, “And think about how important your God-dependence is to your son. Right now, he is depending on anyone and anything but Christ. What does he need the most from you? He needs to see you depending on God – filled with the Spirit, strong in the Spirit, praying in the Spirit. That model has greater potential of drawing and attracting your son to Christ than any principles or steps I could ever suggest.”

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