Welcome! If you’re anything like me, you want to be a good parent but didn’t realize you would be making it up as you went. There wasn’t a book or even a blog post for most situations I ran into as a parent. I have been a parent for over 13 years, and my wife and I have felt like we were making it up more times than we knew what we were doing, at least for our first child. Many times it can feel the same way with our spiritual growth. Although countless books aim to help you grow spiritually, it is challenging for most of us to balance work, home, school, church, sports, and personal spiritual growth, and family discipleship.
This blog post is the first of a five-part blog series to show you that personal spiritual growth is attainable even for the busiest parent and most hectic household.
The Importance of Spiritual Growth for Parents
Family Discipleship is an important topic for me. Since you are reading this post, it probably is for you, too. We read passages like these and get excited.
‘And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.’
Deuteronomy 6:6-7, ESV
‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.’
Proverbs 22:6, ESV
‘Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.’
Ephesians 6:4, ESV
Of course, these are just a few passages of Scripture that point to the importance of Family Discipleship. Parenting is a joy and calling. Children are a gift and a responsibility from God. As Christian parents, we must make the most of our time to “train up” our kids in the way they should go, we should “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” and we should “teach” our kids the commands of Scripture.
But what about you, mom and dad? You can’t teach your kids about something you don’t know much about, at least not for long. As a parent, you need to care for your spiritual growth. It’s like when the flight attendant goes over the emergency procedures and instructs you to put on your oxygen mask first and then help your kids put theirs on. Our first instinct might be to help our kids before we care for ourselves and care for our kids; we must first take care of ourselves.
Ways to Grow Spiritually as a Parent
There is no shortage of practical tips on growing spiritually. Many bloggers, podcasters, authors, and pastors offer great advice on the topic. My advice on this subject would be to start with Scripture and prayer. It’s as simple as that. You don’t need a book, blog, or podcast. Scripture is enough. I wouldn’t even worry about jumping into a bible reading plan at first. They are great, but they also set you up to fail, especially those “Read Through the Bible in a Year” plans.
A friend of mine, a church member, and podcaster, Michael Smith (no, not the singer), had great advice when he shared about his time with God; Start reading and then stop when you encounter something that amazes you. Stop and wonder about what you just read. It will take you much longer than a year to read through the entire Bible if you stop and wonder at everything that amazes you, but why rush through it. Spend some time with God. There is no hurry.
Along with Scripture, prayer helps you grow spiritually as a parent. Prayer should accompany your Scripture reading, but it should also be part of your daily life.
‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’
You might find yourself having a running dialogue with God throughout the day. That’s perfect. Our family has made a habit of focusing on thanksgiving in our prayer time with God. Focusing a giving thanks helps you and your kids know that everything comes from God. That understanding will continue with them as they grow up and leave your home. It also a helpful reminder to you as life happens, and remembering God is the giver of all things is essential.
Scripture reading and prayer are two simple ways to begin to grow spiritually as a parent. Both you and your kids will benefit from your personal spiritual growth. God will honor it. He will use it as you disciple your kids. Your personal spiritual growth as a parent is important. Start small, start today, and trust God to do the work of growing you.
‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.’
1 Corinthians 3:6, ESV
Most Christian parents want to disciple their kids, but they don’t know how or where to start. It starts with your spiritual growth. I am writing books to help you with the how. My first release, Broken https://amzn.to/3doDvSj, is a storybook written to help give parents confidence in sharing the Gospel with their young children.
Synopsis of Broken: With the help of their mother, the Bible, and a broken picture frame, two lovable sisters discover the reality of being broken by sin and the joy of God, making them new through the life and death of Jesus.
Question for the Comments: How have you seen your spiritual growth impact your family discipleship?