The Gospel is the Heart of Discipline

I’ve read a lot of parenting this books this year… my estimate is at least 12 in the last 12 months.  (I’m not that insecure in my parenting, they’re “research” for my D.Min. thesis – but they’ve been VERY helpful personally as I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old at home.)  Gospel-Powered Parenting by William Farley is easily the best parenting book I’ve come across so far (with the possible tie of “Age of Opportunity” by Paul David Tripp, but Tripp’s book is focused on parenting teenagers so while it’s more directly applicable to my studies it’s not as personally applicable… yet!).

Here’s the latest nugget I’ve been chewing on today:

The gospel should be at the heart of all attempts to discipline children.  The gospel affects discipline in two ways.  First, it motivates our discipline.  Second, communicating the gospel become the end of effective Christian discipline.

Effective discipline requires great resolve and perseverance.  No parent is equal to the task.  Some children require five spankings in a lifetime, others five every morning.

… Understanding the gospel and its implications for disciplining our children fortified Judy and me through these trials.  It helped in several ways:

  • The gospel convinced us that indwelling sin was our children’s problem.
  • The gospel convinced us that authority is a crucial parental issue.
  • The gospel instructed us to pursue our children’s hearts rather than their behavior.
  • The gospel motivated us to use discipline to preach the gospel to our children.
  • The gospel motivated us to fear God.
  • The gospel helped Judy and me to grow in humility and sincerity.