Greetings PAACH homeschooling families. The end of another school year is fast approaching, and some of you may be preparing to graduate a child from high school into the school of life. My second oldest is graduating in a few short weeks and I am not sure I am ready for this. (Maybe because it makes me feel older?) Others of you might be coming to the end of your first year of homeschooling. You are likely looking forward to a break from all the responsibilities and anxieties that can weigh on you. Either way, I am confident that much learning has taken place. I want to offer an opportunity to reflect on your reasons and goals for choosing to homeschool your children. I am going to point you to a few verses in scripture on obedience, faith, and grace. Then, I want to make several observations and invite you to meditate on these things and pray about any adjustments that you may need to make in your family.
God gives clear commandments for us to follow. One of those tells us to “Honor your father and mother.” (Ex 20:12) Paul rewords it to address children directly: “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Eph 6:1) Here’s my first observation: Has anyone else noticed that your children don’t naturally obey you? I know, you’re thinking “Thanks captain obvious for this brilliant observation.” Of course they don’t because we all have a broken and sinful nature. And yet, God clearly charges us as parents with the responsibility to teach and train our children to be obedient. (Deut 6:4-9) Why is teaching our children obedience so important? Is it just because of the promise that comes with it? I have recently begun to read through The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and I was struck by a claim that he makes. He says that when it comes to faith in Christ there are two propositions that “hold good and are equally true: only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.” He goes on to say that when Christ calls a person to follow Him, obedience is what makes faith possible, and faith is what makes obedience possible. My thought is this: If we do well to train our children in obedience, might they be better prepared to respond to Christ with obedience when He calls them? This could mean that how we teach them obedience is equally important. So let me remind of something else vital to remember as parents… our children need grace.
Ah yes, the costly grace of God that brings us to salvation. I am reading through another book to aid in the pre-marital counseling with my oldest daughter and her soon-to-be husband. It is the same book I referred to last month: When Sinners Say “I Do” by Dave Harvey. (Again, I will say this is an excellent book that has been both challenging and encouraging to me. I highly recommend it.) Dave has reminded me that God’s grace is not just a saving grace, but also a sanctifying grace. Paul tells Titus (and us) that grace does much more than bring us to salvation, but also “trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live selfcontrolled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…” (Titus 2:11-14) Kirk Smith just preached this very passage and very same message at our church recently. Here is the other thought I had: If our children see this grace at work in us, might they be more likely to recognize Christ when He calls them?
My conclusion is this, we may be tools of God’s grace in our children’s lives. God has charged us with the responsibility to “train up our children in the way they should go.” (Prov 22:6) While our training does not guarantee our child’s salvation, our training may be used by God as a part of the kindness that draws their hearts towards Him. Here is my challenge for you to reflect on: Does your discipleship of your children teach them obedience AND show them grace that prepares them to recognize and respond to Christ when He calls them?
The PAACH board desires to help and support you throughout your homeschooling journey. We also desire to help you disciple your children by providing encouragement, wisdom, and resources that will enable you to be Godly parents who lead your children towards Christ. We pray that your family learns together, grows together with others in community, and glorifies Christ in everything you do.
James Cox PAACH President
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