Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shepherding a Child's Heart

My homegroup (couples bible study) at church is going through a book called "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp. It 's been a very thought provoking book for many of us. Our group has couples with little babies all the way up to couples with teenagers. We are ALL learning and being challenged. So, I thought I would put up some excerpts from the book and see how they challenge you.

"Having well-behaved children is not a worthy goal. It is a great secondary benefit of biblical childrearing, but an unworthy goal in itself."

"If your objectives are anything other than 'Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,' you teach your children to function in the culture on its terms. How do we do this? We pander to their desires and wishes. We teach them to find their soul's delight in going places and doing things. We attempt to satisfy their lust for excitement. We fill their young lives with distractions from God. We give them material things that take delight in their delight in possessions. Then we hope that somewhere down the line they will see that a life worth living is found only in knowing and serving God. In terms of Godward orientation, we are training them in the idolatry of materialism."

"What about academic goals? Parents typically pressure their children to get good grades. Are good grades a biblical objective? What scripture passages would support this objective?.......... In contrast, there should be no pressure for good grades at all. Grades are unimportant. What is important is that your child learn to do his work diligently for God. God has promised that He will reward the faithful. Knowing that gifts and abilities are a stewardship from the Lord, your child's objective should be faithfulness. You need to train your child to find in Christ the strength and power to work for God's glory. Anything else is training him to think and act unbiblically."

Those are just a few excerpts...there is so much more. There is one scripture that really stood out to me as well.

"See that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." Colossians 2:8

There are so many books out there on child rearing that preach about how to have a well behaved to have a well-adjusted to have a confident to raise a successful child.....

As Christians we need to be careful. We need to ask ourselves if what we are pushing on our kids is actually biblical or if we are being fooled by the principles of this world. All of the things I previously mentioned are not bad or wrong...but they should not be our primary goal in raising our children. They WILL BE secondary benefits if we truly train our children in the ways of the Lord. Their relationship with God should ALWAYS be our primary focus. We should always be trying to direct and shepherd their hearts back towards God.


  1. I might have to pick that book up again......if I can find it. I started it a couple of times, but just couldn't get into it even though I've heard such great things about it.

    Totally agree though!....with the excerpts you posted.

  2. Great post & a great book. It really shook my established beliefs concerning apparent obedience vs. condition of the heart. Another book I love is Romancing Your Child's Heart by Monte Swan.

  3. Sounds about right. I spent many years at a particular church where I have seen many kids who "obey" out of complete fear. Not a pretty sight. Our children are at some point going to have to make their own decisions. Much more effective to concentrate on their heart towards Jesus!

  4. Glad to hear that you are enjoying your study with your home group and all growing together - beautiful example of a great relational environment! Thanks for the book recommendation!

  5. Great thought-provoking quotes you shared. Gonna have to go grab that book off my shelf and read it kids were a lot younger the first time I read it - I think it would be good for me to re-read it now that they're getting older.

  6. I keep hearing about this book - will have to pick it up. The first quote reminded me of some stuff I read in "Families where Grace is in place" - another great book.

    I totally agree with that second quote you posted - now the question is: how do I avoid the one and concentrate instead on the other? That's the hard part for me...

  7. I've read this book...thanks for the reminder...Amen to that sistah!


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