What Does the Gospel Have to Do With Parenting?
Parenting is a job for which no one is ever truly ready. Raise your hand if you were perfectly patient and kind the day your child came into your life. I know my husband and I weren't. We sure thought highly of ourselves though! We were just children ourselves. For the most part, we still are much like our children. We still make mistakes, act selfishly, and vie for control. We can be a hot mess.
It's not that we just need a few tweaks here and there to our methodology. Frequently we need to be reminded of the big picture; why on earth we are even given charge over children. Paul David Tripp does a fantastic job of summarizing this impossible task in his latest book: Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. (Make sure to read to the end...I'm giving away a copy, and you really want to win it!)
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. See my full disclosure policy for more information.
Tripp introduces this concept with defining the role of a parent not as an owner of their children, but as an ambassador to their children. This is an important distinction in the application of parenting.
The only thing an ambassador does, if he's interested in keeping his job, is to faithfully represent the message, methods, and character of the leader who has sent him. -Paul David Tripp
Since we are sinful people, we all naturally tend towards ownership parenting rather than ambassador parenting. It is ridiculously difficult to see ourselves as message bearers while we're knee deep in Lego messes. When we start to catch a glimpse of the bigger story that we're invited to join in on when God assigns us children, it's pretty exciting. There is something greater than producing perfect puppets. It's all about soul shaping, and God is doing the heavy lifting.
Gospel Principles for Parenting
Paul David Tripp outlines 14 principles for parenting that are defined by the gospel. When we view our job as parents in light of the gospel, the task set before us undergoes a massive makeover, and peace is possible. Here are the highlights of the principles from the book:
- #1 Calling - God uses parents as tools to form human souls. There is no greater purpose.
- #2 Grace - If He calls you to it, He'll equip you and go with you.
- #3 Law - Children need the law, but don't expect the law to do what only grace can do.
- #4 Inability - There is no perfect parent.
- #5 Identity - Our identity needs to be focused on Christ, not our children.
- #6 Process - Change is a process and not an event.
- #7 Lost - The bad behavior in children stems from a lost condition.
- #8 Authority - Children need teaching and modeling of the protective beauty of authority.
- #9 Foolishness - The foolishness inside a child is more dangerous than the temptation outside of a child.
- #10 Character - Not all bad behavior is rebellion; much of it is a lack of character.
- #11 False Gods - We parent worshipers. What rules our children's hearts will control their behavior.
- #12 Control - The goal isn't control, but heart and life change.
- #13 Rest - Joy and patience can only come from resting in God's presence.
- #14 Mercy - No parent gives mercy better than the parent that is convinced that he desperately needs it himself.
Parenting by Paul David Tripp Giveaway
I'm happy to be able to give a copy of this incredible book away to one lucky reader. Your family will be blessed from your reading, so make sure to enter below, and share this with your friends. If you'd like to get a copy of this book sooner, you can find it on Amazon.
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
What gospel principle are you most interested in reading more about?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.
I have been eyeing this book! Mercy, rest, grace…I need to read it all!
I know! I haven’t quite finished it yet because I keep slowing down to savor each chapter and really think about the gospel concepts. It’s really wonderful!
This sounds like a book I need to read.
His seminar, “Getting to the Heart of
Parenting” was awesome, so I expect this book to be just as great!
I love that he speaks from humility. It’s definitely a great read!
#9 Foolishness. I would love to hear what he says about this.
So intrigued by this book! Character, control, mercy… I can’t think of a single principle I don’t need help with, but those three are tugging at me hard tight now.
I keep seeing and hearing about this book. I think I need to read it 🙂
I I enjoyed Mr. Tripp’s insights several years ago when he participated in Family Life Today’s Marriage videos. Have always wanted to read more. Even though most of my children are grown I still need help.
Grace, identity ( especially when grown children aren’t exactly where you would like them to be.) I always get the feeling that perhaps people see me differently, now that i have a seemingly prodigal or two. 🙁
Also, the imperfect parent. Parenting many children, one with special needs really shows how different I parent ( good and bad ) thru many years and many mistakes.
Great giveaway. Putting this on my to read /to buy list if I don’t win.
I have had my eye on this book. We have several parenting books on the shelf, but I still come up feeling uncertain at times. Character, Mercy, and Control all sounds good. Really, the whole book sounds good!
False idols- this is hard enough for adults to prioritize in their lives; I would be very interested in this from a child’s perspective and how to help them handle it.
Great article! Thanks for posting it!
Oh I so would love to read this book. Definitely looking forward to all of it, but I’m especially interested in learning more about foolishness and false gods. 🙂 Even if I don’t win I think my husband and I will be reading this together!
I’m pretty sure I’ve read some of his other books too….
To answer the question: #2 Grace – If He calls you to it, He’ll equip you and go with you.
Oh how I need help with the “process.” I have to remember God is working, even if I don’t see it.
I have said that to myself so many times this week!
I am finishing up Tripp’s book, “Age of Opportunity” right now and am very interested in reading his latest! It’s very difficult to just pick one principle because they are all so convicting. If I have to choose one, it would be rest.
I just heard about this book from a friend and your review is so thorough and inspiring. I would love to win and read this book! Thanks for your giveaways!
All 14 sound like they would be good to consider! Even if they aren’t “new information”, I always need a reminder!