Homework: See "Chew on this..." below.
Main Idea - Discipleship is 1) an intentional endeavor and 2) a relational endeavor.
1) Many parents begin reading to their children almost immediately after they are born. Children are exposed to picture books and then helped forward from there, even before starting school We don't simply drop kids off at school and hope they learn how to read; we take deliberate steps in ensure they learn to read. In the same manner discipleship involves intentional effort. It is by no means adequate to drop kids off at church a couple hours per week and hope they learn to follow Jesus.
Instilling love for God and neighbor in our children (Matthew 22:37-40) requires an intentional effort (Deuteronomy 6:5-9) characterized by LOVE (John 13:34-35, Covenant of Redemption).
2) Behavior modification is not goal. Twenty years from now it will not be important to you that your son or daughter had a clean room when he or she was a child. Whether or not he or she is still talking to you and talking to God will be important to you 20 years from now. There are instances in which we need to "lay off" for the sake of our relationships with our children.
Be FAITHFUL to your word (Covenant of Works), while always prepared to extend GRACE (Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:21, Covenant of Grace). Remember, you will likely need to ask your children to extend grace to you from time to time as well.
What is the goal? Spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-33). How do trees grow fruit?
The are rooted in good soil (Christ), draw nourishment from healthy roots (Word & prayer), are supported by a strong trunk (worship, fellowship, witness), which branches out (obedience). The branches produce fruit simply as a result of the life that is flowing through the tree.
Don't ever stop doing your homework from Week 2. When you see any of the fruit listed in Galatians 5, affirm it!
Chew on this...
Evaluate yourself as a parent. What parts of the tree would you say are growing strong in your life (if you're married, your life as a couple) and which parts are weaker, perhaps in need of a little fertilizer?
How are your children doing in respect to those aspects of discipleship? Do they even have them on their "radar screens?"
If you’ve never done so before, or if it’s been awhile, turn to John 15: 1-17. Read through the passage out loud once, then go back through each verse and note which phrases refer to which of the aspects of “The Tree.”