Week 9 - Strategy, Part III: Leading to Repentance

(The following is adapted from Paul D. Tripp, Age of Opportunity, P&R 2001.)

Review: Discipling our children is a long-term project, so we set some goals for them to 1) be wise and do good, 2) possess an accurate understanding of their own situation and 3) gain biblical personal insight (in other words the ability to detect their own sin and hate it!). Our primary objective is still spiritual fruit. While ultimately our trust is in the Lord, we also have an intentional plan for achieving these goals. The plan includes "constant conversation," which we discussed last week, as well as "leading to repentance." How do we lead our children to repentance?

Main Idea - Consideration, Confession, Commitment, Change


2 Corinthians 5:17-21 - We are not "agents of control." We are ambassadors for Christ. 

2 Samuel 12:1-15 - Note the manner in which Nathan approaches and convicts David of his sin. Rather than blatantly accusing, Nathan tells a story to which David is able to relate. This in turn causes David to consider his own sinfulness. 

         -What is/was going on?

         -What are/were you thinking or feeling about the situation?

         -What did you do?

         -Why did you do it?

         -What was the result?


David's response is confession (v. 13). Nathan cannot confess for David, nor does he try. Instead Nathan addressed David's spiritual blindness. Our temptation as parents is to do the confessing for our children. In other words, we charge into a "conversation" pronouncing exactly what they have done wrong rather than asking them to consider the situation and speaking to their spiritual blindness.

If your child is led to confess, there needs be a commitment to change. The desired change is not simply one of behavior, but of heart. This is true repentance. 

The final step in true repentance is change. We will need to help our kids think about specific, concrete steps that will lead away from the old way of doing things to a new, God-honoring manner of life. This may involve discussing very particular situations, scenarios, and relationships, some of which you will already be well aware if you (and/or they) have an accurate understanding of their situation. 

Chew on this...

What is the differences are there between acting as an ambassador as opposed to exercising control?

Did your parents ever accuse you of things when you were a teenager? Even if you knew what you did was wrong, how did you tend to react in those moments as a teenager?

What role does confession and repentance play in your own life? Are there aspects of your life in which you are struggling to act in submission to the Lord? Do you know Scripture well enough to know whether or not you are living in submission to him?

Beware! Discipling your own children (or anyone for that matter) may raise awareness and cause you to consider your own need of repentance. See Matthew 7:5. Our own sin does not disqualify us as capable ministers to our families or others. However, a lack of confession and repentance can disqualify us. Remember that it is a continual struggle; part of being disciplined as God's sons and indeed heirs to the promises of God!