INABILITY

Parenting is not about exercising power for change in your children.  Parenting is about your humble faithfulness in being willing to participate in God’s work of change for the sake of your children.  Parents, here’s what you need to understand: God has given you authority for the work of change, but has not granted you the power to make that change happen.

Paul D. Tripp

What are your parenting goals?  What’s the end goal you want to produce?

These are questions we wish we would have examined much sooner than we did, which was not until well into our parenting years. We were discussing this concept while visiting with family recently. They shared their desire for their children to be excellent in activities, at top of their classes, and ultimately attend a reputable university. During that conversation we thought about, and challenged them to consider the importance of their children become Godly young men or women.  That led us to consider what we are doing to ensure our own children will fulfill this goal.

You see, the problem with this is that we cannot DO anything to ensure our children’s salvation and walk with Christ.  

We all live under the allusion that we control so many things, when in reality we simply cannot. example, we can’t control what people do to us, how people treat us or how others react to us.  We tell our kids everyday there are only two things in life we can control: our attitude and our effort. 

As so many parents do, we often try to control our children through behavior modification. 

Paul Tripp outlines in the book the ways we use fear, rewards or shame to get the external change we want in our kids.  When we use these tactics, then get the results we think we wanted, we believe we have changed them! He goes on to explain, however, that this doesn’t lead to change at all.  These three parenting tools “have a short term positive harvest and a long term negative legacy.


It is incredibly important that we take time each day to remember the ultimate goal of Christian parenting—to see our children embrace and respond to the love of Jesus Christ in their lives.  Life is busy, and each day brings new challenges and pressures on us as parents.  In the midst of all the daily activities, so often in the moment we just want our children to do what we say

The short term tactics we often use that help achieve this ultimately never reach our children’s hearts.  If we want to see lasting change we must focus on what’s going on inside not what’s going on outside.

“God has simply called you as a parent to be a humble and faithful tool of change in the lives of your children.  And for that there is moment by moment by moment grace.”  

Paul D. Tripp

As parents we must commit to walking in that moment by moment grace so that we can model and share it with our children.  May God allow us to embrace our inability so that we can fully recognize our need for utter dependence on Him alone to change our children’s hearts. 


Hilton Head Christian Academy‘s Life+ blog was created to equip today’s Christian parents with practical tools, thought provoking content, and honest conversation.

This fall, we look forward to parenting alongside all of you through a new series based on a life-giving book by Pastor Paul Tripp: Parenting: 14 Gospel principles that can radically change your family.

Each week we will unpack them chapter by chapter right here on the Life+ blog. We hope you’ll grab a copy and dive in with us, taking time to discuss each principle with your own family and the people God has placed in your life.

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