God-Centered Parenting – Part One
This is the first part of a three-part series on parenting by Pastor Wayne Hu. Join us next week for the next addition!
If someone were to ask you what it means to be a successful parent, what would you say? If you were to reflect on the hopes and aspirations that you have (or should have) for your children, what would they be? When you put your children down to sleep at night and you say to yourself, “Today was a good day (or a bad day),” what makes you say that? Simply put, what is your ultimate goal and purpose as a parent and how do you know whether or not you are headed in the right direction?
As parents of three young children, there are a number of things that my wife and I hope for in the lives of our children. We hope that they would place greater value on their relationships rather than on their possessions. We hope that they would be generous and kind and hard-working and responsible. Most importantly, we hope that they would always be faithful to our Bay Area sports teams despite being raised in southern California! And though all of these qualities are important, the greatest hope and prayer that we have for our children as well as for all of the children here at Lighthouse would be for them to have a God-centered vision in their lives.
In fact, I believe one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our children is imparting the simple but profound truth that God is the center of the universe – not them – and helping our kids to understand that everything in this universe revolves around God. He alone is the Creator and we and everything else are His creation.
“I believe one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our children is imparting the simple but profound truth that God is the center of the universe – not them.”
If you would like to do a simple Bible activity with your children, take a look at the first 34 verses in the Bible and ask them what they think Genesis chapter 1:1-2:3 is about. And similar to many devotionals and Sunday school lessons, your children might respond that the first chapter of the Bible is about creation – the sun and the moon, the plants and the animals, and Adam and Eve.
And yet their answer would not be entirely correct. The first chapter of the Bible is not ultimately about the creation, but about the Creator! The word that is repeated again and again all over these verses is the word “God.” “God created… God said… God called… God named… God separated… God made… God saw… God blessed” – all of these phrases are repeated over and over and over. In fact, the word “God” is repeated 35 times in the first 34 verses of the Bible! So who is ultimately the main subject of Genesis 1? It’s not the sun or the moon or even Adam and Eve, but God.
And God is not only the main subject in Genesis 1, but He is the main subject in the entire Bible. In fact, God is the main subject in this entire universe from eternity past to eternity future! As Romans 11:36 declares, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” God is the central figure, the primary focus of this existence, and each of us are simply blessed to be a part of His story.
“We must first have a God-saturated, God-permeated, God-entranced vision for our own lives, because we simply cannot give what we do not have.”
With this in mind, we must constantly remind ourselves and our kids that God created us for His glory. We did not create God for our glory. We were created for Him. He was not created for us. This is one of the most foundational truths that every human being must come to understand about their lives, and the earlier our children are able to comprehend this in our individualistic, self-centered, consumer culture where everything is about me and my wants and my desires, the more equipped they will be in accurately understanding who they are and how they are to live.
Author Paul Tripp says it this way, “We need to do everything we can to put the glory of God and his grace before our children so that the awe of God would rule over their hearts.”
What this means for us as parents is that we must first have a God-saturated, God-permeated, God-entranced vision for our own lives, because we simply cannot give what we do not have. This is constantly a convicting and humbling truth, that in order to pass on a proper vision of God to our children through our words and example, we need to be continually aligning our own vision with God’s vision.
This is my hope and prayer for my family as well as for all the families at Lighthouse, that we would be people who desire God’s agenda for our lives instead of our own agendas and that we would think and speak and live in a way that highlights the fact that God – not us – is at the center of our lives. Let us pray and help each other to proclaim the words in Psalm 115:1, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory.”
Wayne Hu (firstname.lastname@example.org) serves as an associate pastor in Children’s Ministries and Small Groups Ministry. In his time at Lighthouse, he has come to appreciate the humility and servant hearts of the church leadership and members. His passion is to equip and encourage families to have a God-centered vision in their lives and in their parenting, and to help parents point their kids to Christ and to the gospel through planting God’s Word in their hearts. Wayne loves spending time with his wife Melanie and their 3 kids, Caleb, Jocelyn, and Allison. He enjoys following his hometown San Francisco sports teams and trying out different types of Asian food and drinks.