Parenting with an Eternal Perspective

As I write this, I am nearly in disbelief. I feel like I need to pinch myself to see if the reality of our eldest child going to church youth camp is really happening. *Pinched myself* Guess what? It is confirmed; she is headed off to youth camp. By God’s grace, our little baby girl is growing up into a young lady, and we are both thankful and a little nervous. Yet, my wife and I are constantly placing her in the sovereign hands of the Lord who we know rules and reigns over everything.

My concern, however, is rapidly growing for parenting in the American context. The question I am asking myself is: Have we replaced an eternal perspective for parenting with the temporal success of our children as our main goal for raising our children? To be clear, the pull of the world is extremely powerful when it comes to raising our children to be successful as the world defines success.

For example, my wife and I had to make a decision about sending our oldest to church camp. You may be wondering why this was such a difficult decision. Our child attends year round school. This means that while most students have their summers off, ours just started her school year. In other words, attending camp results in her missing school.

Here comes the parenting perspective. On the one hand, our child would be at youth camp where she will hear the gospel, where we pray Christ will open her heart and mind to the fullness of who he is and what he has done, and where she will have an opportunity to build godly relationships that will help her thrive in the future as God’s grace becomes more evident in her life. On the other hand, she would miss three days of schooling, be behind on her work, have to spend some extra hours making up that work, and will be exhausted from camp when she returns to school the following Monday.

The pull of the world’s perspective was quite enticing to keep her in school and out of youth camp. As parents, we began to think about potential consequences for her future. What if she fails a few assignments because she missed school and went to camp? What if she didn’t make up her work because she was too tired? There goes college, and a career, and possibly earthly success. Right? These are all the thoughts that we parents wrestle with when it comes to our children and their futures. As parents, we want what is best for our babies.

But, what is truly best for our children? This is where the goal of this post materializes. My wife and I asked God to help us keep an eternal perspective when it came to making this decision. What’s more important in this life? A grade on a test? A career? A life living out the American Dream? Or one decision that has an eternal consequence? Perhaps we, parents, need to start asking the question: How do the decisions we make for our children have eternal significance for their spiritual condition?

When you begin to think about parenting with an eternal perspective, what’s best for our children is a relationship with Jesus Christ above all else. I would rather my child miss a few days of school instead of miss eternity with Christ. A grade on a piece of paper seems so insignificant when it comes to a decision to follow Jesus and be with him for all eternity.

Please do not hear what I am not saying. This doesn’t mean we don’t challenge our children to do well and succeed. In fact, a relationship with Christ will cultivate within them a desire to be excellent because God is excellent. A desire to get a good job because God created us to work. A desire to honor authority because God commands it. A desire to make money and be good stewards as God decrees. A desire to make the world a better place for Christ because God mandated it. In other words, everything in life falls into its proper place when we have King Jesus at the center.

Therefore, the most important thing we can do as parents is point them to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Pointing them to him places a new perspective for our parenting–an eternal one. I get the enticing pull of the world to help our daughter be a Valedictorian, have exceptional skills and gifts that will allow her to be in successful in life, see her become a veterinarian, and enjoy a life full of great friendships. But the words of the Apostle Paul ring ever more true in my ears:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:7-10

This Bible passage exemplifies parenting with an eternal perspective. I would rather see my children lose the whole world and gain Christ. I pray that God would use Katie and I to guide our children to place their faith in King Jesus before it is eternally too late. And, that is my prayer for you too.

How to Die as a Christian

This blog post comes out of a sermon I preached on 7/25/2021 at First Baptist Church Spring Hope. -Jeremy Bell When is the last time you ever heard a sermon about dying well as a Christian? The chances are probably never, and I find this extremely odd. If the gospel is to be at the … Continue reading How to Die as a Christian

Think about Scripture while Singing in Corporate Worship Gatherings

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Psalm 100:1-2 The Psalmist shows us that singing exists as one important aspect of worshipping God. Psalm 100:2b asserts, “Come into his presence with singing!” Thus, singing should have a part to play in … Continue reading Think about Scripture while Singing in Corporate Worship Gatherings

Young Pastor, Practice the Spirit’s Fruit of Patience

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 Before coming on staff at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, I served as a Lead Pastor at a normative size church in South Carolina. Words cannot express all the lessons that I learned in this pastorate, … Continue reading Young Pastor, Practice the Spirit’s Fruit of Patience

Fathers: Lead Your Children by Example

Marine officers have a motto that they see each day when they attend The Basic School, ductus exemplo. This phrase translated in English means “Lead by Example.” This motto, I believe, should be adopted by every Christian father.

Have you ever heard the saying: More is caught than taught? The idea behind this phrase seems to imply leading others by example. As fathers, it is imperative that we not only instruct our children in the ways of the Lord, but also bring them up by modeling this instruction to them (cf. Eph 6:4). ‬‬Here are 4 ways Christian fathers can lead their children by example:

1) Model spiritual disciplines. You may or may not be surprised to learn that spiritual disciplines are probably not widely practiced by believers living in America. The statistics of believers reading through the entire Bible remains dismal. Fathers, we can be the agent of change. We have the ability to reverse the trajectory of spiritual disciplines if we would simply practice them ourselves. Our children need to see us praying, reading Scripture, and memorizing/meditating on Scripture. If you are regularly practicing spiritual disciplines, invite your children to sit in on this time with you to observe and ask questions. Children, especially boys, want to be like their dads, and as fathers who desire to be godly examples, we want our children to see our good habits, but more importantly our personal time with the Lord.

2) Prioritize worship. As a pastor, Mother’s Day has higher worship attendance over Father’s Day. Perhaps because many fathers would rather be on the golf course, on the lake, or just enjoying a relaxing day. God has given fathers an important role in the home. Paul explicitly calls out fathers in Ephesians 6:4 because of the spiritual leadership dads provide to their children (this is not to say that moms don’t have an important role or that this principle doesn’t apply to parenting on a broad level). The point Paul makes is that fathers will be held accountable for how they lead their children, and dads have an important role in their spiritual development. Therefore, we must make worship a priority in our lives because children are watching our every move. What we prioritize our children will also place a higher emphasis on in their lives. Fathers that make worship a priority will lead their children to do the same.

3) Show them evangelism. Fathers, we must model sharing the gospel to others in front of our children. They should see how we share Christ, and ways that we introduce Jesus into our conversations. All disciples have been given a mission, which has been called the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). As dads, we need to lead the charge in pointing people to Jesus. Our children need to see our Spirit-empowered boldness to proclaim Jesus with our friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else we meet. Prayerfully, this will lead our children to do the same with their friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else they meet. Fathers, we must lead by example in evangelism and model it for the young ones living in our homes.

4) Love their mom well. Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). We lead by example in how we love our wives, and in our love for their mom, we display the gospel to our children. We have an opportunity to show an imperfect love that represents the perfect love of Christ to his bride–the church. The church that he bought with his blood to make us clean from our sins. Fathers, the way we love their mom will teach our boys what a godly husband looks like, and show our girls what they should be looking for in a future spouse. In our example, we are pointing them to a prefect savior, Jesus Christ.

Biblical disclaimer: To be clear, you and I cannot lead by example if we don’t know Christ as Lord and Savior. You cannot lead if you are not first and foremost a follower of Jesus. While these may be great principles even for a non-believing father, you will be unable to lead by example if you have not first surrendered your life to Christ. The gospel gives fathers the ability to pursue God’s design as a Christian role-model to your children.

Ductus Exemplo-Lead by Example. Our children are not only listening to our words, but as Christian fathers, they are looking at our lives and actions. What are they seeing in us? Are we showing them a glimpse of the gospel’s changing power as they watch us? My prayer is that for all of the dads who read this post, they will be filled with the Holy Spirit to show our babies Christ in us. Through our godly example, may God open them to the truth of the gospel, and grow them into believers who will bring glory to Christ and advance his Kingdom when they leave our homes.


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How to Pray for #SBC21

This coming Tuesday and Wednesday registered messengers from all over will join together in Nashville, Tennessee for the annual Southern (Great Commission) Baptist Convention. For those unfamiliar with Baptist polity, this will be a well-attended business meeting. Reports indicate that approximately “20,000 messengers and guests” will be in attendance. I will be in attendance as … Continue reading How to Pray for #SBC21

Review of Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship by John MacArthur

This book could be considered by some to be outdated since it was written in 2013, but the Charismatic Movement remains a prevalent false theology that permeates society today. Renowned theologian, John MacArthur, has such concern for the unbiblical views of this movement that he decided to both confront the theology and leaders within this … Continue reading Review of Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship by John MacArthur