The Submissional Life // Matt Tebbe

living in submission, leading from below, loving as mission

Parenting the Heart – Learning to Parent from the Father

Two times the Father speaks audibly to the Son, each before the Son was to endure great suffering (Baptism – Matt 3, Mount of Transfiguration – Matt 17), both times saying the same thing. Did he give him a pep talk? Threaten him with punishment if he flinched? Tell him to “man up” and “not act like a sissy”? Did he dangle the the implications of his failure before him as leverage to motivate obedience? Did he preach a sermon on the Father’s sovereignty and holiness and how, if Jesus failed, he would have to reject him because of his inability to look on imperfection? Read, again, how the Father parents the Son:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3.16f

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

Matthew 17.5

No- both times the Father spoke words of identity (You are my son) and love (whom I love) and grace (with you I am well pleased). The second time he added authority (listen to him). At the most crucial times in Jesus’ life – when he would ‘learn obedience through what he suffered’ and would be assaulted and attacked by Satan, sweat blood, and endure all the schemes of hell and power of man – the Father parented Jesus by speaking words of vision, empowerment, and blessing. The Father trusted the gift of his own love – and the identity and authority that came with that gift – as sufficient motivation for obedience. 

Can we – mere humans – learn how to parent our children from God the Father? 

I say, yes, we can; In fact, we must if we are to raise children who grow up to become loving, free, confident adults.

But many of us don’t. Instead of parenting the way God the Father parents the Son, we experience a different God: a harsh, distant, demanding, disappointed, shaming, angry God. But is this how God is towards us? Those of us in Christ Jesus have been adopted as children of God. We have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. All Christ has is ours – not just his righteousness but also his inheritance, his kingdom, his authority, his power. The Father longs to parent us as he parented his son. Speaking words of Vision, Identity, Love, Pleasure, Empowerment.

Here’s my theory: How we experience God parenting us is how we will parent our children. 

So – you want to become a better parent? Become aware of how you hear the Father’s voice in your life? How does God parent you? Do you hear condemnation? Judgment? Pressure to perform? Guilt and Shame? Or do you hear identity, pleasure, and that God believes in you! It’s so scandalous and brutally un-human to hear the Father speak that way. Do you trust that the Father parents you in the same way he parented his Son, Jesus? Dare to believe it, friends. Dare to believe.


In the next post I’d like to describe some of our temptations as parents to parent our kids badness (i.e. behavior modification) rather than parenting our kids to trust us with their badness (i.e. identity transformation). But first:


How do you see God parenting you? 

Do you see this reflected in your parenting?

Categorized: Authority, Covenant and Kingdom, Love, Obedience, Parenting Tags:Tags: , , , ,