So, I realized that to tell my children to "be good" was an impossible thing for them...they could never be good enough...and to tell them to "just behave" would never get to their real needs or explain truth to them....so the gospel was my only hope as a mother in charge of 2 almost 3 little ones....where would I begin?
What does the gospel say? We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 so one thing i would need to instruct my kids was that they were sinners. They don't know this. They learn it as the "law or rules" in our home show them that they are rebellious. Just as the law of God is used in one sense to show us that we are sinners. It also acts as a tutor to help them understand their need for Christ.
"What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Christ) to whom the promise referred had come......But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe....So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith"
I realized that to train my children "with the gospel" was not really a matter of "how to's" (though the "how's" would come about) but a matter of deep truth that I must understand and view them through, in order to train them up in the Lord and for the Lord.
When I see my children and their rebellion, I have to view it through the "gospel lens". When Sally does not obey what I have commanded her to do, it is because of her sinful heart...always. The bible also refers to it as "foolishness". Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. I am to train my children in the wisdom of God. And to understand your child's foolishness is wisdom.
I can teach my children how to behave correctly...and I do...but I can't expect them to be without sin...to always comply. My instruction and our spankings are to show them that they are sinners and actually can't ever be good enough. My instructions or spankings will never remove the sin in my child's heart. It simply "curbs evil"...helps lessen it or corral it to the side, if you will, until Christ comes forth and washes their sin away....and gives them new life by grace through faith in Him alone.
so rather than getting embarrassed at the grocery store when Wesley Grant throws a toy in the face of an old lady because he doesn't want to talk to her...(heavens!!) or get aggravated at Sally when she has not done what I asked her to do after the 80th spanking and the 85th time I've instructed her....i have to adjust my perspective and see that those are simply eternal opportunities to bring forth instruction and the rod to tutor my children towards Christ. I'm just "curbing evil" until the spirit opens their eyes and ears to see their sin and need for Christ.
So, one thing is that they are sinners...and they sin...the next thing would begin to change my own understanding of myself...that it is more about the "roots" rather than the "fruit"...more later..