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Parents must direct children’s focus on God’s glory, Tripp says

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. (BP)–Children were created for worship and the task of the parent is to rivet their children’s hearts to the glory of God, author and speaker Tedd Tripp said July 15 at the 23rd annual Southern Baptist Founders Conference at Riverbend Community Church.

With myriad voices contending for the affections of children in contemporary culture, Tripp said parents regularly must tell and teach them about the infinitely glorious God. Tripp is the author of what many consider a classical book on parenting, “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.” The conference theme was “The Gospel and the Family.”

“We’ve got to help them to see that the most profound joys for which they are made are the joys of knowing and loving God,” he said.

“Their deceitful hearts will tell them that delight and life and joy is found in other places and your task, both formally and informally, both rising and sitting and walking along the way, in all the times of life, is to hold out to them the glories and wonders of this God for whom they are made.”

God creates people to worship Him, so children are “instinctive and compulsive worshipers,” he said. As Romans 1:25 makes clear, he said, children, like all people, either will worship created things or their Creator. Tripp said parents must give them a clear picture of a God whom Scripture depicts as a glorious sovereign who alone satisfies the hunger of the human heart.

Raising children upon a foundation of the glory of God will insulate them from worshiping the idols of contemporary culture because God is infinitely more glorious than any created thing, he said.

“[Parents must] help them to realize that the pleasures of this world are fleeting and are utterly unworthy of your heart’s devotion,” Tripp said. “But there is this God who is glorious, who is marvelous, who satisfies the human soul, and He is the one we are made for and He is the one in whom we will find delight.

“It is delight in God that awakens in the soul a hunger for true beauty, and that hunger can only be satisfied in knowing and loving God. At the same time, it joyfully rebukes everything in life that competes with God. It is only the heart that is riveted to the joys of beholding the power and glory and beauty of God that will be inoculated against the noisy, dazzling demands of a world system that is perishing.”

Why is pointing children to the glory of God vitally important? Tripp made several points:

— Viewing all of life through the lens of the glory of God enables children to interpret facts and circumstances properly.

— All the joys and lasting pleasures are found in God. Only pleasure in God will last eternally.

— Parents are tempted to feed and polish the idols of their children’s hearts. Instead, parents should tear down the idols and build their children’s lives upon a foundation of God’s glory.

— If children are to be dazzled with the greatness of God, parents themselves must be dazzled by it. “You cannot give away what you do not have,” Tripp said.

— Children can understand the glory of God despite all the distractions of the modern-day culture. Modern-day parents can tend to believe that the things of God cannot compete with all the fast-moving glitz of contemporary media, but the glory of God will capture their imagination and heart in a way other things will not, he said.

Contemporary evangelicalism has reduced the Gospel to a “punch my ticket to heaven” mentality, Tripp said, adding that today’s popular Gospel is centered on man and not the glory of God. Parents must bequeath to their children a more glorious — and more biblical — Gospel, he said.

“We’ve got it all upside down,” Tripp said. “The heart of the Gospel is not that man gets to go to heaven when he dies. The heart of the Gospel is there is this glorious God who is jealous for His own glory.

“We’ve got it all wrong if we think it is about man. The wonder is that God has made terms of peace by which rebellious men might be reconciled to this glorious God and live for His glory. The heart of the Gospel is a God who is glorious…. A proclamation of salvation is the proclamation of the glory of God.”

In Matthew 13, Tripp said, Christ tells a parable of a man who sold everything to buy a field that contained hidden treasure. Parents must labor by God’s grace to see to it that their children treasure Christ above all else, he said.

“That [the parable of the hidden treasure] is what the kingdom of heaven is like,” he said. “Until your children are persuaded that God is glorious, that Jesus Christ is glorious, that He is marvelous, that He is excellent beyond describing, that nothing in life matters [and they are willing to say] ‘I will put it all up for sale, I must have God no matter what it costs,’ until they come to that conclusion, they will never truly know God and love God and serve God.

“They might play church. They might be teen VBS helpers. They might go on teen mission trips, but until they are persuaded [that they] must have God no matter what it costs, they will never know Him and love Him and serve Him. Your job every day that your children live in your home is to hold out to them the one true object of worship.”

Founders is an organization founded in 1982 for the perpetuation of historic Calvinistic doctrines within the Southern Baptist Convention often referred to as “the doctrines of grace.”

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  • Jeff Robinson

    Jeff Robinson is director of news and information at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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