by Neil Anderson
Galatians 5:22, 23
The fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control
More times than not, the need to control our children comes from the false belief that our identity and worth derives from how well our children behave. Think it through: If your worth comes from something outside yourself, your tendency is to control the people and factors on which your worth is based. Look at sick dictators like Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein who control their subjects through ruthless force and intimidation. But there is no one more insecure than a controller, because he labors under the false belief that the external affairs of this world are determining who he is, not God and his response to Him. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:23), not child- or spouse-control.
If your identity is in Christ and your heart is set on being the person God wants you to be, nobody can block that goal but you. “But what if my child rebels?” you ask. Your child can’t stop you from being the father or mother God wants you to be. Only you can do that. In reality, during a crisis of rebellion, your child and your spouse need you to be the parent God wants you to be more than ever.
Massive research has shown that the best children come from parents who love their children and manage their behavior. The worst children come from loveless controllers. The second best children are raised by permissive parents who love unconditionally.
Here’s the point: You may not always be able to control your child, but based on your position and character in Christ, you can always love him. Loving your child is dependent only on you and your response to God. Controlling him is somewhat dependent on the cooperation of your child. Your identity and security in Christ do not depend on things you have no right or ability to control.
Prayer: Lord, continue to mature me as a loving parent and keep me from trying to control my children from selfish motives.