“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
That word: Ambassador.
It jumped out at me when I was working through my Sermon on the Mount study recently. I was reading about being peacemakers when the Precept study took us to these verses from Second Corinthians. Of course, my mind went to parenting like it has time and time again since I started this study in August.
So I was dwelling on the fact I’m a representative of Christ to my children as I went about my day, which in all honesty was a hard one. Disappointments and inconveniences filled that day.
While waiting for my kids at the bus stop later that same day, I finally opened “Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family” by Paul David Tripp because I had said I would read and review it on my blog. The deadline was approaching and I needed to get started.
AMBASSADOR. It was the first word in the whole book, the title of the introduction. That same word showed up and broke me. Four pages in, and I was crying. I was grieving and dealing with conviction and rejoicing with hope.
I couldn’t even finish the introduction in that sitting because I had to digest this more: By kids don’t belong to me, but I’m Christ’s ambassador to them. I know, it’s probably not even a new concept to most Christ-followers, but it was striking me in a fresh way I still can’t shake.
Because of my emotions and revelations, I needed a couple days to get through the introduction of “Parenting,” but the shift in perspective was exactly what I’ve needed to be a better wife and mom. It’s really good stuff.
Tripp starts the book writing about the differences between ownership and ambassadorial parenting. Basically, our human default is to treat our families as possessions. It doesn’t seem bad because we talk about the good things we want for and from our children. We talk about goals and hopes and dreams we have for these people we love. But we get really caught up in producing those things by ourselves.
We leave out the One who truly creates families. Ambassadors faithfully represents the message, methods and character of another leader – in our case, Jesus.
I don’t own my family, but I can represent Christ to them.
“Parenting is not first about what we want for our children or from our children, but about what God in grace has planned to do through us in our children.”
– Paul David Tripp
Y’all, this concept is rocking my world. In a matter of days, it’s made my life harder and easier in the same moment. It’s give me a focus and convicted my heart. It’s slowed me down and helped me see beyond the daily frustrations of dirty floors and a never-ending to do list.
And, admittedly, it’s interrupted my finishing Tripp’s book. I’ve since read a few more chapters, but I keep coming back to that introduction about how I’m an ambassador of Christ to my kids.
About the book
In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining 14 foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God — grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.
Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.
This 224-page hardcover book was published by Crossway (Sept. 30, 2016).
About the author
Paul David Tripp (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is also the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and the executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. He has written a number of popular books on Christian living, including “What Did You Expect?,” “Dangerous Calling,” and “New Morning Mercies.” He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Luella and they have four grown children. For more information and resources, visit paultrippministries.org.
I told you I haven’t actually finished the book because this is one I’ve got to take slow, but I have no doubt I’m going to be challenged and encouraged more throughout the pages. And I’m happy I get to give one of you a copy too. This giveaway will be open through Wednesday, Nov. 2 to U.S. and Canadian residents. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win.