Now that we’ve de-complicated and defined discipleship (“transferring truth & love through relationship”), we need to discuss desire. We must explore the motive that drives our imperfect parenting/discipling. Many motives will fail us, but there is one motive that will not.
Motives matter. What is your deepest motivation for discipling your kids? I’ve observed a number of sub-optimal motivations both in other parents and in my own heart. Here are a few of them:
-GUILT. We feel guilty over our performance as parents, which motivates us to do a better job in the future.
-FEAR. We fear the culture around us and how our kids will turn out, which motivates us to double down on our discipleship.
-DUTY. We believe it is our duty to disciple our sons and daughters, so out of a demanding sense of “should” we do our duty.
Guilt, fear, and duty are reactive, sub-biblical motives that will eventually run out of energy and produce the result of kids who follow Jesus for the same lame reasons you taught them to follow Jesus: guilt, fear, and duty.
Desire is the one motive that powers biblical, healthy, sustainable discipleship. Do you desire, do you want to, follow Jesus and imperfectly disciple your kids in this same direction? Great! Then you’re off to a great start. Desire will out-power and outperform guilt, fear, and duty 100% of the time. By God’s grace you’ll transfer to your kids a Jesus relationship, a Jesus love, energized by desire.
Do you not desire to follow Jesus and disciple your kids? Are different motives driving you? Then pause here. You have some searching, repenting, healing, and desiring to do. Spend time with the question Jesus asked his first disciples, “What do you want?” (John 1:38). May this question, this search, eventually lead to a heart that sheds duty in exchange for a desire-driven adventure of imperfect discipleship.