The other day my eight year old ask me if something was “Jesusly”. After the second take on the word I discovered that she had created the Christ-centered version of Godly. “You know daddy, something is Jesusly when it is like him and he likes it.” Wow, from the mouth of babes.
Recently we have been struggling with schedules, school and a few behavior issues with our son who is doing 300 percent better over the last month – we are thankful for God’s grace to us and him in this season. As a parent, I find myself sitting down at night pondering my day and whether or not I have been ‘Jesusly’ in my actions, words and attitude. Considering the promise of Solomon’s wisdom, “Train a child in the way he should go and even when he is older he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 should make every parent shake in their shoes. Parenting should evoke fear above all things in our hearts and minds and here is why:
One main thing that we don’t consider in this verse is what is being taught. Solomon assumes the reader understands what and how to teach children “in the way he SHOULD go”. This is a complete misnomer in so many ways. Most of us consider teaching children to love church and love God and love the Bible is all that is right in righteousness – fools we have become. What does love have to do with it and what is the difference in loving Jesus and loving the dog? The difference in our love for Jesus is that we can place our trust in him and so should our children.
However, they will not learn to trust Christ by being told to do so or by having regular church attendance or learning a ton of bible verses. Children will learn the “way they should go” by how they see the “way we go” as their parents. It’s not what is being said or instructed, especially the prime obedience factor that so often we require that is not found at all in the bible, but rather the issue of belief which is intrinsic and foundational at the heart of trust. This is only going to be ‘seen’ in our lives as parents.
When we ‘believe’ IN Christ as parents our lives follow. Faith is being SURE of something – that something is HOPE alone in Christ in ALL THINGS. Do we hold to that belief? Do we teach this to our children? I argue today that our children are learning and that when they are older they will not depart from whatever they have learned. So in essence we are teaching our children, but is it truly what we should be teaching. OK, Exegetical error in tact, but this is a thought that came to mind from this passage in Proverbs. God has brought to mind a few things that I need to look at in my life as daddy.
Consider Integrity – Am I the person I should be every step of the way? Do I show my children that I am honest, concerned with being TRUE to who I say that I am? Do they hear me say I follow Christ then see me fulfill the desires of my flesh and the passions of this world? Are they learning that being TRUE means to love God and do what is right even if it goes against what is popular?
When it comes to being right, am I willing to lay down my will for the Glory of the Cross even when I have a case and reason to be offended? Are my children seeing me dependent upon Christ as my all and full-sufficiency or do they see me have the answers in my mind, flesh and with my plans?
Is the truth of my faith something to be seen in my soul or is it something that I discuss and teach with my mind and mouth? Are my children learning that Christ is the reason for the breath in my body and that even when I make mistakes I am honest about sin in my life? Am I the father that allows my children to see me broken over sin and over the condition of my heart? Do I teach them that I trust in Christ by continually seeking his face in times of failure and need?
God forgive us as parents or being liars to our children. Forgive us for being hypocrites by saying trust but giving the world your title. Forgive us of our sin-focused greed and self-serving mind and allow us to be humble before you so that our children will be taught the ‘way they should go.’
Consider Accomplishment – Am I the father who teaches my children that they should seek after the success of this world and that true belief in Christ means to be honest as you climb your way to the top of the world’s best? Am I the father that teaches my children that all that I have done in this world rests on the pile of trash in a temporal bin of refuse and that the only eternal and lasting accomplishment is Christ’s work in me?
God forgive us as parents for teaching our children that life is about what we can do for us and our family in the way of giving stuff and pride and esteem of others. Forgive us for seeking the approval of men and our bosses and the self-serving back pats that create in us a false sense of worth and a hope in something bigger than ourselves but just as short-minded. God, help us to show our children that the truth in success is failure to the flesh and its desires. That we could teach our children that sacrifice is the fruit of success in the eyes of God. That Jesus was God and took the punishment of the cross in silence and that now He is exalted above all things!
God forgive us as parents for teaching our children about the hope of this world by example but telling them to trust in Jesus as we grab the brass rings of secularism and then feel special because we matter to someone else. Are we able to look into our children’s eyes and truly care about them by this ‘learning’ model that we live? God, we express our need in you to protect us from sin so that our children can see our dependence and trust in you!
Donald Gets Drafted release Consider Attitude – “Don’t bother me right now, can’t you see that I’m in a bad mood?” “Look what you’ve made me do!” “How can you treat me this way, you have ruined…” “If those people would do or say, then I wouldn’t have to…” It’s amazing how we as parents are able to pass the blame on to others for our attitudes and then teach our children that they are responsible for their actions and attitudes.
Am I the father who will show patience in the midst of pain, suffering and persecution or will I call in the ‘heavies’ to take care of business and prove my point? Am I the father that will lay down his life for the unlovable and give to the greedy or will I surrender to my own selfish service and protect what is mine? Are we that lost that we think our children will be any different than us? God forgive us of our attitudes, our motives and our evil, stupid blame when we fail to believe truly in you. Do I show my children my faith? Are they able to see that I trust in Christ enough to be controlled by the spirit or do they see me responding and reacting to my whims and pains in unbelief? Am I teaching my children to trust Jesus by example or am I showing them that unbelief is the norm and that sin will rule them? God forgive us for not being parents of faith. People who truly trust and believe enough in the power of the Gospel that it changes our lives from the inside out. Forgive us for not being controlled by the spirit but yielding to the unbelief in our minds when times are tough. God, help us to teach our children by them seeing You in us. (Gal 5:22) Help us to be Christ to them in all that we do.
Finally, I want to be the father who shows my children that everything I have and accomplish is a pile of trash compared the treasure of knowing Christ as my King! May we truly show our children and ‘teach the way they should go’ so that they will be suffering saints in a world of temporal hope and short-minded peace. May our children grow up in reverent fear and complete adoration for Christ so that they will deliver themselves to the foot of the cross in complete submission to God’s plan for their lives. May we as parents take the concern and time to truly examine ourselves so that we don’t lose any more precious time teaching the ‘wrong’ way to our children.
May we teach our children that God’s will for their lives is to suffer for His name sake and that when its all said and done that a legacy is built on nothing less than Christ alone, for His glory and for eternity. If nothing else, let’s teach our children that all the things of this world will pass away and that He who is exalted above all creation will rule the new world that is reconciled to God through Grace. May our children grow old after serving and living for Christ for many years that the world would see the suffering of Christ complete in their lives as they imitate ours.
What is left to be said? Much more. My prayer is that we can be ‘teachers’ with our lives and our children would see Christ in us and not us in this world living for our own pleasure and purpose. May we lay down our arms and surrender our rebellion to the Gospel that changes lives and truly lives as parents of faith that trust in Christ. May the power of Christ rest on us as parents that we might be successful in all we do for the Glory of God!
I want to be the father whose children say, “My dad was Jesusly in all he did.” This is a legacy, this is a life of purpose. Nothing else I do will ever impact the world as this. May God please give me the grace to be a dad worth watching.