If I told you I sing praise songs about how awesome my boys are or that I get down on my knees each night and bow down to them, would think I had lost it? I sure hope so. Yet we have become a society that does just that in a variety of other ways, not as obvious but just as destructive to you and to them.
There is a message I keep seeing being shared on Facebook about a parent’s love for their children. It says that everything the parent does is for their child and that he or she is what life is all about. What a load of trash! If you live for your child what a superficial, unsatisfying life you lead.
Are we to sacrifice for our children? Yes. Are we to love and nurture our children to the best of our ability? Of course. But never worship them. God has a special name for this, maybe you have heard it before, it’s called idol worship and he was pretty serious about it even from the beginning. Does commandment #1 ring a bell, as in, “You shall have no other god before me.”? Exodus 20:3
When we orient our lives around our children we put them in a place where only God should go. Is God okay with these little cuties taking his place on the throne of your heart? Get real. Keep yourself in check, even sincere Christ followers often fall prey to this mentality. It may be the most socially acceptable and even applauded sin in modern society.
Here is what God’s word has to say about a depraved group that he was done with, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Romans 1:24-25
When we place our children higher than we ought (pedestal, stage or soapbox) or serve them as if their desires are our commands, we have bought the lie and dishonored God. We begin to move our life’s spotlight off of our Savior and onto a small creature who has no power (except for the imagined power we attribute to him or her). The exchange in the verse above has taken place. It is absurd and disturbing, like saying, “No, thank you Potter, I don’t need you, I will take this little lump of clay and worship it instead.”
What a disservice we do to our children in this. In our vain attempts to love them by praise and bending to their whims we distort their thoughts of God and cause them to become confused in their identity. We train them up to be glory-thieves, claiming the attention due the Almighty. No wonder we often raise selfish, prideful adults who think they have the power to determine who God is for themselves.
We need to love our children enough to not praise them. My goodness cheer for them in sports and drama, encourage them in working hard, tell them Good job! when they excel. BUT give the praise to the God that grants them these gifts and created them to thrive as they do. Make your children know that it is God working through them to display his greatness and that there is nothing better than being a conduit of God’s power. Teach them to look heavenward and not inward for strength and wisdom.
We as parents serve the purpose of being a human arrow for our children, always pointing up to our Creator and praising him. Seeing in each other the attributes the Potter has especially designed for each of us, but remembering to rejoice in the greatness of the Potter and not the clay. In a home that does this there is happiness and many reasons to celebrate.
Ladies, the next time you look at your child, see the evidence of an awesome and praise-worthy Creator. Know that the life of your son or daughter was created for the glory of God alone and there is no better purpose.
Ladies, it is high time I introduce you to my grandma June, my mother’s mother to be exact. There is so much I want to tell you about her as she was quite the lady. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as I write about her this month and how she lived out her love for Jesus.
I think of my grandma June when I read what Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure dwells in you as well.” Grandma June is my Lois so to speak and I see the linking of faith through our generations. Faith in Christ cannot be inherited like blue eyes or big noses, but it sure can be taught and witnessed as it is lived out.
Let me draw you a quick picture of my grandma June to help you better understand her. Grandma June grew up in poverty with many brothers and sisters during the years of the Great Depression. I remember stories of eating orange peels that were thrown out as trash alongside the roadside. Her first husband fought in WWII and came home a different man. He had met someone else and left June on her own with three young children to raise. She worked hard as a nurse at the Veterans Hospital to support them.
Grandma June as I knew her was short and plump and fashion was way low on her priority list. She was not a delicate flower and if I called her that she would laugh at me. She loved family and telling stories and had an ornery streak about her.
Grandma June gave big, tight, busty hugs and talked of smothering when it was hot out (they had no AC). She canned a lot, was thrifty and loved to give tube socks as Christmas gifts (oh so many years of tube socks!). She made pies better and faster than anyone I have ever known. She had a big garden and grew… so… many… tomatoes. She carried a huge purse that weighed more than I did and she kept large quantities of tissues in her bra for whenever she or anyone else might need one.
My grandma lived through many trying years; you may think she would be a little bitter or even angry. Yet, she was quite the opposite. Grandma June was full of the joy of the Lord. I have never seen someone so in love with Jesus as that woman. She lived out Nehemiah 8:10, “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
She would often suddenly break into singing hymns, all of which she knew by heart. Or she would out of nowhere begin to recite memorized portions of scripture. Sometimes I would just hear her utter the name of Jesus over and over as she thought on him. It was obvious that during her years of struggle she had learned to hold fast to God and to trust in him to take care of her.
Her smile was never just a smile, it was a barely contained laugh ready to burst out. To know June was to know the joy of Christ. She hid nothing about her relationship with Jesus and told others about him as often as she could and as much as they allowed her to. She prayed for those in need and shared the burdens of others. Wow, how she prayed.
“Glamorous” would not describe Grandma June as you can clearly see from what I have shared, but she was certainly glorious to me. The treasure of Jesus shined out of her like no one else I have ever known. She was a living example of Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” And one of my favorites, 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” Grandma June was not concerned with appearances, fashion or staying ahead of the crowd, she would gladly boast of her weaknesses if Christ could shine through them.
In this modern society, even today’s modern church, we often confuse glamour for glory. We gladly assume the appearance of knowledge of Jesus instead of the glory of living a life sold out and madly in love with him. Don’t shoot for your religion to be socially acceptable or comfortable for others. Aim to passionately serve the Lord whole heartedly no matter what that looks like.
Grandma June left a legacy of faith behind for her family to remember. Do the same in your life, teach future generations to love and follow the Lord. Teach them by living it out yourself.