Parental Ambassadors

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

 

We continue looking at the subject of Christian Parenting. For so many parents the plea is to get their children to listen and obey. Our concern is focused on the outward behavior of our children. This is especially true when you are at the grocery store or heaven forbid you took your child to Walmart. In these places something comes out of your child that can only be described in the movie, The Exorcism. At that moment something is being revealed about your child. They are a worshiper. You read that right. Your child is a worshiper. Every human being is a worshiper, we worship something in our hearts. For our children and for many of us, we worship the god of self. We long to be our own god and to dictate how we are to live our own lives. This is true when your child is screaming at the top of their lungs in the checkout line for that toy that will break, or for that candy bar, your child is participating in an act of worship.

 

Paul, writing to the church in Corinth says that he is an ambassador for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. As parents, you must see yourself in a very similar role. That first you have experienced the grace of God. That your heart has been reconciled to God. Parent’s will not be able to properly show grace to their children if they have not experienced grace themselves. So, mom, dad, be reconciled to God. Go to Him and confess your sins, believe in Him and find rest for your soul.

 

Your child is part of your mission from God. They are in your care to be raised in the knowledge of the Lord. The first part of this is helping them to see their own false worship, their own sin. This is a rather difficult conversation to have with a two-year-old, but one that we will constantly have as parents. You will lead them to begin to see their selfishness, their worship of self and idol of self. Your responsibility is not to give them the feelings of conviction, that is the Lord’s job. You will help them see their sin, and when God begins to do a work in them, you help them to see where they can run to with their sin. That God wants them to repent of their idol of self and be reconciled to Him through the cross of Christ. God has placed you in their lives to be that ambassador. To help them see their need for a savior, we are to be faithful to that calling, and to model repentance to our children.

Parental Calling

Often the term “calling” doesn’t come alongside parenting. We don’t view being a parent as a calling from God. For many parents the goal is to simply make it to the next day, to keep the kids fed, and to hopefully be alive at the end of the day. My proposal is that we should look at our parenting with a different set of lenses. To be a parent is to be called by God. A mission has been given to you as a parent.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV “4“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

In this scripture there are a few action responses that must be taken into consideration when it comes to parenting.

  1. The Lord our God is One. As parents and as Christians, we must have a proper understanding of who God is. To understand proper Christian Doctrine of the Lord. God is One, yet He exists in Three Persons. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity is one that is complex, yet vital to the Christian Faith. As parents we must have a proper understanding of Christian teachings.
  2. Love the Lord your God. The writer tells us to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might. Conveying to the reader to love God with all of your being. That your life should be in complete submission to God. No part of your heart, your life, your being does God not lay claim too. Christians are called to live in full submission to the Lord. That every aspect of their lives is in full obedience to God. We can not claim part of our lives for our own, we have been purchased fully with a price.
  3. Know the Word of God. Take time to spend time in God’s Word. Know His laws, His commands, His revealed redemptive history. Christians and Christian Parents must take the time to spend in God’s Word. Through God’s Word it is revealed to us who God is, His Character, and the redemptive work of Christ.
  4. Teach them diligently to your children. God commands parents to teach the Word of God to our children. The role of the parent is to convey the Word to their children, to point them to the Lord. For many parents this comes at a great struggle. I’ve heard so often, I’m not a seminary student, I’m not a pastor, I’m not a Bible scholar, I’m not able. God doesn’t call the able, He calls you. In a later blog we will talk about having Gospel conversations with your children, but for now, teach them what you know. Read scripture with them, help them to see God’s Word.As parents, this is never easy. It takes effort, it takes work, it takes being intentional. This is our calling as parents from God. He has tasked you with the discipleship of your children. You are the biggest influence on your children’s spiritual journey, it is not meant to be taken lightly.

Parental Identity

Who am I? Where do I find value? These are two questions that we must ask ourselves. Especially true when it comes to being a parent. For many parents, their identity is wrapped up completely in the performance, behavior, and success of their child. Go to any ball field or any after school club and you are bound to see the parents that find their identity in the child’s performance. When they score a goal, the parent’s erupt in cheer, when the ref makes a bad call, the parent has to be held back from trying to physically harm the referee. This identity is one that is bound to crumble and fall.

First, your children are not capable of bearing that type of weight. Their shoulders were not meant to carry around with them your identity crisis and unrealistic expectations of performance, no one is for that matter. Children are trying to work out their own understanding of God, the world, and just getting good grades for that matter. To try and add, live up to parents’ unrealistic expectations for their personal identity crisis should not be high on their priority list.

The place that parents, and everyone for that matter, need to find their identity is in the One who gave them identity in the first place. When we find our identity in creation rather than the Creator, we are bound to have an identity crisis. Creation was never meant to give identity, rather to point to the one that does. Look at 2 Peter 1:3-4 “3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, 4by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

We have been called by God and given power to participate in Him. That through His promises you can be partakers of his divine nature, and I love the last part, escape the corruption of the world, in other words, escape the identity in the world. Mom, Dad, Grandparent, caretaker, your identity can only be found in Christ alone. He is the one that gives you the identity as child of God. He says come to Him in Matthew 11:28-30, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,]by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 

This is where we find our identity as parents. When Little Johnny strikes out or the referee makes a bad call, your identity is not found in the performance of Little Johnny. Little Johnny gets to wrestle with failure without the weight of your identity on him. He learns to trust in his own identity and not try to perform and carry yours.

Jesus: Holy God

In Acts 5 there is a story of a couple that come to give an offering to the Lord. Though they come and lie about the offering to the Apostles. Because of this mistake it cost them their life, not because they lied to men, but because they made a mockery of the Lord. They allowed their pride to overcome the holiness of the Lord in their lives. When they could have simply said we are giving a portion of the profit rather than the entire thing, since as Peter said to them, it was yours to do with as you pleased. Rather, they lied about the amount to be seen. Reading this story should remind us that first, God is Holy. When we sin, we do not offend men, rather we offend a Holy and Righteous God. David echoes this truth in Psalm 51 when he states, “Against You only have I sinned.” Sin is against a Holy God. Secondly, sin costs life. In Genesis when God tells Adam to not eat of the tree, He tells him that sin will ultimately cost him his life. Sin always cost something, someone has to pay, for believers, it cost Christ His life.

 

Application thoughts: How are you robbing the Lord of what you’ve promised? Do you think too lightly of your sin? Take this time to pray and repent as David did.

Jesus: Our Conerstone

In Acts 4 we see Peter and John standing before the council. At this council they are asked to basically explain themselves, to explain how they were able to heal a man that was lame. “By what power or what name did you do this?” This question sets up an understanding, there is power in a name. In Roman rule and today, a name carried weight. We see it when people “name drop” or when they speak on behalf of someone influential. “By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead- by him this man is standing before you well.” That name was Jesus Christ, you remember Him right? He was the one that you crucified and then God raised Him from the dead. You remember right?

Upon this statement we get a powerful statement that would have resinated with these leaders very well. “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation is no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The builders, those teachers and leaders of the people, were to build upon Christ. This stone which they were to build on was the stone that they rejected. They built upon something else, but God built upon this stone. This stone has become the chief cornerstone. For there is no other name to build upon. There is no other name given to men where we must be saved. There is no other name to build upon, Christ alone.

Have you trusted upon the name of Christ? Are you building upon another rock?

Break Away

For the past month I have taken a break from social media. Though I have missed some of the latest discussion on issues in our culture, missed the latest dumb teen challenge, as well as another viral video. Here’s the secret, I didn’t really miss it. In terms of not experiencing those things, I’m truly ok with. So much of the past few years has been looking at endless feeds, concerned with issues I have no control over, as well as missing out on things that I didn’t want to miss. It’s time for this generation to take back our lives. Time to take back the events that are worth remembering, and I don’t mean for a social feed.

Thought of the day.

Recently I have been listening to podcasts from various different perspectives on society, parenting, technology, even handwriting… I am coming to many conclusions on what is going on in the direction of our current western culture and the climate to which my children will grow up in. I can honestly say that I do not like where it is going. Now listen, I am not saying this because of some sort of conservative nor liberal agenda, I say this because we are losing our backbone. Today if you disagree with someone you tell them on the false security of the internet. The face to face conversation with those of opposing views doesn’t happen, rather we find people who think like us, look like us, and want the same things that we do in order to have non-confrontational conversations. If we want to disagree with someone, we do it on the internet. Lately I have been making some experiments with folks to purposefully disagree with them to their face to see how they respond. Almost 100% of them gave up their side to agree with me on the most outlandish of claims. Friends, we have to restore healthy conflict in face to face dialogue. I don’t have that answer, but I am trying to help my children to think on their feet, not to have to go to facebook or twitter to disagree with someone.