Monday, April 4, 2011

A Parent's Purpose

I work part time in a ministry so I often get the chance to talk to people about Christ. What I have learned from this is that many people don’t know exactly what that means. Many people assume they are a Christian because they went to a Christian church when they were little, because their parents are Christians, or even because they go to church and believe in God.

I heard a powerful message at church yesterday about parenting and it had both Brian and I examining our own parenting and refocusing on our goals. If you had asked me Saturday what my greatest desire for my children would be I would have told you that it was “for them to know Jesus”.

Not anymore.

There are a couple of verses I have been thinking about. Here is one of those verses:

"On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’" - Matthew 7:22-23

So, no, my greatest goal for my children is not for my children to know Jesus. Its for Jesus to know them. That when they stand before God He will not judge them as frauds, or cultural Christians, or hypocrites; that He wouldn’t be able to say that they used Him to make themselves more important or used Him as an accessory to a life full of other “nice” things.

My greatest goal for my children is that when they get to heaven, Christ will look at them and say “that one belongs to Me. He is mine- or she is Mine”. That they will not use Him to make themselves look important, but that they will use their lives to show His importance.

So, no, sweet children, I am not overly concerned that you are unhappy with my decisions all the time. In fact, that is my first clue that I might be doing something right.

And no, darling, I don’t care that everyone else is doing it because I am accountable for being a parent to you and I am not prepared to answer for what “everyone else is doing”.

And yes, I am very proud that you learned all your verses in AWANA. But I am going to want to see you apply that to your life. I want to see you practice kindness and obey your Dad and I because I know that you can’t impress God with your works and you desperately need His grace.

And most of all, PLEASE don’t tell me that you "want to do big things for God"- because this is not about you- its about Him. Just surrender to Him every day and whatever fruit comes out of that is His and His alone.

And what would I say to myself? No, you can’t let up or give in. Being inadequate isn’t a good enough excuse because God isn’t interested in excuses- only replacements. So today, I must get out of the way and let Him do what I can’t. I don’t know how to lead children, teach children, or raise up Godly young men and women. So, my only hope is to surrender to the One who knows how and has done so time and time again.

So if you are a parent and you are tired, don’t give up, or give in, and don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers. I have looked through the Bible and it appears the only kind of person God ever used was the inadequate kind. So, being inadequate is the very thing that qualifies us to be good parents- if we surrender.

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9