Lately, many who have the life spotlight have been doing some wicked things. It can make you embarrassed to be American, or even human! When you look at the actions of some, it can really make you look down on them; and raise your own self up a bit. Yes, you have to be raising you up if they are suddenly beneath you.
It points out a truth about who we each are. I’ll talk about me. You see, I haven’t killed anyone; spoken with ill regard of anyone publicly; stolen anything; wished anyone dead; abused any child; mistreated anyone because of their ethnicity; etc. etc. etc. So, unlike those people I read about or see on the TV screen, I am righteous! Right?!?! WRONG!
Truth is, only God knows why I refrain from what I refrain from and only God knows the things I do that none of you see. My mind knows the blessing of trusting God completely and submitting to Him in all things; but my heart without the leading of the Lord is just self serving even when my desire is to be good! My hope lies in the actions and love of my King. He searches my heart and knows my true desires; He is faithful to see if there is any evil in my heart and His mercy and grace are powerful and can be counted upon to always lead me in the everlasting way.
I’m ever grateful that I have learned not to depend upon man – not even myself – to do the right thing. I depend upon the Holy Spirit in me to bring about in my life what The Lord wills to be so. Even when it seems that I’ve done a good thing, the truth is that it is only the work of the Holy Spirit in me. Search me, O God! Lead me, O God! Omnipresent God – my soul hides in You!
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10
I have been a mom for 24 years – I still remember well finding out I was pregnant with Joe. Jeremy followed 4 years later – the joy of motherhood was just as fresh as the first time. Over those years people have often commented on the character and behavior of my sons. People tell me that they are intelligent, respectful, purposeful, engaging, etc. I am proud of them and pleased that they carry themselves in this way. God has been gracious.
Lloyd and I did not leave it to chance that they would ‘turn out’ okay. No way! We were bold enough and courageous enough to speak into their lives; to demand certain behaviors of them when they were young; to express the behavior and character requirements of our family unit; to teach them the truths of the Bible; to teach them who they were in Christ; to teach them on Whom they should rely. We made our expectations clear and we were never afraid to put non-negotiables in place. Even as they have entered adulthood – we do not shrink back from speaking to issues related to their character and the heart of God.
I’ve been talking to people who have teens and young adults that are living ‘just any ole kinda way’ and they have been asking me why it is that these almost grown folk cannot get it together. My answer to them has been that because they did not correct the fool that was bound up in their child’s heart – that fool has now been unleashed in a full grown adult!
We are blessed with children not so we’ll have someone to love; someone to brag on; someone to spoil rotten – we are blessed with them so that we will raise them to respect and acknowledge our God and King. We are blessed with children so that we will have a ready made opportunity to disciple Christ followers. We are blessed with children so that we can do our part to ensure that this world is exposed to the hope, love, peace and truth of the gospel.
Take my advice – don’t unleash a fool on the world. It seems there are plenty of them out there already! Instead – while they are young, be bold enough to risk ‘friendship’ with your child and restrict what you allow them to take in to their minds. Be bold enough to call them out on bad behavior. Be bold and courageous enough to speak to them about what they wear; how they speak; who their friends are. Have enough faith in God to trust that His plans for them include righteousness, peace and joy. Have enough faith in God to risk requiring that they obey His commands in order to experience and walk in your favor. Don’t reward their foolishness; correct it. Don’t excuse their misbehavior; correct it. Love your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews enough to step out on the word of God which promises that if we would help them to take aim at the right goal – they won’t get lost when they are older. Admonish them in love, not in anger and disdain, so that they will know and trust what God’s correction looks like. Live your life in front of them in a way that there is no mistaking Whose you are. Make the Word of God and the life of the believer the focus of your own life. Make good choices so that they will learn to do the same.
There is a saying “My momma didn’t raise no fools!” — May it be true in your family. I’m grateful that it is true in mine.
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)