Many mistake love as just a feeling, but love is much more than that. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us what love is (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). So I was thinking, what if we applied Paul’s teaching on love to our relationship with our children. How would that impact the legacy we leave them?
The first thing that Paul tells us is that we must be calm in the midst of pain, difficulty or annoyance…love is patient (1 Cor. 13:4). For me, there are times when patience escapes me. I have two small children and there are times I’m not as patient as I would like to be. How about you? How are you with patience? Paul then goes on to tell us that our love should be characterized by doing good…love is kind (1 Cor. 13:4). I’m better at being kind and part of that kindness is apologizing when I haven’t been patient.
Now here’s the thing; you can’t just wake up in the morning and say that I’m going to be patient and kind, it generally doesn’t work. Trust me, I have tried this and it doesn’t work. Being patient takes practice and intentionality. If your life is like mine, than there are plenty of opportunities during the course of the day to practice patience and kindness. So, I start my day in prayer and invite God to be present in those moments where I might not be as patient as I need to be and to help me be kind where I need to be kind.
I’m not always successful with being patient and kind, but during those moments that I’m not, my children are always quick to forgive. The truth be told, I have learned more about grace from a five year old and a two year old than I would have ever imagined. They understand what love is more than I do and demonstrate it in great ways. They get that love is patient and kind and are quick to show me both. Through their example of patience and kindness, I am becoming more of the father they deserve.
I think one of the key questions we can ask ourselves is “what kind of example am I for others?” This question requires us to search the depths of who you are and when you do this; you must be willing to face the truth of what you find. It requires you to look at how you’re living your life. Is it a positive example for others to follow or are you living your life in a way that leads others astray.
As parents, one of the greatest things we can do for our children is to leave a positive example. In his letter to Timothy, Paul lists five areas in which we are to be an example: speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1Timothy 4:12). To live an exemplary life in these areas means to live your life as an example for others to follow, especially our children.
Speech is our words. Are you speaking encouraging and affirming words or are you speaking words that are shaming and provoking? “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up” (Ephesians 4:29).
Conduct is your actions. Are you living in a righteous way? “but as he who called you holy is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15).
Love is our self-sacrificing service for others. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Faith is your faithfulness. “It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Purity is your sexual purity and moral cleanness. This area is the one many struggle with. Pornography has become an epidemic in our society and has invaded many homes leaving many marriages and families on the brink of being torn apart. “An overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach” (1Timothy 3:2).
Truth be told, as much as I want to be successful in all of these areas of my life and be an example for others, especially my children to follow, I come up short daily. So, every morning I pray for God to be present in my life and help me successfully navigate these areas of my life because my desire is to be the man the God has called me to be to my wife, my children and the world around me.
So, self assessment time…How are you doing in these areas of your life? Are you pleased with the example you’re leaving for others? If you had to pick one area to improve upon, which one would it be? Are you willing to make the necessary changes in your life for that improvement?
“For nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37
Throughout his ministry, Jesus was often criticized for spending time with the wrong people…tax collectors, sinners, and children. His own disciples thought that Jesus should spend more time with more “important” people, because this would improve his position and avoid criticism. As if Jesus was worried about improving his position or avoiding criticism.
Mark records one such incident. The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in” (Mark 10:13-15 Msg) and then Jesus does something amazing, he took the children in his arms and blessed them (Mark 10:16).
Now a blessing is a bestowal of good and to bless another person is say, “I wish the best for you. I give this to you. I desire this for you.” If Jesus is willing to bless children, then shouldn’t we be willing to do the same. For parents, this means blessing their children. The impact of this on a child’s life is immeasurable. There is great power in blessing our children. Here’s the thing, blessing a child is not just limited to parents, we all of the ability to impact a child’s life by blessing them.
You see, it doesn’t matter your stage of life, it doesn’t matter your age, it doesn’t matter your color of skin; it doesn’t matter where you live. There are no restrictions to blessing a child; it only requires some intentionality on your part. It requires a little bit of your time. Maybe you volunteer in your local churches children‘s ministry. Maybe it’s walking your neighborhood and praying for the children in it. Maybe it is becoming a mentor to a fatherless or motherless child. Perhaps it is a kind word to a troubled child or a comforting hug. You can get involved in your local Big Brother/Big Sister organizations.
There are many ways to bless a child and nurture their faith and character. When you bless a child you can transform their life. When you decide to be intentional about blessing the life of a child, it is not only their life that will be blessed but your life also.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26
Many have taken in the War Room Movie and it’s been a hit. Chad Seefeld is excited to start a new men’s group based on the power of prayer highlighted in the movie. Here’s a note from Chad:
“We’re expecting anywhere between 8 and 10 men in the group and are going to start doing a 5 week study based on the movie the War Room. Each session will have a short DVD segment from the movie to get our minds churning and then we’ll dive into discussion. There is a participants study guide associated with the study that includes some “homework” – 3 devotionals that you can do on your own during the week and a listing of some of the discussion questions. You can buy the book at Parables for about $8 or get it here: http://www.lifeway.com/Product/war-room-bible-study-bible-study-book-P005727823?intcmp=WarRoom-MTX-Text-WRBSBook-20150622 This guide is OPTIONAL. I don’t think you’ll need it to participate in the group, but if you want to use the study to get a bit deeper in your personal time or you’re the type that likes to have the questions in front of you or in advance, I think it’s a good resource.
OK, on with the specifics. We will meet every Sunday night, beginning this Sunday 9/13, for the next 5 weeks from 6:30 -7:30 (later if we want, my wife won’t be home until around 8:30 and I have a pool table downstairs…) at my house 15710 Howard St (one house down from Kiewit Middle School). Assuming that there is interest following the first five weeks we’ll move onto a new study. There is another one based on War Room that’s 8 weeks called the battle plan for prayer. That’s my tentative plan, but we’ll see what happens after 5 weeks.
If you’re like me and you have not yet seen the movie, consider this an open invitation to join me at Village Pointe Theatre for the 7:40 showing tonight, Thursday 9/10. Just text (or call) me at 402.578.5887 if you’re there so we can grab a seat together.
I am excited about getting the group started. There’s a few of us that know each other, but also a lot of new faces. I’m excited to create a bond and see what God has in store for us as we make a concerted effort to be men who take REAL (Rejects passivity, Eternally investing, Accepting responsibility, and Leading courageously) RISKS.”
I hope you’ll be able to join this group.
Parents, you bless your children and your families by placing spiritual deposits in their life. And the best way you can leave spiritual deposits is by sharing your faith. You can do this a number of ways, like having conversations at the dinner table, doing a family devotional, giving to the Lord your time, your tithes, and your talents. But the sharing of faith I’m talking about is showing your children that you’re not perfect, that you don’t have it all figured out and that you need Jesus.
Every morning, I sit down with Lincoln and Noelle and I pray, “God, please walk with me this day and help me be the father these kids need and deserve and help me be the husband you have called me to be. Amen!” One time Lincoln asked me why I did this every day. I told him that I need Jesus’ help to be the father you and Noelle need and deserve and I need Jesus to help be the husband mommy deserves.
Cha-ching, spiritual deposit!
You see, what’s amazing is that our kids are looking for authenticity and integrity. The Bible says, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely” (Proverbs 10:9) and I believe that parents who walk securely will have children who walk securely.
Here’s the thing about authenticity and integrity, it means that you don’t have to have it all figured out and you don’t have to be perfect. I think it is this feeling that we have to be perfect that keeps us from sharing our faith and leaving spiritual deposits in the lives of our children. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be honest and you have to be real and you have to be willing to be willing to show your children you need Jesus.
This week don’t hide your imperfections about your faith, don’t hide your doubts about your faith, and don’t hide the fact that you’re not perfect and that you don’t have it all figured out. Make a choice to be real, honest, and vulnerable with your children about your faith. Leave a spiritual deposit by sharing your faith with them.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot