Your God, Their God?
Maybe it’s a question you don’t feel you need to ask: Your God, Their God? You’re pretty sure about the answer. Then again it’s a question you may want to avoid; the answer is too agonizing to contemplate. For others it’s a question they would never think of asking. It’s not critical. Nevertheless, for any parent it’s the most important question they can ever ask, especially those who know they worship the God revealed in the Bible: Is God your God, their God? Is He your children’s God?
Parenting is a potent force for good and for ill. God created a pattern and natural power in parents which is universal, creating universal results, good or bad; except in the cases where God makes a decision to show mercy when mercy isn’t warranted; where the course the parents have set is headed toward disaster and God mercifully intervenes. The power which God has bestowed on parents is children will do what you do, but not always what you say. The power is especially potent when what you do is one and the same with what you say, and the child discerns no contradiction between the two. Authenticity always strikes a responsive, efficacious chord; but authenticity is absent when a disparity between actions and words, being and speaking, doing and prevaricating is the norm. Even the smallest child has instinctive abilities to discern authenticity or the lack thereof.
Given the truth of original sin, a fallen world, and a shrewd enemy, God knew parents would need superhuman help. His strongest promises to us in the Scriptures are related to parenting and the responsibility of the older generation conveying to the following generation the message of salvation and truth . . . a path to victory. But it is not a message cast in words alone; the words must put on clothes; that is, a living evidence of paternity: who is your Father? God’s promises are straightforward and discernable, accomplishing their purpose and goal in a life where they are believed and claimed, and the proof is always in the pudding of who you are and are becoming.
No matter what your theological tradition, if you accept the authority of God’s Word, the COVENANT is an essential element of the Gospel. The covenant God the Father made with His Son, Jesus Christ, and subsequently with all those who are in Christ by faith, contains promises backed by the power of God, confirming them, and making them work to your and your children’s good. God is saying in the covenant to parents who live in that covenant, “Your efforts will not be in vain when you do what you say and say what you do in obedience to Me as you exercise parenting.
When our children or some of our children live as though God is not their God, the failure is not God’s covenant, nor Him, but our own parenting. Augustine once said, give me a child until he or she is seven and they are mine for life. The formation of a child’s heart begins long before we think it does, even when the communication is yet unintelligible. Fortunately for us when that time of formation in the home is past, we still serve a God of mercy and compassion. Therefore, it always behooves us as parents to never stop crying out to Him to intervene in their willful rebellion and turn their hearts to the Father. God never gives up on His side of the Covenant, neither should we on our side. Even when your children have left the home your work is not done, though a larger portion of it will be on your knees. Work on your own fitness for heaven, and pray for your children’s.
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