And a few things I don’t want…
I want my kids to know and love Jesus. Like really know and love Him. And to love His church. But I don’t want them to have idols of personalities in the church or chase after entertainment and fun and confuse that with the Kingdom of God.
I want them to know Him for themselves; Who He is and what type of God he is. That He is the One and there is no other. I want them to know that this means the hard things too. I don’t want them to live in some pseudo-world view that everything rocks and is easy and great when you serve God; but that some things are a real struggle and some things require real sacrifice. And that they may not see all the blessing on this side of heaven, that being a believer may cost them everything but that there is nothing of higher value or more rewarding.
I want them to know the difference between serving God and serving man; pleasing God and pleasing man. That sometimes when you do the former you get to do the latter but not always. That to truly serve God and obey Him might mean being painfully unpopular. But that popularity with people and self-gratification have no place in the Kingdom of God. And that they can and must question the things that they are taught, especially if it does not line up with the Word. I don’t want them to take everything as gospel that comes out of the mouth of people, regardless of who they are, even if there is trust and admiration and love there. But to check everything and learn to be teachable but not gullible and lazy.
I want my kids to know that they can always speak up against injustice and unkindness and bullying, even if it sets them apart and makes them misunderstood and misinterpreted. I want them to know that I will always support them in their stand against wrong, and that honour and respect for a person is still possible when bad behaviour and selfishness are addressed.
I want them to know that they do not have to keep their mouth shut if they disagree or feel differently to their friends, peers or even authority figures about issues of the world or issues of the heart. But I want to teach them how to be intolerant of the wrong and stand up for the truth while still carrying love and respect for the position and those involved.
I want my kids to know that unkindness is never OK. That hatred of any one is not acceptable. That open conversation and giving a person dignity is a non-negotiable – any person, any where and especially those we do not understand and who are fundamentally different. That God doesn’t actually have favourites and in fact loves them like He loves every other individual, they are no different; all are made in His image and likeness, all have the same dreams and desires, all with the same yearning for the eternal and for truth. That without Jesus all of us are broken and lonely and damned. I want them to know that the Great Commission requires them to ‘go’ and to ‘speak’ to even the person that sparks trepidation or disgust or fear in the hearts of those in our narrow-minded world. Not one is excluded from Him for we have all fallen short and all sinned and all need the forgiveness and grace and mercy of the Creator God.
I want my kids to know that LOVE means giving. That LOVE means sacrifice. that LOVE means getting in the thick of it and maybe coming away scarred and certainly dirty. That LOVE means continually means being transformed into his likeness and that His likeness means love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. That His likeness also means self-sacrifice, going to the cross, paying for them, carrying their burdens, healing their diseases, comforting their distress, bringing their dead things back to life. That LOVE is all things wonderful and good, and all things hard and heavy too. That you cant have one without the other.
I want my kids to know that eternity is forever. That eternity is so much more that today and so much more than personal comfort or success or achievement or satisfaction. That eternity it a never ending state of being with all perfection and all beauty and all glory. But that eternity without our Loving Father is unbearable even to think of. I want them to know that how they carry eternity, and where they carry it and to whom could mean that maybe someone’s eternity will depend on their choice to love and to go and to speak…
“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people,
with a view to winning them.”
– Charles Spurgeon, “Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?”
Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for me.
Matt 25:40 TPT
“All the authority of the universe has been given to me. Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.”
Matt 28:18-20 TPT
“My dear friends, I only have a brief time left to be with you. And then you will
search and long for me. But I tell you what I told the Jewish leaders:
you’ll not be able to come where I am.
So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”
Peter interjected, “But, Master, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going you won’t be able to follow, but one day you will follow me there.”
John 13:33-36 TPT