Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Mystery of Imitation - We Reproduce What We Are

"Be imitators of God, as beloved children."
Ep 5:1

There is an exceptionally powerful and mysterious link between knowing you are loved and becoming like the one loving you. This is most clearly seen in the parent - child relationship, and it has nothing to do with a shared DNA. It has to do with the way God has made the world, and the way He has wired the family for covenant. For our children's sake, let's not be ignorant of this beautiful reality. It is in the parent - child bond that children first learn, and these lessons are the foundation laid for how they will understand every other relationship they have in this life, including the one they have with God. Our children are students of us. God has made it so. May He grant us  the grace to teach and model well (Ep 6:4).

As I am writing this, my son Joah, who is 3, just came over to me and said, "Daddy, do you know I love you?" God is teaching me even in these very moments of contemplation. He is validating what is written here, I think. My dearly loved son loves me. And he desperately wants to be like me, because he is proud of me, for reasons I don't fully comprehend. I am reminded of a few ways he makes this known, as the pictures below will show.

Joah arranged the floss, his next to mine.

Joah arranged these too.

Joah wanted his grill next to my grill. . .

And his mower, and shoes, next to my mower and shoes.

Parents often wonder how it is, when their children disappoint them, that the children could behave in such a wrong way. The answer to that question is not always simple. But I think it normally has something to do with us, the parents. And perhaps it's often true that the failure is not in what we have done, but in what we haven't done. We haven't modeled and taught biblical godliness. Instead, we've modeled and taught morality, worldly success, and culturally acceptable behaviors. So we raise children that believe that God exists for them, and that He is most interested in their comfort and happiness instead of their character and holiness; He's a therapist then, and not a King. We raise legalists who relate to God by keeping rules as if those rules are arbitrary and not reflective of a Person who loves them.

It is certain that their mowers and grills are not the only things our children are lining up next to ours. Yes, their ways of thinking, believing, behaving, and relating are there also. Because day by day, we are reproducing what we are. May God help us.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jesus Did Not Come To Be Useful

I recently heard philosopher/theologian R.C. Sproul comment that of the major philosophies, the only American-born one is pragmatism. So I got to thinking about that, and how pragmatism dominates so many churches. Pragmatists are more concerned with "what works" than with "what's true." And when I say "what works", I mean "works" as the pragmatist defines it. They want to know if a thing is useful, not good. This is terribly short-sighted.

So for any pragmatist who may stumble across this blog, allow me for a moment to put aside my desire to debate and persuade and instead to simply proclaim that Jesus did not come to be useful. He came to save, and to reign, in and over you. It's Jesus that works.

So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life."
John 5:19-24

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Flavor of Meats and the Sweetness of Odors

"We cannot even avoid those matters which serve our pleasures rather than our needs. But that we may use them with a pure conscience, we should observe moderation, whether we mean the one, or the other. . .The flavor of meats, and the sweetness of odors, makes some people so stupid that they have no longer any appetite for spiritual things. . .We should zealously beware that anything the Lord gave us to enrich life become a stumbling block. . .For while all such things are given to us by divine kindness, and are meant to be for our benefit, they are at the same time like deposits entrusted to our care, and of these we shall have to give an account some day." -- Excerpts from John Calvin's "Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life", Chapter 5.