For the Love

I threw a brand-new birthday toy.  We have a rule in our home that only soft balls are allowed to be throne, and even then, only if a person is ready to catch.  And there I was.  In complete frustration, throwing a dollar store, bubble-gun.

Then I realized something.  Parenting in the flesh is easy!  I only thought about my action with the toy after it crashed on the ground.  Well, really…after my son looked at me with shocked tears.  In the moment, the toy was a problem.  It was the means by which my son was disobeying and it needed to be removed.  Thrown, no.  Removed, yes.

Do you know what happened?

I did not solve the disobedience problem by throwing the toy.  As both my children looked at me with wide eyes, I knew we were about to learn a lesson:

I had not been listening to God.  Even parents must learn that sacrificial, godly love is often the hard choice!  Parenting God’s way requires a submission of the flesh and a sacrifice of the desires. 

My normal responses must be filtered through and transformed by God’s holiness.  It is a continual act of submission.  When I, the parent, make a choice to obey my Heavenly Father, it is more likely that my children will obey me.  Consequently, their hearts will be shaped to learn how to obey Him.  A godly parent chooses to love their children with sacrificial love, just like God the Father does.

What is the best for my children will often not match the easiest option.  How I choose to plan my day, discipline my children, and disciple their hearts, must be done with sacrificial love.  The same love that sent Jesus to earth, walked the dirty streets to heal, and bore the cross for our sin needs to be the heartbeat of my parenting.

As God transforms the hearts of our children, He is doing a restorative work in us too.  God created parenting as another means for us to understand our need for Him to save our souls.

Salvation is founded on a relationship with Jesus.  The relationship between a parent and child is one of the main avenues in which God introduces His plan of salvation to each new generation.  He created family to be a reflection of His relationship restoration.  He created a parent to be a reflection of His heart for the people He created.  That is why the evil one seeks to destroy it.  Seeks to tempt us to make fleshly choices.  Because, when we parent in the flesh, we are ineffective and destructive.  We tear apart anything that is being built in our children.  When we parent with godly, sacrificial love, we partner with God to further the Kingdom.  We participate in the Gospel.

When we parent in the flesh, we destroy our children’s growth.  When we parent with godly, sacrificial love, we partner with God.  We participate in the Gospel.   

God has raised us and prepared us to be parents to the exact children He has entrusted us with.  He knew how they would test us.  How they would try us.  How godly behavior is not a guaranteed equation.  Our children will make their own choices.  They will go their own way.

But, as parents by God’s own design, we will stand before Him and give an account for our love.  Godly love makes sacrifices.  It makes the hard choices.  It stays faithful.  It disciplines for character, not just behavior.  It looks past its own interests.  It puts in the long hours and countless prayers.

“Dear children {and parents}, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:18 NLT, parenthesis added).

Love humbles itself and apologizes for throwing bubble guns…

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