A few weeks ago I asked my family a question: Does being a Christian affect how you live your life? We had an interesting discussion; we had to get rid of some automatic ‘good-Christian’ type of answers in order to get to the bottom of this question.
We can do things as a Christian – do the right thing, teach God’s word, pray, have Christian friends etc but I don’t think that is really where it is at.
Being a Christian is being a follower of Christ, it is being made new, it is having a relationship with Christ and drawing on his “helper” that he gave us – the Holy Spirit. Do we do life differently now that we are a new creation? Do we do life differently now because Jesus is in our life? Do we do things differently because the Holy Spirit dwells within us?
Do we parent differently because we are a Christian? Not because we should, but because the Holy Spirit is alive in us and working on our heart and responses to life.
Parenting as a Christian
We can list all the things a good Christian parent should do – but that is just living by a set of rules that someone has drawn up. Being a Christian, a follower of Christ, a new creation, isn’t about following such a list. Being a Christian is about letting the Holy Spirit change us to be more like Jesus.
Read that sentence again – it is about letting the Holy Spirit change us to be more like Jesus. Change us – not our kids, not our spouse, not our neighbour, or our kids friends – but us.
- As I’m confronted with my child’s anger – do I respond as one who loves Jesus?
- As I’m confronted with my families lack of support – do I respond as one who loves Jesus?
- As I’m confronted with hard things in family life – do I respond as one who loves Jesus?
How would Jesus have me respond in these situations – how do I respond as a wife, mother, sister, friend to the frustrating, annoying, disappointing, sad things going on around me?
1–By relying on Jesus love for me, and for others I can show His love – I don’t have to feel love, I have to act with love – sincerely. This can only happen as we soak in Jesus’ love, as we live in prayer, as we ask and ask and ask for His love to fill our hearts. This is not a human love, it is a love that comes from loving Jesus. He loved us while we were still sinners, that is we were still rejecting us and he loved us. That is the love we are to have for others.
2–By relying on the Holy Spirit to strengthen me. The oft quotes scripture from Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Paul is talking about being content with much or with little. The inference is – whatever circumstance God has you in we can learn contentment, and Christ will strengthen us.
3–By resting in Christ’s peace – a peace that is beyond our understanding – the most odd place to find peace, to the human eye, is in the midst of a storm – it is beyond our understanding. But that is the type of peace that we can have when we walk hand in hand with Jesus.
Being a Christian parent isn’t about all the things that we do, it is about how we do these things – personally, us, me. Do we do the right thing with a grumpy heart? An impatient voice? Or resentful actions? This of course isn’t a response that honours and glorifies our Lord Jesus.
This week as we are challenged with the various issues and people in our family, let us rely on Jesus, let’s ask for his love for our family, and for his peace and joy to overflow in our heart. When we are filled with his Spirit, the fruit of that will overflow into every relationship we have.
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