One of my favorite things about our three year old is his affectionately personable nature. You can find him chatting up people of all ages at church on Sundays, wooing the cashier at the grocery store with his questions about the credit card machine, and making friends on every playground he visits. He is a friendly little dude who won’t shy away from asking you every question in the world.
On the other hand, his God-given friendliness could potentially get him into trouble. We’re constantly having conversations about not talking with strangers, building trust, and giving people personal space, especially if mommy or daddy are not right there with him. He’s the type of kid who would grab the hand of any person who offers candy or a shiny new toy.
After months of instruction, it seems like he’s beginning to grow in this. Just yesterday we were playing in the backyard and he asked me if he could say hello to a stranger walking by on our busy road. The fact that he asked me first, instead of just doing it, was a massive win that brought equal amounts of praise and hugs! Lord willing, he’s beginning to understand this concept.
My job, as given by God, is to instruct him and teach him in the way he ought to go. Many times my instruction is about a matter of safety. As an adult I understand the possible consequences of a three year old chatting up the wrong person, or even worse, wandering away with the wrong person. The most unloving thing I could do for my son is to sit back and watch him determine his own way. My prayer is that his personality will be used for great good and for God’s glory as he grows into a man.
Because I love my son, I instruct him.
Because I love my son, I teach him.
Because I love my son, I discipline him.
Because I love my son, I don’t always give him what he wants.
He isn’t always happy when I speak words of warning to him, and his sin-nature makes that known when his typical happy demeanor quickly turns to one of a “threenager.” I instruct him because I love him, and love God, and desire to be faithful in my role as a mother.
I can love my son unconditionally and still disagree with his choices. Love does not mean I have to approve of and support everything he does. That would be a most unloving thing to do!
As I parent my son, my eyes ought to be on the Father who disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:5-6). God knows best and because He loves me I ought to obey His Word. I tremble to think what my life would look like if He had given me everything I ever asked for (i.e. unbelieving high school boyfriends, children before the proper time, the job I thought would be perfect for my husband). Our all-knowing God has protected me, in His great love for me, from unfathomable destruction in my life. He has set kind and careful boundaries for my good, safety, and ultimately His glory.
Because God loves us, He instructs us.
Because God loves us, He teaches us.
Because God loves us, He disciplines us.
Because God loves us, He doesn’t always give us what we want.
More than ever right now, our culture is believing the lie that to love means to completely agree with. If I don’t agree with your lifestyle, because I am bound by the Word of God, I am a fool at best and a hateful bigot at worst. When did disagreement become defined as hatred? Is it not possible to disagree but still show compassion, courtesy, respect, and dare I say it…love?
The Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage really wasn’t a surprise to me. I don’t believe the sky is falling as a result (even if it was, my hope is in the fact that this world is not my home – Hebrews 13:14). However, I do believe that the definition of marriage, as according to how God has defined it in his infinite wisdom, is too important to stay silent on. It has been disheartening, to say the least, to hear about other believers celebrating in this decision over the past week.
As my husband and I have an ongoing conversation about this, he reminded me that those who have not had their eyes opened by the Holy Spirit can not see anything but stupidity in the Bible-trusting-Jesus-following believer. Scripture has not been illuminated to them and we can not expect them to understand the depth and beauty of the picture of the gospel through marriage the way God has defined it.
As a Christian who trusts completely in the authority of Scripture, I see marriage as a divine institution created by a kind, holy, just, wise, and loving God. This is a glorious picture of Christ and His church. If Christ is more precious to me than anything else then the loss of reputation, approval, or “likes” from fellow Christians, or non-Christians, is all rubbish to me (Philippians 3:8). My conviction on this is too strong to keep quiet about just for the sake of my reputation or for the approval of others.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
Fellow believers, “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15-17). The worldly system is in opposition to God. I was reading Matthew 24:9-14 this morning and was reminded, like a punch in the face, that “you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.” How perfectly those verses describe this past week.
You will be hated, believer.
Many will fall away…and hate one another.
Many will be led astray.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). Those “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5-7) are in a very unique position in history right now (at least in my opinion). I count it a great privilege to stand in these times. By God’s grace I will be fearless, faithful, and countercultural, because Jesus is King.