What story will our kids choose to live in? That’s a necessary question every parent and youth worker must ask. If our calling is to lead kids to find their place in God’s story (the biblical narrative and way), we need to help them see the foolish dead-end that results in living according to the world’s story (the cultural narrative and way). The former is what we have all been made for and it leads to our flourishing. The latter is the option that is embraced by many, but which leads to our demise. . . both in the present and in the future.
This morning I read these words from Proverbs. . . “For I too was a song to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, ‘Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. . . The righteous live blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.'” (Proverbs 4:3-4, 20:7).
In his devotional book God’s Wisdom For Navigating Life, Tim Keller ponders how we can best pass on the wisdom which leads to life to our children in ways that they embrace that wisdom as their own. Keller says that these words from Proverbs point us to three factors.
First, we are to use our words (4:3). Our mouths are a tool God has given to us to use to instruct. Of course, we must first have the proper content to pass on, which means that we must ourselves be immersed in God’s Word. . . looking to find wisdom in His will and His way. Parents and youth workers. . . are you making and taking advantage of opportunities to allow God’s Word to wash over and through you as priority one? None of my silly daily endeavors are more important than this.
Second, we are to lead a blameless life (20:7). In this context, the word “blameless” does not mean “perfect.” Rather, it means “consistent.” Our kids will pick up on the disconnect between words (beliefs) and behaviors if we are living dis-integrated lives. Are the truths of God’s Word something that you embrace in ways that yield real change in your life? Your kids are watching and they are experts at spotting a fake.
Third, we must cherish the children God has placed in our lives (4:3). Kids should readily know that they are the object of our unconditional love, time, and attention. These things should remain consistent in spite of their frequent wanderings. I am reminded of John White’s words that can serve us so well: “As Christ is to me, so must I be to my children.”
Spend some time in self-examination, repentance, and prayer today.