(Guest Post by: Michelle Hobbs)
Attention Y’all! Girls (and guys), please gather your parents around for this one. My mom wrote one for them this week!
Today, I was reading the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. A beautiful story of how God hears His children’s cries of grief and longing, then answers their prayers. He is so faithful to those who love Him!
But, I was thinking afterward, “How did Hannah give up this son that she so desperately desired?” “Didn’t she want him for herself?” You see, Hannah raised her son only until he was weaned, then took him to the temple so that he could serve the LORD.
Of course she wanted her son for herself, but she wanted her son for God’s glory even more! She wanted a child who would serve the LORD, glorify Him, and further His Kingdom.
Parents, do you think of your children that way? Do you think of your child’s main purpose being to glorify God and further His Kingdom?
I would propose that we tend to think of our child’s purpose as to gain their own glory, or maybe even, to bring us glory. Our actions, our priorities, and our messages to our children do not line up with giving God glory above all else.
We tell our kids (even if it’s subconsciously) to get good grades so they can get into the best college, at least a better college than the neighbors’ kid. Play every sport offered so you can make a name for yourself in town.
Participate in every extra-curricular activity offered just in case it will look good on that college application. Then, after we do all of those things, we will try to squeeze in some “church” when it’s convenient.
I feel like parents of today suffer from “Any Benefit Syndrome”. We are inundated with so many options for our kids that seem great. We think that if there is any possible benefit from x, y, and z that we must include it in our lives and in our children’s lives.
Now, I am not saying that our kids should not participate in any of the activities at all. I’m not even saying that there is no value in them. There are many lessons learned and good character traits built through sports and extra-curriculars.
The problem comes when we make these things our priority, whether on purpose or without really meaning to.
The fact is, we had better sit back and evaluate what our ultimate goal really is. Only when we have sincerely thought that through can we make wise choices regarding what to include and what to pass up.
We must only choose the things that have the biggest benefit to get us where we want to go. Hopefully, you will conclude that where you want to go is toward Jesus.
Our children are given to us for such a short time. I urge you to consider the day they walk out of your door to begin life as a young adult.
Will you say something like, “I’m so glad we focused on all of those worldly pursuits.” Will it be grades, sports, and extra-curricular activities? Or will you say, “I wish we would have focused more on Jesus, and teaching them how to love Him and serve Him well.”
Parents, your children are made in the image of God. Made to be image bearers of The Lord of Armies. We are in a spiritual battle today more than ever before. There is a battle going on for your child’s soul; their eternity. Have no doubt! Will you fight for them?
I read a great quote by Jim Elliot, a missionary who died while bringing the Gospel to a tribe in Ecuador.
In a letter to his parents, written just before he left for the mission field, he wrote: “Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So with the strong arm of prayer, draw the bow string back and let the arrows fly – all of them straight at the enemy’s hosts.”
Are you raising arrows to launch straight in the face of the enemy? Effective warriors for the Kingdom of God?
If you are not raising your children intentionally for this purpose, then you are handing them over to the enemy. You are not doing this on purpose, I’m sure, but believe me, it happens passively.
The world and worldly things naturally become the things that get most of our attention unless we are purposefully pursuing something else.
Parents, I beg you to take some time in the very near future to look at the priorities you have set for your parenting and for your child’s life. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)
Here is the hard truth, we as parents may be hindering our children from coming to Jesus. All the worldly choices we make for them (what we allow them to watch, read, listen to, and participate in) are either placing them in the arms of Jesus or in the enemy’s snare.
You may think I’m being dramatic, but the battle is real. “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Let’s raise a generation who follows hard after Jesus. A quiver full of arrows that we can confidently launch straight at the enemy!
SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
= How did God use this post to speak to you today?
= Do you feel that you are being intentional with your priorities?
= What are you going to do differently?