Yesterday, (in “The Proof is in the Pudding”, number one of a three-part post–also read Part 2), I spoke out against the tendency of all of us, including me, to look to and at those in the boat with us, for our leading, counsel, and “Godly wisdom” on how to raise our children, and live our lives.
Who are you following? Whose advice are you listening to? Jesus warned that not all who say they’re a Christian, know Him: Just because a person says it, doesn’t mean it’s so. They may not know Christ. If you say that you are a Christian, are you sure that you know Him? What should you look for?
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
(ed. note: iniquity means “doing my own will”, not God’s, as it says in His Word.)
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
A person who is a Christian, and believes that Jesus finished the work (“finished” means there’s nothing left to do) in paying the penalty on the cross for his or her sins, and believes that God the Father accepted that payment, and showed it by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, and is trusting in that for his or her salvation from hell, is saved and is going to heaven someday. But that person will have also, and must, surrender their lives to Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life. He is Savior and Lord. He settles for nothing less. You can’t say, well, yes, He’s my Savior, but I don’t want Him to control my life. Then He’s not your Savior, either.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)
When we make decisions about how we will raise our children, we often look at others’ lives and what decisions they have made, and follow them. Jesus said, before you listen to them, or follow them, look at the fruit in their lives. Wait to see the end result, and the mature, ripened fruit–in the life of a person, before you follow their methods and counsel. In child-training, that would mean that the person has grownup children. Listening to, and following, those whose fruit is still immature is risky, at best, and though the person may be very Godly, and their example stellar, and it may be that their fruit will end up being sweet indeed, you won’t know for sure until they’re grown. There may be some little chip in the cup that will cause it to crack and break later. Choices they are making now, habits they are forming, associations they are allowing, wrong belief systems they are making their own from the media or entertainment world, misled examples they are admiring from the real or blogging world: any or all of these may be the seeds sown, which will reap destruction in a future season. We may not understand all the reasons, but God’s Word teaches young women to listen to older women.
“The aged women likewise…
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober,
to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.“
Titus 2:3a-5 (KJV)
You’re listening to someone. No doubt you’re copying somebody in your day-to-day living and thinking. You’re formulating some philosophy of child-raising.
Do it with thought and prayer. Do it Biblically.
Who you should listen to is God, in His Word. Then, your husband. Then, Godly older women. Whatever you do, listen to the right voices. Your children’s (and grandchildren’s) faith and future depends on it! And God’s reputation is at stake.
Ask, as you examine, “Is this the result, or fruit, I want in my life, for our family, in my children?” “Is it lasting fruit?” and “Is it Godly fruit?” (according to Scripture). (Remember that no human being is perfect, so ultimately God, through His Holy Spirit and His Word, are the only things you can completely trust to lead you–and He will. If the person you want to be like is also taking credit for the fruit, and proud, look somewhere else, because it’s only by God’s grace, and the work of His Holy Spirit that Godly fruit is produced.) So, what I’m saying is, look at the fruit. And, check everything against Scripture.
It is our tendency to not look far enough down the road to see what the end result of our decisions is going to be. That is the definition of a lack of discretion. Discretion means: Seeing and avoiding thoughts, words and actions which could result in undesirable consequences. Wisdom and discretion are kindred spirits. Two peas in a pod. The quality of a lack of discretion brings to mind the old saying, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
Why am I going on and on about this? Because it’s so serious. It’s so important, that satan is working night and day against it. Your salvation, and your children’s, and bearing fruit that lasts, was the main topic of Jesus’ last words before He died, and His last instructions on earth.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
John 15:1-8 (KJV)
Ask God to lead you to those who you should listen to, and pray earnestly for “much fruit” in your lives. Ask Him to show you what is in your life that needs to be “pruned” away in order to be more fruitful. Go through the areas of your life: friends, music, hobbies, books, thoughts, etc., and give them to Him.
Well, I’m giving you advice in this series, and some of you will listen, and will be willing to take the road less traveled, will be willing to be thought “weird” and different, will be willing to turn your backs on the world’s ways, and even many of your friends’ ways, to choose God’s ways, and to bear much fruit. You will not see the fruit now, but in obedience to God’s Word, you will see it. Trust. You will choose not to risk the consequences of sitting on the fence, or loving the world’s ways. You will choose not to risk your children, or listen to their whines and pleas, because you see far down the road and envision a Godly result that is worth far more than the immediate good and gratification of participation in activities which “everyone” seems to be doing. Some of them, there is nothing “wrong” with, but you will look straight ahead and never swerve in your resolve, because you’re choosing that which is best. You are who I’m writing to, praying that you will sacrifice the good, for the best.
I end with two questions:
Are you saved? Are you doing the will of the Father, or just hearing it. Are you fully surrendered to His will for your life? If not, pray now and give your heart and life to Jesus Christ!
Secondly, if you are saved, are you committed to choosing His best for you and your children?
Do your thoughts, words and actions, your activities, your spending, your clothes, your hair, your home, your spare-time pursuits, show that you belong to Him, and that you are pursuing “much fruit”? Is your fruit good? Is it going to last? Are you abiding in Him?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with
so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin
which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJV)
By the Grace of my Heavenly Father alone, through His Son, Jesus Christ.