In the years immediately following World War II, my family lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, then called "The Oil Capital of the World." My father worked in the oil industry with Seismograph Service Corporation, an oil exploration firm, directing all domestic drilling crews, some 40 in number.I was in early elementary school at the time, an only child who idolized his daddy. One day he took me to work, I am sure in response to my incessant questioning—"What do you do at work, Daddy?"
I can still remember, some 70 years later, watching him sitting in his office answer a few scattered phone calls with long periods of what seemed like doing nothing in between--just talking to me with his feet up on his desk. I finally said to him, "Daddy, you aren't doing anything. What real work do you do?" and I distinctly remember his answer. "Son, I am paid for what I know, not what I do."
For a little boy who desperately wanted to be just like his daddy, the answer was not something I could really sink my teeth into. As I have thought of that incident over the years, it has illustrated for me a very cogent truth: all little boys want to do what Daddy does, say what Daddy says and think like Daddy...
There are several hazards we as parents must all face and navigate successfully as we parent our children over the approximately 20 years we have them with us. As parents, our goal is to assist our children toward a happy, productive and fulfilling independent adulthood after they leave our nest. The quality of our parenting, particularly as we face these three hazardous milestones, sets the tone for what that adulthood will look like.
The gospel of the grace of God, which we have discussed over the past few weeks, is the irreplaceable cornerstone in the foundation of all successful parenting. The application of biblical parenting principles as we face each of these milestones, faithfully applied by a parent who understands that gospel, forms the rest of the foundation for accomplishing the task God has given us each to do in the lives of our children.
Most parents today are neither aware of these milestones nor the biblical principles that will allow them to successfully navigate past them. By not even recognizing each approaching crisis, much less proactively steering through them, parents leave their children vulnerable to life-long damage that could be avoided. No one...
"My sin keeps me from an intimate relationship with God." "Godis glorified by my obedient, righteous life, lived as an example for others tosee."
These two ideas are typical examples of the subconscious thoughts thatbombard the minds of many Christians on a regular basis. They think they arestatements of truth, see nothing whatsoever wrong with them, and even thinkthat they represent a godly, righteous way to think.
As we saw last week, they are nothing of the kind, butrepresent thinking man's way—performance, living by the law—a way of life thatdied at the cross and has been replaced by thinking God's way—by faith alone.
Here are several other examples of the contrast between thesetwo ways to think:
My way: "The law of God is a loving guide God has given us to try to obediently follow."
God's way: The law of God is a violent beast designed by God to kill me as it exposes me as asinner on a daily basis (Galatians 2:19). It is a mirror to show me my sin so Ican repent, not a scrub brush to clean up my face as I try to keep it (James1:22-25).
My way: "God is at work in my life toimpart His righteousness to me in order to make me holy."
God's way: God is at work in my life showing...
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).
Last time we saw that God's way of thinking is very different from man's way, and learning to think God's way is absolutely essential in order to navigate through the landmines that await every growing family. How we think about family issues is infinitely more crucial than what we think. The difference can be illustrated very simply. Man sees becoming righteous as an improvement in conduct—imparted righteousness. God sees righteousness as having nothing to do with conduct, but only as given freely by faith in Christ—imputed righteousness, the righteousness of Jesus Christ freely credited to me by faith.
This makes no sense to the human mind. Listen to some other examples of God's way of thinking in the Bible:
• If you want to be first, then you must be last of all and servant of all. (Mark 9:35)• The Lord kills us so He can make us alive; He brings us down to the grave so he can raise us up. (1 Samuel 2:6)• God is strong only in our weakness, not in our strength. (1 Corinthians 12:9)• Life only comes out of death. (John 12:24, 2 Corinthians 4:12)• Those who seek after...
In the last few Gospel Parenting newsletters, we have been exploring the patriarchal family—God's way of ordering the structure and function of the human family as outlined in the Bible. Last week we saw that the cause of all the problems that surely do occur in such an effort is summarized in the statement uttered by that sage, Okefenokee Swamp philosopher Pogo the possum: "We have met the enemy and he is us." By applying Pogo's wisdom to myself, his word of truth to me becomes, "I have met the enemy (of my marriage) and it is I."
When God opens my eyes to Pogo's truth, I realize that by retreating into the marriage blame game I have always been able to focus on the very real sins of my wife and therefore virtually ignore the much less obvious (to me!) sins of my own. I desperately, albeit unconsciously, have not wanted to be at fault in our marital difficulties, and I, again unconsciously, have gone to great lengths to remain absolved of all responsibility for our marriage problems in my own mind.
This path of seeing oneself as the "white horse rider wearing the white hat" knows no gender; it is true of every member of the human species. Since our snack at the Tree of the...