Choose Your Failure

Published on Sep 24th, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Choose Your Failure

Choose Your Failure

One of the gifts that God gave me in my life was the gift of being a youth pastor while I was single.  God enabled me to observe and learn much about raising children way before I ever had children of my own. I often had the opportunity to speak to parents about their children and since I did not have children of my own I had to rely solely on the Word of God for my advice.  I often shared how I was able to simply communicate the Word of God without the confusing experiences of actually raising children.  What I was saying was that I was able to teach the Word without the excuses.  I was young and stupid.  But I was able to “practice” on other people’s children and I learned a ton about parenting by observing parents.  I also was able to hear what children had to say when their parents were not around.

One of the lessons that I learned, which helped in the nurture and training of my own children, was that as a parent I was going to have to choose where I was going to fail my children.  As I looked at the task of rearing my own children one day, I was overwhelmed at the awesome responsibility.  There just seemed to be too much to teach a child.  What I did observe, though, was that every parent was weak or failing in one or more area.  Even the parents who were very driven to train their children to be super successful were failing in one area or another.  The truth is that a child can only absorb so much before the information begins to hit deaf ears.

So how do you choose?  The key is to choose one goal for your children.  Our goal for our children is found all throughout the Word of God but is summarized in Matthew 22:37, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  That was my wife’s and my constant goal for our children.  Although we were certainly aware of the second part of that command, “love your neighbor as yourself”, our focus and attention was on their love of the Lord.  That singular focus helped us put the right emphasis on the right syllable.  School was important but we never saw in the Word of God where God loved school.  But he does love the church of God.  If I wanted my children to love God with all they had then they needed to love what God loved.  If something at church conflicted with school, church won.  Why?  God loves his bride.  We believed that Romans 8:12 teaches us that we are debtors to God for the new life he has given us.  So when Nate’s baseball conflicted with Wednesday prayer service he had to tell his coach that four out of the seven conflicts he was going to be in church.  If baseball would have conflicted with Sunday morning service his first commitment would have been to the bride of the one he loved.  I certainly wanted my children to do well in school and we had those discussions but we had way more discussions about the Word of God and how it revealed the God of heaven to us.  I wanted my children to keep neat rooms (we failed miserably at this) but our discussions centered more about clean hearts before God.  I just figured that our children could only hear so many words before they tuned us out so I was going to make those words count for what we really believed was most important.

If you think about it…if my child loves the Lord with all they have then, eventually, all those other things we think are important will fall into place.  Stop today and make an evaluation of the points of emphasis you have with your children.  You can only emphasize so much before your children are oversaturated with trying to “be”.  Choose the one goal that God has given to all of us.  Emphasize that. Choose to speak of that often.  Do not throw out the other goals but always make them subject to the first goal and then your children will receive the correct message.  Love the Lord your God first and then keep a clean room second.  Love the Lord your God first and then play soccer.  Love the Lord your God first and then strive for grades.

What I hear from most parents is that our children can have it all.  These things that I have been writing about are not opposites.  You do not have to choose between loving God and striving to be successful in school.  They would be right. But… and this is a big but…there can only be one thing in first place.  Where we fail is that we so often place earthly things in first place and then tack God on as an “of course”.  “Of course, we do these for the glory of God”.  Again, pay attention to the conversations you have with your children.  What your words are conveying is most important.  Is your discussion about the glory and love of God simply a billy club to get your children to do what you really think is important or is the glory and love of God what is most important?

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