Loving Those Little Lambs
Ever heard your children referred to as “your kids” (baby goats)? I don’t even want that thought associated in any way with our children! They are lambs, not goats. : ) I haven’t heard the word “kid” in reference to any of the ten or fifteen dozen young children here in many years! : ) I’m glad!
You DO realize, Family, that our main “goal” as we raise our young children is NOT that we would make their behavior “perfect”—necessarily, right? Docile children, zombie or compliant children, with no heart or mind or energy or creativity...are NOT the goals, of course. I know I didn’t need to say that, but I’d like to exaggerate the point to make the point!
Creating a quiet utopian world at home with our lil’ ones MAY make life easier for us, IF we wanted to live self-centered busy lives. And the children then “learn” we won’t have them “interfering” with our big person important agendas. “Go on out of here and give me peace and quiet, and let me do MY thing!” But that is NOT the “goal” that Father has truly given us, OF COURSE! Again, I’m just exaggerating to make a point. : )
HOWEVER! We DO want them to ALWAYS “reap what they have sown”—or we are MIS-representing God and Truth. “Be not deceived—God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” That’s just plain Love, and being the Ambassadors Father has called us to be to these “loaners”—babes—He has granted us.
We MUST then: 1) Be consistent in our leadership 2) Be consistent in our clear communication to the lambs of what is expected of them 3) Expect and train them into immediate responses to our “voice” (not the second or third time we tell them something). “On earth as it is in Heaven…” “As unto the Lord…” “The sheep know the Shepherd’s Voice…” 4) Make certain that they know and experience (!) the fact that they will always, ALWAYS “reap” what they sow, and that a son (young or old) that is not disciplined is not LOVED! (Hebrews 12) Therefore, nothing is ignored, overlooked, or rationalized and excused away. Creativity in leadership and correction are surely Father’s way, and therefore our way—but NEVER are we inattentive or too busy to notice. Never are we sluggardly, or should we ever exhibit foolish disrespect for God’s Principles. God is not like that, therefore, we, as His Representatives and Proxy parents, may not be so either—or we are misrepresenting Him to the children.
In the midst of our children’s discipline, or failures or successes, it is important that we remind them FREQUENTLY of their need for Messiah to forgive their sins and sin’s consequences. Remind them often of their deep need for conversion to Jesus—for the Gift of the Spirit of Christ Jesus to inhabit their lives to free them from the POWER of sin! Help them to HUNGER for Him, and be ready to bow their knees to Him when they are old enough to comprehend that they have crucified the Son of God and are “cut to the heart.”
It is important to REMIND OURSELVES that we are not attempting some massive experiment in behavior modification or tolerating inconveniences of children that cannot take care of themselves. This is about LEADING A YOUNG ONE TO THEIR MESSIAH, and molding them into lovers and warriors for Jesus! AND, Father has granted us the privilege of molding them before they have (as we did) terrible influences and habits to overcome—so they are PRIMED for Jesus! They should be made to see their own sinful natures, and the weakness of their flesh and lack of sufficient willpower to overcome. Paint the glorious Picture for them in your discussions (“as you rise up and sit down and walk along the way,” and laugh or discipline or tickle them) of the wonderful Gift of God—by Trust and Abandonment in Jesus—which He has offered us all freely. INVITE them, daily, into His Possibilities for their futures!
Don’t allow them to run ahead to “Braxton-Hicks” false conversions—on emotions, or their desires to please you (or to get out of trouble!). Many such “young childhood conversions” in the religious world are not truly a second birth at all. This is proven by the tragic and ridiculously unnecessary record in the denominations of losing 70-90% of their teens to the world. BUT, with an eye towards TRUE conversion at the foot of Jesus’ Cross, do be sowing the Seeds—for when it IS time!
“Getting results” in child-rearing is not the goal, as wonderful as that sounds! Even though we may not achieve instant perfect behavior from the children (though CONSISTENCY is still MANDATORY!), there is still much GOOD NEWS in this, if we’re functioning as we’ve been describing.
If your child is not learning obedience super quickly and is strong-willed, that doesn’t mean you are a failure, if you are making certain they are reaping what they’ve sown, and also planting Good News Seeds! If their “wiring” is such that they’re a bit “energetic”—just view it this way: when they DO give their lives to Jesus (and their “niceness” won’t deceive them into thinking they are “Christians” when they are not, since they are not nice oftentimes)—they can give it ALL to Jesus. “He who is forgiven much…LOVES MUCH!”
Will we make some mistakes, as we grow up in these things? Sure. But, God has done many good things in many of us, in spite of terrible “upbringing” and false religion and vices and corrupt “friendships” that adults in our lives did little or nothing to protect us from. IN SPITE of much sin in our lives and in our upbringing and our pain, Father is still able to wash us and cleanse us and lift us up, and even equip us to love and serve Him and His People and Purposes! HOW MUCH MORE will our children, free from the scars—of bad companionship, absence of leadership, vices and sin—be able to See Him high and lifted up!
And, again, even if we’re not perfect (duh!) God is able to Work through those who love Him and lay down their lives for Him daily amongst His People and Plan. We’ll seek His Wisdom—regardless of personal cost. And so, He will be with us, not leaving us as orphans. The “Government is on HIS shoulders!” Let’s go forward with DANCING in our hearts, rather than trepidation! We’re privileged to learn His glorious Ways, and participate in His Work with these young ones!
“Before the great and awesome Day of the Lord arrives, I will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers!”
Those who may be so very caught up in the “End Times” movies and books and talk...should be devoted to loving everyone’s children into greatness for Jesus. Ain’t much can happen until then!!!!!