Thursday, 14 March 2013

Focus on the family...

Out for the count
In our Bible Study group at the moment, we're working through this brilliant little book called "Gospel-centred Family" by Tim Chester and Ed Moll. Seeing as I missed the last study (I had the poor excuse of being shut up in hospital post C-section), I decided to have a look at it on my own yesterday morning (Dave had taken Ava out for an exciting adventure to the car wash, and Heidi was asleep - you forget HOW MUCH newborns sleep. Seriously, she's awake for a grand total of about 5 hours a day, and 4 of them are spent feeding!)

It's been brilliant to re-assess where we're at in family life. Family is such a funny one; its so very important to so many of us, and yet often we can "do" family with so little forethought, planning or reflection. When I think about the number of lessons I have "reflected" on as a teacher - the lesson plans, the yearly overviews, the assessments, the one to one child reviews, the parents evenings.... it seems crazy that I put so much emphasis on reflecting on the goals, purposes and outcomes of the children I was teaching, and yet so often can be goal-less and purposeless with my own children. All too often, life is so busy, I fail to stop and reflect on what my desires for my children actually are... what it is I want for them in life, what I am doing to proactively encourage certain character traits, or behaviours? All too often, I am so caught up in life, that actually, the things I really desire for my children are not the things that are being prioritized.

What would your child say if you asked them what they thought you wanted most for them in life? Happiness? Educational success? A family of their own? Fame and fortune? Popularity? None of these things are bad, at all. In fact, they are all natural desires of any parent. But what is most important to me, and am I being purposeful in allowing that to be the thing that drives our family life?

This quote really stood out to me...

What do you want for your children? If you want them to be middle-class, prosperous and respectable, then live in a leafy suburb, send them to a good school and keep them away from messed up people. But if you want them to serve Christ in a radical, whole-hearted way, then model that for them in the way you live. That won't necessarily mean moving to the inner city. But it does mean exposing them to costly ministry.

If our heart's desire, as christian parents, is to see our kids passionate about serving the Lord in any and every context, then we have to ask ourselves some tough questions. We do not have the power to convert our children. We should not try and force them into belief - such a faith would only be shallow and fake. Instead, we want to make Christ attractive to them by the way that we live our lives...

Only the Spirit of God can open blind eyes to the truth about Jesus (John 3:3-8) but we can ensure our children realise what matters to us. We can communicate the surpassing value of Christ. We can teach them the importance of serving others. we can model a life lived for the glory of God. And we can pray that God will work in their hearts.


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