GOD SHOWS THE WAY
"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ"
1 Corinthians 11:1
In Thessalonians chapter two (ESV) we see Paul's heart for the Thessalonian believers. They were his babes in Christ. As we see how he related to them, we learn how we should also reach out to our fellow believers, and even more, how we should relate to our own children as we raise them in the faith. Seven things are mentioned:
1. BOLDNESS. He spoke to them "with boldness even in the midst of conflict and contention" (v. 2). He could do this because He was speaking God's truth. Dear mother, don't lay down your authority that God has given you as a parent to lead your children into the truth.
2. PLEASING GOD. Verse 4 says, "We speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts." When we face situations in our home, we must always seek to please God. Sometimes, mothers can be tempted to compromise the truth and be lenient in the face of sin because they don't want their children to think bad of them. They would rather please their children than God. Eli was guilty of this and God judged him because he would not restrain his sons (1 Samuel 3:12).
Dear mothers, this never works. I have seen situations where parents have catered to the whims, negative attitudes, and even sins of their children, but it always comes back to bite them. You must always deal with sin and please God rather than your children.
3. GENTLENESS. Verse 7 says, "But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children." In the Scriptures we constantly see the tensions of truths--the beautiful balance. We have to learn to live in this balance as mothers.
God has put within us a "watchdog" anointing to fight against any enemy who seeks to steal the souls of our children. But we also have a gentle nurturing anointing that comes from the heart of God. If Paul could nurture his babes in Christ like a nursing mother, surely we should flow in this anointing.
4. YEARNING FOR THEIR SOULS. Paul was ready not only to share the gospel, but to lay down his life for these believers. Verse 8 says, "Being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our selves, because you had become very dear to us." What are you prepared to sacrifice for your children's souls?
5. PAYING HIS OWN WAY. Paul "labored and toiled" night and day to provide for himself and co-workers so he wouldn't be a burden on the believers. Verse 9 says, "We worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God." What does it matter that we are not out in a career earning money (that's our husband's task). God has given us the greatest career of nurturing our precious flock in the home and we are preparing for an eternal reward.
6. SHOWING AN EXAMPLE. It wasn't enough to preach to these believers. Paul showed them by example. In verse 10 he says: "You are witnesses and God also, how HOLY and RIGFHTEOUS and BLAMELESS was our conduct toward you." This is our greatest challenge. Our children see beyond our words to our life and attitudes. They watch us all day long. If our walk in our home does not add up to our words, we're wasting our breath. Are we are a picture to them of a holy and righteous life? This means in our words, attitudes, dress, and conduct.
The word "righteous" is "dikaios" in the Greek and means, "comfortable to justice; honestly; as is fit, proper, and right." God always "judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23) and because we are created in His image, we have within us a spirit of judgment also. We must constantly judge our own lives to know what is the right and proper thing to do in the eyes of God and reveal this example in training our children.
7. ENCOURAGING, COMFORTING AND IMPLORING. Verses 11, 12 say: "Like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God." It takes more than taking our children to church each Sunday, or even homeschooling. Do you notice that Paul didn't preach the "religion of tolerance"--do whatever you think is right; don't judge anyone for what they do, just love them." No, he exhorted, beseeched, charged, encouraged, entreated, and implored them to walk worthy of God.
But do you also notice that he didn't do it with a spirit of legality but with a yearning for their souls. That makes all the difference. Children run from legality and hypocrisy. They can't stand it. But they know when your heart bleeds for them. There are times when you have to lift them up from falling. Currently, we have staying in our home a friend, Roger, who has been involved in prayer for the nation in the Capital for many years. In the recent elections he took up the challenge of getting out the pro-life VOTE YES ON 1 signs in all our surrounding counties. He got all the grandchildren involved and it was a full-time job keeping the signs standing.
Many pro-abortionists destroyed the signs. But never defeated, Roger and the children would go out each day and put up new signs in place of the destroyed ones. Sometimes, they would find some of the signs screwed up and tossed in the gutter. They would retrieve them, clean them up, straighten them out, and put the "soldiers" as they called them, back on duty again to do their job!
There are many saints who get beaten down with difficult things that happen in life and they often lay in the gutter spiritually. This can even happen with our children. Because we yearn over their souls, we will want to rescue them. We'll heal their hurts, comfort, love, encourage, and lift them up so they can get back on duty again at their post in the kingdom of God.
Be encouraged in your mothering today.
"Thank you, Father, that you show me the way to mother, which of course is your plan. You designed motherhood. Help me to live it the way that you planned from the very beginning. Amen."
I am following Christ so my children can follow me.