We Represent Our Father
Hey y'all, Bevil here. I wanted to share with you some thoughts I've been reflecting on lately. The skinny is this: We represent our heavenly father as we parent our children. Will we allow God to represent Himself as holy in and through our lives? A few weeks back, I read Ezekiel 36. Check it out if you'd like. It's what planted the seed for what I've been learning about being a father to my kids.
Israel is scattered across the nations after walking away from loving and obeying God. The nations seem to understand God better than the Israelites do. They even wonder, "These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land." God calls Ezekiel to prophecy to the people of Israel that God is about to act to make His name holy after they've profaned it among the nations that He scattered them into. What is God about to do? He's going to show His holiness to the nations who are enslaving the Israelites by bringing them back into the land He originally gave them! God is even going to clean them up, give them a new heart, and place His spirit within them so that they can obey Him.
Chew on this with me:
- God is straight up gracious here. The Israelites have already disobeyed Him, yet He wants to love them in such a way that their hearts can change as well as their behavior. Behavior is important to God here but love is more so. God wants His people to know his heart for them and wants to change their own hearts toward him.
- My wife, Missy, and I have been reading a book lately that encourages us as parents to discipline our children in love, not in utter power. Like God disciplining His children Israel then & us now, do we bear with our kids in love so that they can obey us with a changed heart or do we simply wield our power to get them to mind us out of fear?
- I wonder if Israel even knew they profaned God's name. It would seem those considered not God's people knew this better than God's own people. The other nations seemed to have a respect for the God of Israel more than those supposedly close to God, Israel.
- Our kids don't know, I think, that their bad behavior reflects poorly on us as their parents. I'm often amazed at how other people's children have more respect for us as parents than our own kids sometimes!
- Will we as parents, nay, will you as a parent, reveal your great love for your kids to all others by bearing with them in love, disciplining them in love, and even waiting for your kids to one day fully understand the love and respect you have for them, hoping that they can have the same for you?
- God's name will be proven holy for sure. Am I, nope, are we loving our children in such a way that we allow God to represent Himself as holy in and through the ways in which we parent our children? Sure, our reputations are on the line in the faces of others, but God's character, holiness, and very name are at stake for everyone that sees our hearts and actions toward others, especially our dear children, His dear children.
What are your thoughts?