“I will not be like my parents. I won’t do or say the things they do.” How many times in our young lives did we say this only to find out when we have our own children, we say or do the same things as our parents? I have found myself saying or being in this situation while I’ve raised my children. Sometimes I have thought “I have become my mother or my father.” I had good parents, I know some who have not. They raised me to follow God. If that was the one thing they imparted to me, it would be enough, because the example they taught me to follow is Jesus, not them.
Recently, I studied the words ‘labor in vain’ in the Bible. The verses I looked up are as follows:
“I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing.” Galatians 4:11 (NLT)
“Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” Philippians 2:16 (NLT)
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” I Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV)
This morning I thought; I wonder, did my parents say: “I have worked and tried to raise you to be the best you can be and has all my hard work paid off?” Then I think of the many ways we disappoint God, but still he chooses to have a relationship with us. My children (two are grown) have turned out well, but I don’t take the credit and sometimes I’ve said that they turned out as they have, in spite of me. I have tried to give them the example of God to follow as well, because I am definitely not perfect. If they are following Jesus and reading the Word, they have the best example they can have through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the best counselor they have.
“Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” Hebrews 12:7-9 (MSG)
I have prayed a verse for my children through the years. This doesn’t let me off the hook, but if I failed in any way, hopefully I expressed the importance of following God in their lives. The verse I have prayed for them is:
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6
Prayer today: Father help those around me to look to you. May my life be an example of Christ. May people see the Christ in me. Thank you for being my father and my counselor.