My youngest child, Seth, turned two years old today. His siblings include two brothers and a sister. Seth is at the stage that when his mother and I ask him various questions he states in an adorable diction, “I not know.” We laugh and he smiles.
Although this is a happy vignette of Seth’s toddlerhood, it does remind me that I have a biblical mandate to teach him and his siblings so they can say “I know.” He is learning – he can point to the picture in the bedroom and say, “armor God” (we are still working on prepositions, so you’ll have to insert the missing “of”) and he can even say a few of the pieces of armor listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. He can fold his hands and say “amen” and walks around singing “Jesus loves me.” However, he has much to learn and experience before the Holy Spirit guides him to state, “‘I know’ Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”
Yes, children are a gift and heritage from God (Psalm 127:3-5) but they do require shaping and guidance (Psalm 144:12). My command as a father is perhaps best summarized in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. In these verses I am commanded to preserve fidelity to God, transfer wisdom to my children, and bring my childrens’ teaching and training into everyday life. It is a wonderful privilege and, concomitantly, a heavy responsibility. It is a loving responsibility that requires intentionality, consistency, patience, prayer, and guidance from the Holy Spirit. My prayer for my two year old son is that he becomes a man of God that fights the good fight of the faith in Christ Jesus and pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness (I Tim 6:11-12). The onus, however, is on me – I must model and teach him how to be a man of God.
This morning I revisited our family’s life purpose statement crafted in 2007 when my first child, Susanna, was born. It remains my prayer for Seth and his siblings:
Your identity is in eternity and your homeland is Heaven. Your life purpose on earth is to glorify God with your body, soul, and spirit. You accomplish this in the following five ways that model the Great Commandment and the Great Commission:
1. Worship God as the center of your life.
2. Love others.
3. Continually enhance your character to become like Jesus in attitude, thought, and motive. That is, increase your Christlikeness through discipleship.
4. Contribute to the body of Christ by serving others with your combination of capability factors (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences).
5. Communicate God to others by sharing your testimony, life lessons, godly passions, and the gospel.
In doing these, you will deepen your personal relationship with Jesus, demonstrate family unity, and serve others in a way that glorifies God, enriches your faith, strengthens your character, and enriches your family so that we aspire to family harmony, affection, and affirmation, live life with integrity, worship, prayer, and purposeful action, and personally and corporately influence others worldwide.
May God continue to be with me as I raise our men and woman of God.