“I showed what you are like to those you gave me from the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me.” (John 17:6a NCV)
The world is full of sons and daughters who desperately need spiritual leadership. Is it possible your kids are among them? You can become a spiritual leader to your children by developing the characteristics that we see in Jesus as he taught his disciples for three years.
First, Jesus helped the disciples know God.
You need to help your children get to know God, because eternity is in the balance — life or death, Heaven or Hell. It is your job to help make sure your kids are introduced to God.
Look at what Jesus says: “They belonged to you.” He’s acknowledging that the disciples belonged to God, just as our kids belong to God. He loaned them to us for a period of time in which he wants us to parent them. Parenting, like all forms of leadership, is really about stewardship. You learn to say, “God, I am the steward of these children, whom you put into my care, and I will do what you need me to do to help them achieve their purpose.”
Notice Jesus then says, “I showed what you were like to those you gave me.” Jesus doesn’t say, “I preached. I sermonized. I pontificated. I lectured so the disciples would know you.” He says, “I showed.” He led by example.
This is one of the most sobering truths about being a parent. For right or wrong, for good or bad, whether you like it or not, your children’s idea of God is going to be largely determined by the kind of parent you are. You may not like that. I may not like that, but it’s the truth.
If you are impatient and demanding, they’re going to think God is impatient and demanding. If you are distant and detached and never have time for your kids, they’re going to think God is distant and detached from them. If you are inconsistent and unreliable, if you break your promises, they’re going to think their heavenly Father is inconsistent and unreliable and breaks his promises.
What is God really like?
God is caring.
God is close and aware of the details.
God is consistent.
God is competent.
Talk About It -
If my kids are going to grow up knowing God is caring, close, consistent, and competent, then I must be caring, close, consistent, and competent. What do you think you need to work on related to this?
With a friend who is also a parent, talk about how you are currently caring for your kids by showing them what God is like. Encourage and share ideas with each other.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.