1 John 2:28-3:10 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Are you doing what you ought to be doing? How are your actions speaking to other people about Christ? Are they giving a good witness or repelling people from the gospel?
This part of John’s letter is a powerful thought about our obedience. Not only is he saying that followers of Jesus should do good, he’s saying that if you don’t do good, you’re not a follower of Christ. You get that? John’s saying that if you don’t do good, you’re on the opposite team. If you’re not for Christ you’re against Him. There’s no middle ground. If you continue to practice sin regularly, you’re not a Christian. Ouch.
We all need to take this passage to heart and assess ourselves from the inside out. Are we really practicing righteousness? When we received Christ we were empowered to walk with God and obey Him in a way that was impossible before our salvation. But are we doing it? Are we walking the walk?
No one who is born of God (reborn, we would say) makes a practice of sinning. Are you a child of God? Are you acting like it?
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
What is the primary responsibility of a parent? How about of a father? What about a Christian father? If you said to raise kids who obey the law and treat others kindly, that’s just part of the equation.
Raising moral kids isn’t enough to sustain them through the circumstances of life. Only a strong foundation in the Word of God, in the gospel, can carry them through. It’s the job of a father (and a mother) to parent in light of the gospel.
If our kids comply to everything we instruct them to do, but have no understanding of God’s grace and mercy, have no idea about the sacrifice He was willing to go through for our reconciliation, then it’s wasted effort in parenting. Compliance to rules does not mean a transformed heart.
Fathers, don’t just expect your kids to do what you say. Don’t use your authority to bend their will to yours. Utilize the authority you’ve been given by the Father to raise them up to know Him. They’ll know Him because you show His nature and character to them by the way you treat them.
If you’re not a parent, this notion still applies for you. There’s someone, somewhere who’s under your authority, however little it may be. The way in which you use that authority, the way in which you instruct and lead will either draw them closer to God or push them away from Him. Lead wisely and be a follower of the Holy Spirit as He guides you.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Marriage isn’t the only relationship the Bible speaks of, though it may seem that way in books like Ephesians where so much is said to husbands and wives. The relationship between children and their parents is an even more obvious depiction of the relationship between God and His people than marriage is.
Obedience, be it our obedience to God or the obedience of children to parents, is never just about compliance for the sake of compliance. God didn’t give us rules to follow just because He likes having His rules followed any more than our parents did that. There are reasons for the rules of the house; right? I’m always telling my kids that i don’t give them rules because I’m mean; I do it because I care about them and don’t want to see them get hurt. When they don’t obey, the result is often a negative experience. So it is in our disobedience to God.
The Law cannot be fully obeyed perfectly and we’ll never earn our way into heaven by keeping it. That’s not its purpose, though. We can thrive better, and live much more fulfilling lives if we stick to what the Lord has laid before us as right, avoiding what He says is wrong. It’s not about a dictator forcing anything on us. It’s about a loving Father who cares about His kids and wants to see them live well. His plan for us is better than our own plans.
How are you doing at obeying? Do you even see the need to do so?
If you haven’t already checked out Devotions for Young Disciples, click here to head on over and see these daily devotions for kids 8-12 years old. Biblical topics are covered that go deeper than most church Sunday school curriculum will, but in a way that kids can still understand.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
What a precious gift salvation is from the Lord! Yet even in this wonderful news there is more. Not only has God saved us and freed us from sin, but He’s adopted us! He didn’t have to do that for His enemies, and yet He did.
But we all run the risk of falling into doubt, don’t we? We doubt His love for us, we doubt the forgiveness we’ve received, we doubt that we’re truly His. And it’s there that we see that the gifts just keep pouring in. He’s done all these things for us and still there’s more.
In those times of doubt we find that we have a Comforter. It’s the Holy Spirit who bears witness to our spirits that we are indeed children of God, adopted by the Father of Lights. Yes, He is our loving Daddy who would spare nothing for our sake. He never wants us to forget that or to lose sight of it. He keeps giving by reminding us through the Holy Spirit that we are His and He is ours. Great news.
Isaiah 55:10 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
Praying for my children is simply overwhelming for me. There are so many ways that I want to cover them in prayer, I fear that I will miss one. A wonderful way to pray for your children is to pray God’s word over your children. Some people have even been successful in finding a life verse to pray over their children, and I do love this concept. We were blessed enough to have a verse that we prayed over each child. It was as if that individual child reached out and grabbed it.
The verse that I prayed over Colin in utero was:
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Hank had some potential medical issues that could be pivotal to his identity, and that would have required us to take each step as a parent, very carefully. This verse inspired me and I prayed it over my belly daily:
Ephesians 3:19-21 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
If you are struggling with how to pray for your child, or overwhelmed with a lack of direction in prayer, start with one verse and go from there. Ask God what verses that he would have you to pray for your child.
Truly, our children are in God’s hands. If you aren’t already, start praying scripture over your precious children.