I love being a dad!!! I just spent the last two hours cooking and eating supper with my girls, giving Kylee a guitar lesson (she learned the E and A chords tonight), giving them piggy-back rides, playing hide-n-go-seek, "monster daddy", and playing/singing/dancing to a song Kylee and I wrote on the piano called "Daddy Robot". I'm TIRED!!! But what a great time.
As I sit here with Kylee and Abby, I think about my biggest goal in parenting (don't you have one?).
Here it is - making them into disciples of Jesus. No, it is not good grades, scholarships to college, or to be successful and drug-free. Those are nice but worthless in and of themselves. I ask God every day three things for them - "God, raise up my girls to be the greatest women of God of their generation. Secondly, help them to one day marry Godly men who love Jesus and His church. And finally, protect them from the evil one.”
What do you pray for your children? That their food is blessed? That they have a good night sleep? Not good enough!!!
Something else wrapped up in this discipleship of my children is this - I want to raise my kids to have a boring testimony. What do I mean? I want them to love Jesus and look like Him so much that they stear clear of trouble and all they have to say when someone asks about their testimony is "All I know is following Jesus." Too audacious? "Yeah right" you say? Wishful thinking? "Come on," someone might say - "that's setting them up for failure."
I know, I know. Unless you've been drunk off your rear end most of your life, been in jail, divorced 5 times, and had near death experiences you can't have a powerful testimony. WRONG!!! Someone out there is thinking, "I can't wait till one day to tell him 'I told you so.'" I know in the church we usually like the horror stories more than the ones where people always follow Christ. I understand. The stories with all the doom and gloom sound like more of a transformation and do connect with a huge crowd. But what about wanting the best for my girls and wanting to see them follow Christ wholeheartedly every step of their lives? I'm not saying they are perfect, sinless, or incapable of failure - I know better!!! While the horror story testimonies are powerful, they also break my heart. These stories bring me to tears. But what if they were my kids telling them? Wow! Sure, God can take our mess and turn it into a ministry. He can take our mistakes and turn them into miracles but I think He actually likes our steadfast obedience better - this He can use as an opportunity to reach many for Him. How? It is a statement that screams "JESUS IS NOT JUST WORTH COMING BACK TO - HE IS WORTH NEVER LEAVING IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!"
Why can't we raise kids who not just survive this cruel wicked world but actually thrive in it? Why can't we raise modern day warriors for Christ? Why not raise kids who are not influenced by the world but who influence the world? I mean, who wouldn't want to raise kids that change the world instead of it changing them?
I realize that I can't control my kid's choices but I sure can push them in the right direction. They have free will like anyone else but I'm going to model and show them the goodness, grace, joy, and blessings of serving the Lord in such a great way that nothing else will compare. They will be like Peter when he said, "Lord, where else would we go? You alone have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). When they compare what the world offers to what God offers the choice will be easy. Jesus is the Way, Truth and the Life! My bible says that if I bring them up in the ways of the Lord, when they are older they will not depart from Him (Proverbs 22:6). We will memorize and apply scripture together. We will love being His church and being with His church. We will confront sin. We will obey His word. We will love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength as the Harrison family. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! I will lead them to the cross and we will never look back.
Now, trust me - their testimonies won't be boring. They will be full of the activity of God and His mighty grace and works! Too much to ask for? Not according to my Bible and my God. He is capable of doing 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! (Ephesians 3:20-21). This is true for all our kids - throughout all generations- even yours. Start making them into disciples today. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you - they are yours - entrusted to you. Now that's one-on-one discipleship. Now that's fun! That's why we are parents.