As we get into parenting here with our little/big guy, we’re beginning to really take stock of our friendships and thank God for so many wonderful examples for our son to follow in the years ahead. We’re grateful for parents and relatives who prize Christ, and we look forward to using our friends and family members as examples when instructing our son. This is a sobering thought when we think of how important it is for us to live exemplary lives of seeking the heart of God. It by no means indicates that any of us believers or non-believers will do perfectly, but in our society, we have come to believe that truly anything goes in one’s private life at least. The problem? There really isn’t such a thing as a private life.
Okay, so I’m saying this partly for shock value. It’s true though. The more I contemplate my life before God, the more I’m sobered to realize that every moment of my life matters, every thought, every emotion, every dream, every hope. Where our hearts are soaking in the quiet or more alone moments of our days is where God notices our affections the most. Do we consider not just the fearful aspects of this reality? The joyous aspects of this reality are so worth meditating on whether when life is busy or slow. Last night I helped my not-feeling-so-well bride get to bed and put my son down. Then I sat outside on the porch and thought about this post for a while. I thought about how I have so much enjoyment knowing God is near and present for even our most exhausted or most struggling moments of life. He’s near when we are sorrowful or deeply grieved over our sin or the consequences of our sin. He’s near when we are affected by the sin of others too.
To wrap up, I’ll get back to good, bad, and horrible examples in our kids’ and our own lives. Passive living is where this really can go from bad to worse. The more we sit back and listen to our emotions, the more we will drift toward hanging out with bad examples just to feel good about our emotional leanings for comfort and pleasure. As we realize the benefits of intentional seeking of Christ in every moment and knowing His good pleasure at work in our lives, we begin seeking out others who are doing the same and calling them our close friends. We will spend time with anyone and call them friends, enjoying them and truly caring for them and knowing their encouragement and enjoyment of us. But, we will be intentional about who our children are being pointed to and who we are looking to for being good examples.
We run into wonderful people all through this life… Wait. Wonder-full? How about nice. Nice is a better word. We run into really nice people of all walks of life, but if we want to really enjoy people, we have to be submitted to Jesus Christ. There, in that trusting place of rest and enjoyment of our Savior, we come to realize the treasures people are but we also are wary to lean heavily on people’s opinions too quickly. We get gently choosy when it comes to choosing examples for ourselves and for our children, and we begin focusing on giving instead of getting when it comes to most relationships. It is truly a happy and joyful thing to give, give, and give some more in our day-to-day walk with Christ and His people and the lost. While giving, we will encounter friends we believe are living this same pattern of giving over getting and submitting to Christ instead of fearing people’s opinions. Those will become our closest friends and those we let our guard down for the most quickly. Yet, even then, we come to realize that none of even our closest friends will live up to the Example Christ is for us of the true joy of submitted living under God. Jesus Christ showed us the deepest joy available to humanity when He submitted Himself to the Father and died for the removal of our sin.
The joy available in this meditation upon Jesus’ death is beyond words. It’s a joy that peals back our pride and division. It’s a joy that unites communities around the cross of Christ to seek the heart of the One Who died to give us eternal life together with Himself.
Our Savior is our Truest Friend and sticks closer than even a brother. He seeks our hearts daily in the still and busy moments of our day, and He is successful in showing us love like none other.
Thank You, Savior, for showing us that inner voluntary self-denial. Thank You for making room to receive and embrace us. Thank You for turning to us and showing us compassion and seeking our souls for an eternal celebration of You so so far from here and now.