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June 2, 2012 / jamiedayton

Teaching Moments: part I – Who’s Friend Are You?

 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.

Deuteronomy 11:18

am  was addicted to parenting books. I want to know that I am doing the very best for my children and raising them to have healthy lives- by healthy I mean physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I have read both Christian based and secular books. I take what I think is useful and try to apply it to my parenting. However the Bible is not like these other books. You can’t just take what you like out of  it and ignore the rest, it has to be read in its entirety and the WHOLE thing has to be applied to your life.

I was not raised in a christian home (have I mentioned this before?) we did believe in God I suppose, but we surely didn’t live Godly lives,  I don’t even think we had a bible in our house. So obviously we didn’t read it or try to apply any of it to our lives.  After becoming a Christian in my 20’s I was still such a young Christian and wasn’t very aware of the fact that believing meant transforming, and changing. I thought I could continue to live life the way I wanted, doing what I liked and made me feel good, just having the assurance of heaven over hell. Not a bad gig really, until I met God. I really met Him. While I was serving in the Army during the Iraq war in 2003 ( did I mention I spent 8 years in the Army? I did.) being so close to where it all started really had me seeking Him. The fact that the land was real, it wasn’t just stories in a book; I stayed a night in Ur where Abraham was born. I spent a few days in Babylon where David was saved from the lions and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were protected from the fire. I drove past Babel where they tried to build a tower up to heaven, and up and down the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, two of the four rivers that ran out of Eden. I felt like I was walking on Holy ground, I sought God and He came. Then I began to change. I realized believing was so much more than just believing, it was KNOWING. I was starting to get to KNOW God.

I am still getting to KNOW God.

After having just finished Beth Moore’s James study, something really stuck with me. James 4:4 says

 You adulterers![a] Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.

This means that if you are not doing Godly things, living Godly lives then you are friends of the world, having an affair with the world, cheating on God and ultimately HATING Him, Doesn’t that scare you just a little bit LOT.

So I decided I am going to teach my children this. It is not okay for them, me or anyone who professes faith in Jesus, to do what we want to because we feel like it. Not unless you want to become an enemy of God. I have always told them about the scripture verse from Ephesians 6 :1

Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.

 when ever they disobey I remind them of this, telling them that Jesus says this (they respect Jesus a lot  more than me!)

Now, let me explain something real quick, Jesus loves us, we all know that right, I mean the bible tells us so. I definitely want my children to remember this more than anything. But I have come to the realization that, just as important as it is for my children to always know that God loves them no matter what, is that there are things and people in this world who hate them also. I tell my children about satan. I think they need to know that there is a war going on and satan is the evil guy and Jesus is the good guy. They can definitely understand that, just apply it to any Disney movie or cartoon that they watch, good vs. evil. Life is not all peace, love and rainbows. Sorry, it just isn’t. The sooner they can grasp that,  knowing that they are apart of the ultimate good guy team, when they love Jesus, they will be on the side who will always kick the bad guys butts, the better (good always wins!). Oh how I wish I was taught this at a young age. I think I would have an easier time overcoming a lot of my faith issues if I always knew this (yes I have faith issues, so do you, don’t deny it). It is so much easier to explain to my child who has been hurt by a bully that the boy just doesn’t know Jesus and that is why that boy did those things, not that he is a bad boy, he just doesn’t know how to love because he doesn’t have Jesus to teach him. Ephesians 2:1-3 says :

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.[a] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

Back to obeying and disobeying.  See God commands us to obey Him, He commands our children to obey us, who obey Him. In James He says if we disobey Him we are His enemy and in Ephesians He tells us that satan is the spirit that is at work in our hearts when we refuse to obey Him and when we disobey Him we are in fact obeying satan (did you get all that?).  So after speaking about this with my good friend and mentor, I have started to apply this to my parenting skills, call it harsh if you want, but it is the truth. When ever one of my sons (my daughter is still to young to disobey, but I am sure she will and I will tell her the same thing) disobeys or does something hurtful or wrong and they know it is wrong, I ask them who are they friends with. That son will reply Jesus, then I will tell them how what they had just done was not being a friend of Jesus but a friend of the devil. They know he is the bad guy and don’t want to be his friend so they repent, change their attitude,and begin to obey.  It really is fascinating to see the lights come on, truth set in and the darkness run! I rest assured that as they grow in their faith walk with Christ they will always measure things up to this one thing, friends with God or friends with satan.


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