It seems like every place I look, people are trying to water down the Bible and make "religion" work for them and their agenda. I notice this a lot online, some of the blogs with the largest amount of "followers" are serving up a message of- watered down "god" with a side of love. I get it, many people were raised in churches that made them feel judged, where they found people who were not authentic, where church was boring and stale. I get that we live in a society where we don't want to offend anyone and where we want to make everyone comfortable. I simply just do not believe that you can pinch out the parts of the Bible that you find warm and comfy and leave the rest to the idea that man wrote the Bible, so it is flawed. I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and each and every word in that divine book has a purpose- comfy or not. I dream of a passionate, unapologetic generation of people filled with the Holy Spirit who are intentionally raising our children to be fearless followers of the all-loving, all-powerful, adventurous, exciting, AUTHENTIC God Almighty! It is our JOB to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6) Here are a few things I plan on teaching my girls DAILY that I know as truth. They are based on my years of studying the Bible and walking with the Lord- I have SO much to learn and I am excited and expectant for God to teach me and grow me in His truth. I pray for wisdom, insight and an eternal perspective for all of us!
10 Truths to Pass on to my Children:
1. To know a truly AUTHENTIC follower of Jesus Christ filled with the Holy Spirit is totally different than knowing a religious church-goer. (beware of the Pharisees)2. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) NO ONE has all of the answers on this earth and everyone is flawed- if you want a truly divine and flawless relationship- Jesus is IT!
3. We are becoming a generation that is lukewarm, I know one thing for certain- I do not want to be spit out of God Almighty's mouth! "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16)
4. The Bible is the only book that you can passionately study for a lifetime and learn something new EVERY TIME you open it- that is because it is divine and God-breathed! "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16) Notice how it says ALL SCRIPTURE- not "the scriptures you find comfy and inspiring"
5. It took me a long time to learn this...Christianity is not about "getting to heaven". I spent a lot of years trying to make sure I was in good standings with God to make sure my "ticket to Heaven" was still booked. I didn't want to go to hell..that was for sure! Feeling guilty when I missed church, feeling guilty when I didn't have a quiet time, feeling guilty when I popped "Bone Thugs and Harmony" in my CD player. As I have grown in my faith, I realized that it is not about Heaven and Hell. When I accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and savior I was marked "in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit" (a) and I do not see anything in scripture that says he will take His spirit away- quite the opposite. So, once we have that settled, we are free to live in RELATIONSHIP with God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. It is fun, exciting, hopeful, freeing, loving, never disappoints, never abandons, never hurts- we are able to experience a glimpse of heaven on earth by walking in relationship with Him and our family of believers. Sure, there are jacked up members of the family- but the head of our family is FLAWLESS! (just to clarify- when you are walking in relationship with Him you love him with your mind, your time, etc... and you no longer need/want those things that made you feel guilt (church is a blast, quiet time is fuel, and music is worship)- if you are in true relationship He takes over everything- or that is the goal! Losing your salvation isn't really even an issue if your focus is on Jesus Christ and living your life according to His example (John 3:16)!)
6. It's not about us...It is about God- period. God did not create us to gain glory- we were created to give God glory- “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. (Isaiah 42: 8) There is freedom when you realize that life does not revolve around you..serving God is freedom from self and it is a blast to serve with the creator of the Universe- spoiler...He always wins..."I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
7. You want freedom? True freedom? God is freedom. The "rules" in the Bible are all stated so that we can live in freedom from the bondage of this world- from ourselves. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1) "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (b) To walk with God is freedom from fear, guilt, insecurity, pride, etc.. To know that God has a plan for you (Jer 29:11), He will give you the desires of your heart (Ps 37:4), He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:8) , He will direct your path (Prov 3:6), He is with you wherever you go (Josh 1:9), He loved you enough to DIE for you- there is nothing that is out of his jurisdiction- all we have to do is trust and obey- that is a lot easier than worry or fear! The Bible says "Do Not Fear" 365 times- that is one for every day! (not an accident!)
8. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness." (James 3:17-18) Enough Said!
9. It IS about love, God IS love- but out of our love for God we obey His commands and allow him to take over every part of our lives- dying to our flesh (c) and humbling ourselves before our creator. "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4: 7-12)
10. We are not supposed to look like the world- we are not supposed to blend in- we are to be transformed looking more like our savior than the world. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2) It might not always feel comfortable- it might not always make us popular- it might not always win us elections- but it is worth it.
Here are two quotes from Jesus Christ himself:
"He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before God’s angels. But the one who denies me before men will be denied before God’s angels." (Luke 12:8-9)
In conclusion, I know with all of my heart that if we continue to press in to the Lord and seek Him and His will we will see truth and we will pass that on to our children. If we are diligent to spend time with Him and study His word, he will reveal himself to us in EXCITING ways! Please join me in praying for those who have been given great influence- that we would not be lukewarm but passionately seeking God and passing that on to the next generation. When I see those blog posts that give me a pit in my stomach, I want to turn to prayer for them- for them to realize their influence and to use it for the Glory of God Himself- because that IS what it is all about! Thanks for hangin' with me on this one!
Scripture mentioned from above:
(b) "Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." ( 2 Corinthians 3:12-18)
(c) "Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:12-13)