Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Five Things NOT To Teach Your Children About God

There are lots of great churches, Christian schools and books out there that can help us with the fundamentals of our faith that we need to teach and emphasize at home. Unfortunately, I've noticed a number of things that seem to be subtly or unintentionally passed on in our fellowships and families that are way off the mark.

Let me suggest five.

One, God's ultimate desire is to make us happy. Well, I'll be the first to admit that living for God does bring great happiness and blessing (Matthew 5 and the Beatitudes, for example) but that is not His main goal. He wants us to mature, to be strong in our faith and to ultimately do what glorifies Him. That's why He doesn't always take away the tough times or necessarily find us a parking place ahead of someone else.

Two, serving God gets us closer to Him and eventually more favor from Him. Yes, we are to commit ourselves to Him with all of our hearts, but our serving is to be a result of our love for Him, not to get that love. We can't get any closer or further from Him once we're His child.  Just because we're doing mission work, giving time every week at a soup kitchen or spending great amounts of money for the kingdom doesn't make us any more spiritual than the family in a third world country who loves Jesus but is just trying to stay alive every day.

Third, if we mess up enough, God will finally give up on us. I talk to people every week in my counseling office who feel that way.  They think that because of their mistakes, their spouse's leaving, their kids messing up or whatever, God has now passed on them in terms of using them for something that matters. But Psalm 57:2 reminds us that God will continue to fulfill His purpose for us.

Fourth, the more earthly success we have the more worthy and important we will be in His eyes and others eyes. So often our children who play in a sport or do an  activity almost every day of the year begin to think that their doing well in those events makes them extra special.  And while kids can learn a lot about themselves and life through sports, music and drama they're not better or worse as a person whether they participate or not.

Fifth, God is only about love or only about rules. God actually cares about both. He loves us unconditionally as no person can ever do. His love is greater than any sin, past or mistake.  However, He gives us rules to help us live well and avoid things or people that will eventually harm us.  Every wise parent will model having both love and healthy guidelines in their home.

So if you're teaching any of the above, stop and take inventory.  Begin to explain and model otherwise.  If your kids follow a God who really isn't the way you make him, it's going to be your fault. Don't live with that.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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