Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast Episode 029 - Blameless Before Christ
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #029 – Blameless Before Christ
Thank you for listening to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast. My prayer is that you and I will parent with purpose and confidently connect with Christ and our children moment by moment.
We brought our middle daughter home from China eighteen years ago. I have such beautiful memories of how deeply I longed to raise her for Christ before we ever brought her home. In fact, God began working on my heart years before we even knew we had a baby in China. It’s ironic, because my husband and I were perfectly content that we had raised two children, a son and a daughter. We knew we were entering a new season in our life since they had both graduated from high school. We weren’t sure what it would be like, but we had raised children starting at the age of eighteen and we were still young.
Well, you know that saying, “but God?” That definitely applies here. I’ve always been one of those people who critically examines myself. Let me explain. For example, when I was young my parents only had to say, “we are very disappointed in you.” The spankings or groundings that I received when I was in trouble were nothing to compared to a stern look of disapproval or hearing that I had let them down.
So after we had raised our first set of children, I would sometimes mentally review our parenting years in my mind. There were so many beautiful memories and times I thought we had done well as parents. There were also recollections of moments I wished I had handled differently. No one is perfect and I didn’t expect my life or parenting skills to be, but I like to learn. I like to grow. Most of all, I desire to mature my walk with Christ moment by moment. Because of the purposed growth I had in my relationship with Jesus by this time, I had become a different person than I was when I had two children by the time I was 21 years old.
How deeply I wished I had known Christ in those early precious years. I wish I had given my children a deeper knowledge of Jesus, but I didn’t even know Jesus until I was 22. I yearned to have known Jesus earlier and really matured my walk with Him quickly. Sometimes my mind would wander to tiny thoughts of how I would parent differently if I had a baby at that time in my life. By then I was around 40. It surprised me that I had these wistful urges to parent differently with a deeper connection to Christ. It certainly wasn’t empty nest syndrome. It was more of an awakening that God was stirring within me, not a craving for another child.
In my mind, I could see myself with a little girl and I thought of all of the things I would do differently. In hindsight, I now know that God was weaving many details together because He knew the plans He had for us and the plans for our future daughters. He was preparing a heart that thought it was finished parenting for the tasks He would honor my husband and I with.
A mother’s heart usually has many longings. As believers, we want our children to have and be the best God intends for them. We all know each day can bring trying times. Our intention may be to start and end the day with sunshine and roses, but events or mishaps occur that challenge or change the plans we made. Life interferes and if we are not eternal minded, we trade opportunities God intended with purpose for cheap versions of a worldly existence. We think it’s good. We can be perfectly happy, but we may not know we are missing a deep joy in our soul that gives God joy and honor. We miss opportunities to lift our child to the Lord and teach them the way to live a blameless life before Christ.
I know I was a good mother. But time and relationship with Jesus has taught me how to be a godly mother. There is no comparison. I want to continue to mature in the depth of my skills and wisdom as a mother parenting for the Lord. I desire for you to be a godlier mother, too. Our children desperately need Jesus. The instruction they receive from us is the direct line that will guide them to Him.
In the book of Philippians, Paul speaks to the saints in Christ who are in Philippi. His words in Philippians 1:8-11 are beautifully inspiring and I yearn for us as diligent, discerning mothers to listen to what he says.
The passage reads as follows, “For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledgeand all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Can you imagine saying these words to your children? Think of the godly power of placing their names individually at the beginning and then reciting this passage to them. Imagine praying these words over them, for them. The power of Christ would be at work to honor this prayer as you strive to parent with eternal meaning.
In this passage shared from Paul’s eloquent and loving letter, we hear great wisdom regarding the way we are to live as heirs with Christ. Let’s look more closely at the passage and break down the meaning it still holds for us and our children today.
1. The word “affection” used in this passage is the strongest Greek word for intense emotion, and refers to internal organs, considered to be the parts of the body that hold and react to intense emotion. This word selection indicates a generous, gracious love that encompasses the entire being of a person. Imagine Christ’s power behind you as you purposely raise your children to greatly long for Him and for them to see you doing the same.
2. “In knowledge” is also from a Greek word, depicting absolute, advanced insight, judgement, and understanding. This form of biblical love is deeply rooted and regulated in Scriptural truth. Exactly the type of teaching and training we should purpose to give our children.
3. “Discernment” references moral integrity and insight, as well as effective and efficient utilization of knowledge. This astute attentiveness analyzes and approves what is appropriate or amiss. As 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” This deliberate discernment seeks to determine what is good and what is evil. Oh, how we must long for God to give us the discernment we need to parent with these qualities in mind with our eyes, heart, and mind fixed on eternity and centered on building these character qualities with a focus on God in our children.
4. As the passage continues, the phrase, “approve the things that are excellent” allows believers to differentiate what is truly important to Christ and enables the right priorities to be established and endorsed. As we raise our children in this sinful world, we must endorse and endow them with excellence built on a foundation of godly principles and relationship that honors God through Christ.
5. To be “sincere and without offense” is the highest calling for believers to attain. Our lifetime should be spent in an attempt to establish this genuine standing before Christ. A believers and followers of Christ, the integrity we carry in our personal life is the purity others believe comes from Christ. All we are and do reflects Him. This is what we should desire our children to witness within us. As we build our relationship with Jesus, making it stronger day by day, the result should bring us closer to this goal and allow us to be a witness to our children of a goal for them to strive for as well. Our children see and understand what is truly important to us. It is critical that we mirror the character of Christ and the passion He carried for pleasing and honoring the Father.
6. The phrase “fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ” refers to what is produced within believers through our standing with Jesus and the Holy Spirit living within us. As believers, we have have been redeemed and transformed through Jesus and also receive ongoing transformation through the Holy Spirit, which is alive and at work within us. The day our child also accepts Christ as Savior and begins a personal walk with Him is the best day a parent can experience. To see the fruits of the Spirit building fruits of righteousness as they pursue Christ is a miracle we are privileged to see and participate in.
7. To the glory and praise of God” recognizes and highlights Paul’s desire (and what should be our longing) – to glorify our Father in Heaven. That we can help our children do the same is a beautiful blessing. Each of us who claim to be Christians must purposely exercise the same preparation and practiced discipline that Jesus did as He obeyed our Heavenly Father as we live and parent daily. We must establish godly priorities and mentor them to our children so that they can live with true integrity established through relationship with Christ. Our godly mentorship allows our children to discover, desire, and develop a maturing walk with Jesus that will bless them for eternity.
Philippians 2:14-16 says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
“Blameless and harmless” mean to live above blame or disgrace, a life of purity and dignity that is only found through salvation and relationship with Jesus. Humans tend to relate to other humans and follow the standards or cultural norms accepted, but believing mothers desire that our children follow Jesus as mentor and guide and live in ways that will cause them to be blameless before Jesus each day. This will take the proper attitude from us and our children. As we set the tone and temperament of our household, mentoring Christ as we mature our personal walk with Him, we prayerfully rely on God to work out the salvation of our children as we entrust and lift them to Him.
I love the words, “shine as lights in the world.” Before we even brought our middle daughter home as a baby, my husband and I prayed each day that we would raise her in pleasing ways to the Lord, that she would come to know Jesus as her Savior, and that she would be a shining light for Him. Do you know one of the most common compliments we receive for her? People tell us that she is a light.
Mothers, as you purpose to raise children who will carry a mind set for eternity with Jesus, pray specific scriptural prayers. Seek His words and pray His words over your children. Pray them for yourself and your spouse. God will honor every prayer that is within His will. God is not willing that any should perish and He deeply desires for your children to love and honor you because they cherish and obey Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, Your glorious light has the capacity to shine through us and into the hearts of others. Help us allow You to work through us. We are nothing without You. We thank you for the holiness and mercy You offer us and for the way You love us completely. Help us to see our children through Your eyes and heart. Enable us to carry Your mindset for eternity as we raise and care for them. Help us to stand blameless before You and model the character of Christ to our children and those we interact with. May this world be brighter because You are in us and we are actively and passionately pursuing You moment by moment. Father, thank you for teaching and growing us daily. May we never turn from You and only stay in the center of Your palm, attracting our children to You so that together we may stand blameless before You now and into eternity. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will sway them away from Christ. I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Parent and Connect With Eternal Perspective.