Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 036 Visible Reverence
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #036 – Visible Reverence
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
Today I’d like to start with a sweet story, but I’ll share hard truths, too. Let’s start with the part that warms my heart. My youngest child loves to walk through the house with her arm linked in mine. Actually, she would probably adore having our arms joined anywhere we go. As we were walking through the house the other day, we passed a large mirror. I glanced at it as we passed and saw the look of adoration on her face as she gazed at me with the most loving expression.
How blessed I am to be her mother. What opportunities God has given me through being the object of her love. I am truly thankful and make time to reciprocate her love in the ways she appreciates, which usually means one-on-one playtime. I try to show her how appreciated she is and how thankful we are to have her in our family. My biggest and most important daily goal, however, is to teach her to direct true reverence to God. As much as she loves me, and I appreciate being the focus of her adoration, I am responsible for teaching her how to love Him more.
As many listeners of this podcast know, I am raising my second set of children. While I feel I showed deep love and care to all of my children, modeling reverence for God and actively placing Him as my priority was not one of the qualities I yet carried. How I wish I had already developed a deeper walk with Jesus!
When I became a Christian in my early twenties, I was hurt by church members and let that affect my spiritual growth. While I loved Jesus, I slowly stopped reading my Bible daily and did not develop the relationship I should have in the timing I could have had. Although I talked to my children about knowing and loving the Lord, I wasn’t modeling an active adoration that translated to visible reverence for Him. Our house was unknowingly built on sand shoveled in by Satan as he deceived me in many ways, instead of being erected on the rock God calls us to use as the only foundation that will withstand the storms of life.
I am so thankful that my adult son follows Jesus. I know his walk would be different though, if I had known better and not let pride and foolish worldly wisdom trick me into thinking I was wise and following God in ways that were not what He had designed as best for me or my family. When we are not purposely maturing our walk through Jesus and becoming all He desires, we are cheating our children out of an inheritance God wants to hand them on this earth.
Knowing what I would do differently now, and have been given the opportunity to do through our second set of children, makes me more aware of what I see in the world today. I am not saying I am all wise and know all of the answers, but I have learned many lessons and have developed a much more mature walk with God over time. I am still grateful every day that I have my girls, and I am truly doing my utmost to relay a devotion for God to them, and also shine it to my son and grandson. Every time I fall short, I strive to take it to the Lord for His stirrings on where and how to rely on Him more fully and enable Him to do the work in me that is needed.
I see multiple ways our society has lost the desire to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. As our culture moves farther away from Christianity, I fear for the souls of our youngest and most vulnerable. The world does not seek Him in our way of life. Our lifestyles are wrapped more and more in obtaining frivolous items and spending more time comparing ourselves to others, while leaving us little time to connect with the soul God placed in us with and for great purpose. In fact, many people run from facing the inner thoughts and condition of their heart, which only compounds the issues they face.
Modern children are well-versed in and over-exposed to social media and peer pressure, and we, as parents, are losing more rights as the years pass. Children and teens are exposed or introduced to various issues much too young and are left to ponder and battle adult topics with the resilience and understanding of a child. We are at a major cross-road of moral and holy significance. Do we want our precious children, beautiful gifts from God who are entrusted to us for care, to be in the world or be a part of the world? There is such a distinct difference.
We are not meant to be a best friend to our children. We are their provider and protector first. As parents who seek to know, love, and follow the Lord, we must ensure that our number one priority is for our children to see us living with visible eternal perspective and for them to understand the meaning and significance of that calling. We must also teach them true love and purpose through Jesus, not what the world calls them to do or be.
This eternity-based decision starts with us. You and me. No matter whether we raise our family with a partner or alone, we are each responsible for our own individual walk with God. We have to make the decision that He is a priority for us. No more excuses. “Not enough time,” “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “After I finish this,” “The kids aren’t interested,” or “I think it’s just too late.” The excuses can go on and on. How about this one? “I’m doing okay. The kids seem fine.” That may be the most dangerous one of all. It’s time to allow God to awaken mothers and fathers to a revolution of freedom. True change, lasting change comes from God. Then everything else flows from this important relationship.
When our children see us grow an authentic and beautiful walk with God through Jesus and we strive to embody the qualities of Jesus and in turn, exhibit them in our life, true reverence is visible and impactful. When they see us obeying God, and they have been lovingly taught to develop a love and respect for Him, that honor is also extended to us as their parent. There is no such thing as the lie that society presents to us. The world tells us that teens act a certain way. I do not believe it. While teens undergo many bodily and emotional changes, there is no reason or excuse for them to act certain ways that stir disrespect or shallowness.
We must be connected to Jesus in loving, growing ways that allow us insight into our children. They should be growing beside us because it is a relationship we are actively nurturing moment by moment every single day. Our job, our responsibility is to ensure that we have introduced and modeled Jesus to them and we keep the communication lines open because we are developing lifetime relationships with the Lord and our precious child.
Today I presented my middle daughter with a tough question. I asked her to tell me what about my walk impacts her the most for the Lord. I thought she might have to take some time and get back to me, but surprisingly, she was able to answer quickly. Always painfully honest, and my deepest thinker, she usually takes time to ponder questions so that she gives the most accurate response possible. “Your wisdom and the way you give such straightforward advice,” she said, then continued with, “Also, the way you treat Dad and the way you treat us,” she smiled.
Although it sounds like I was fishing for a compliment, I wasn’t. Instead, I was looking for critical input to evaluate my performance and provide me with valuable insight. If I am not intentionally directing myself and my family toward Jesus in a loving, authentic way daily, I not only have to answer to God one day, but to I also answer to my family right now. I wasted earlier years of my life not focused with the deeper purpose I should have for God’s holy work in my children. I’m very thankful that the Lord opened my heart years ago and that He still continues to drop the scales from my eyes moment by moment. I see it almost as if I am a pipeline that flows from God to my child. I am the conduit or passage that enables Him to reach them in the most efficient way. I do not want to be a blockage in that journey.
Christians often debate on how to be a good witness. I believe we must start in our own homes. The love of Christ must be evident. It must be authentic. It must be active. Our children know whether we believe what we say, because of the actions they see us do. They see who we are. When we are genuine, we become credible, and so does God.
I am human, but I love Jesus. More and more daily. I crave Him and His work in me. The closer I move to Him, the closer He draws to me, just as His word tells us. The more I read and study His word, the more I understand and recognize Him. It is also the only way others will see Him in me. I try to pattern my beliefs and values after what I see in Christ.
Although I have acquaintances or family members who do not pattern their life in the same way, and do activities and have lifestyles that run contrary to those qualities, I try my best to love them where they are, just as I hope people love me where I am. When we have open discussions about those topics, I approach them from a Biblical standpoint and offer Jesus as a guide, not my opinion or interpretations. We are all human. The only way this lifestyle approach works is if I remain growing in Jesus and on my knees for guidance daily, and if they do the same. When we can discuss issues from the POV of Jesus and how He lived for us to pattern, we have a starting point for discussion and growth. I have to be able to listen when I am in the wrong, just as those around me must be.
One of the greatest problems of this generation is that we all want to do what we want and do not care about the consequences that may stem from it. We want it all and we want it our way. I do not want my children to grow up with that mindset or those habits.
I make mistakes daily. Because of Christ in me, I often recognize them quickly. When I don’t, He stings me with a gentle nudge inside my spirit that pierces my obstinance or cluelessness. He is gracious to point them out to me. I wish I could say He changed me and has made me free of errors, but since that is not the way life works, I have to continue growing through Him and allowing Him to continue molding and shaping me into a beautiful vessel that He can actually use for His purposes and not my selfish desires. The humbling I receive every time actually sharpens my walk with Him and increases my love and thirst for Him.
It all starts with developing and maturing a visible reverence for God through my relationship with Jesus and making sure I humbly recognize my place in the lives of others. I am not here for partaking in every whim and desire I chose, but for real and intentional purpose that God can only work through me. Your life has the same beautiful and meaningful value.
God has filled my spirit with such a strong inclination toward inspiring other women to focus on living with eternal perspective and to equip you to teach your children love and purpose through Jesus. Living in this way is the most impactful and fulfilling task we can complete in this lifetime.
The basic steps to begin molding and shaping your children to carry a reverent attitude toward God is to begin with three easy steps and grow from there.
1. Develop a personal and maturing walk with God through Jesus. Serve God humbly with the way we live, seek Him, and spend our time. Let our children see that God is worthy to be praised and made a priority. Hebrews 12:28 says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
2. Continue intentionally learning and growing in the Lord daily. Let our children see us study our Bible and study with them through daily Bible readings or lessons. They do not have to be long or complicated, but they do need to be enjoyable and consistent. Pray with and for our children. Let them hear us pray for them regularly and encourage them to pray for us. 2 Timothy 1:13 says, “Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching you have heard from me, with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
3. Remain rooted in the Lord and persistent over time. Keep your faith and reverence visible in words and actions. 1 Peter 3:2 says, “when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” Although this verse was originally used in the Bible to speak to wives who were new converts to Christianity and used for encouragement and training for them to remain steadfast for their husbands to see, I believe it applies for our walk in general.
Life is a series of habits, whether good or bad, that shape and mold our character and actions, as well as those around us. This also perfectly leads into 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let It be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
When we focus less on the distractions of this world and what advertisements and others push and influence us to desire, our true longings can be met and our children receive a mother who is much better settled and joyous to train them in the ways that will truly satisfy and provide.
It is not easy to live in this world, yet not be a part of it. Living with a visible reverence for Jesus that guides and shapes our desires is the foundation for building the life God aspires for us to have, and that deep down, every soul needs.
Some mothers fear it may be too late. Maybe you have not walked closely with God and wish that you could change what you have done or what you may be doing now. Until we leave this earth, it is never too late.
Begin where you are. Right now. God never leaves us and is always ready for us to move closer or come to Him for the first time.
Without a doubt, the best and most meaningful purpose I have held in this life has been raising my children and teaching them about Jesus. The relationships that stem from this step of faith and obedience is absolutely priceless and eternal. Considering that I never wanted children growing up, God has changed my heart completely. I am in awe that He entrusted two sets of children to me. I will never cease trying to honor Him with visible reverence that attracts my children and grandson to Him.
I would be honored to encourage your in your walk with Jesus or help you find ways to shape the life of your children around Him. If you have specific questions, please contact me through Instagram or Facebook. You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. and you can look forward to more resources available on my new website that launches very soon.
Father God, we thank you for the opportunity and privilege to know and walk with You. Thank you that you, God, the One who created each of us, desire a personal relationship with all who will humbly seek You. Help us to follow You in the ways You call and created for us. Shape us as women and as mothers to be who You desire us to and to visibly exude a reverence for You that shapes and molds future generations and calls them to bow in submission to You. Let me be one who allows You to make a difference through me. I pray in Jesus’ precious name, Lord. Amen.
Did you enjoy this episode? Would you like others to hear weekly encouragement and learn how to live with more eternal perspective? Can you think of a friend or family member who might enjoy encouragement? If so, please share this podcast with them and take time to leave a quick rating and review wherever you listen to this podcast. Until next week, keep looking Up and finding new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.