Parenting is a high and a happy calling. The problem isn’t that parents make mistakes (it’s inevitable as imperfect people); the problem is when we lose our vision for the high and happy calling that is parenting. Let us run after Jesus, and look toward our perfect Father for strength and guidance as we dive into week two of our sermon series, Parenting the Next Generation.
A major component of parenting is making sure that our children feel loved. There are two ways to experience love:
- Love that happens to us (it’s the warm and tingly feeling)
- Love that is intentional and purposeful (which is often more of a choice rather than a feeling)
- Intentional, purposeful love is the kind of love that transforms lives.
- Luke 6:32-35: “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
- God’s love is a love that prefers the other, and doesn’t just happen to us like a warm feeling that bubbles up and stays just for a moment.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
- We must, as parents, make the transition between loving our children because of a warm and tingly feeling to loving intentionally – even when it’s challenging.
If a child doesn’t receive intentional love, they might start to perform, prove, or seek it elsewhere. Of course, this is dangerous and destructive. Let’s look at 4 acts of intentional love:
- 1 John 4:8-10: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
- It’s from the perfect pursuer, God, that we learn to pursue our own children.
- Pursuit takes time and effort. It’s hard.
- We have to study our children, individually and intentionally, so we know what makes them more alive. Ask them, “How am I doing at loving you?”
- Romans 5:8: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- He encourages us when we do well, and He encourages us when we fail miserably.
- Psalm 138:3: “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” God is the strengthener of the souls of His children.
- The more our children ignore our encouragement, the more they need it.
- We aren’t only worthy when we do something worthy. We are worthy all the time.
- It’s the small things!
- Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
- God rejoices because of who we are, not just what we do.
- Mark 10:43-45: “But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus came to serve us, and He kept no record for it.
- He didn’t give us His life for His sake, but for ours.
There is no higher calling than to give away your life to prefer another person. Our children will know they are loved when we go from idea to implementation.
We love because He first loved us.
We meet every Sunday at 9am and 11am. We hope to see you at a service as we continue on in our parenting series!