Our series, “Train Up A Child”, has been a study of the principles of Christian parenting, and we are down to our last study together. But as the saying goes, ‘last but not least’. We have saved perhaps the most important principle to the end. And that is the principle of right motivation. How can we rightly motivate our children? Motivation is a very vital and potent tool to use in child training. It has potential however, not only to help a Christ-like character, but if wrongly used it has tremendous potential to encourage and strengthen selfish character traits. We have to be very careful then how we use the tool of motivation. And we need to ask ourselves, how is it that our Heavenly Father, our model, motivates us, His children. And then seek to copy His example. To apply what we have learned from His example to our parenting.
This is an especially spiritual concept, and because it is an especially spiritual concept, we need to pray for a special measure of Gods Spirit to enable us to understand. Would you kneel with me? Pray for yourselves and for me to that end.
Father God, again in the quietness of this morning hour, we bow before You to acknowledge that we are Your children and to acknowledge that You are our Father, the Sovereign Creator God of this universe. We come rejoicing in membership in Your family. And we come in needy children, in the name of our elder Brother, Jesus Christ. We have no right, except His, which is freely given us as a gift to approach You just now with this request. But in Him we come boldly and ask for His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Him Who is the Truth. We long to know the truth as it is in Jesus. That we might be set free thereby, from our own deceptive selfish hearts. Set free to understand, to will and to do Your good pleasure. None of those capacities are natural to us, to understand or to will or to do. We are totally dependent upon You for the supernatural power of Your Spirit. Grant it to us just now, I pray Father. Especially, as we turn our attention to this vital and key concept in child training. Help us to learn how You motivate us and then learn how to motivate our children likewise. Take possession of this poor earthen vessel Lord God, I pray. By creation and redemption and by choice, I am Yours. Use me to the uplifting of Jesus, and draw us all to Him. This is our prayer in Jesus’s name. AMEN.
The title of our study this morning, dealing with motivation, is found in 2 Cor 5:14,15 You know the verse don’t you? It may sound a bit different in the NKJ than it does in the KJ if that’s what you have. “For the love of Christ constrains us”, “the love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus; that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” Does our heavenly Father require obedience of us His children? Oh yes He does. But what is the motivation He uses. He requires obedience, but what is the motivation He uses? It is LOVE. “His love constrains us”, motivates us to obey, by denying self and living for Him.
Jesus put it this way in John 14:15 “If you love Me” what? “keep My commandments”. That motivation which is alone sufficient to enable us to obey in a way that is pleasing to our heavenly Father is Love. Obedience that springs from any other motive, is not true obedience. It is not acceptable, it is not pleasing. In fact it is repulsive to our Heavenly Father. 1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, and His commandments are not burdensome.” To obey God, is to love God. Thus we’re told that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:10). And how is it that we come to love Him? We come to love Him because He first loved us. This basic motive of love, which enables us to obey Him, to fulfill His requirement. Is not natural to us, but it springs up in our hearts, as we consider how much He first loved us. How great His love is, and indeed “greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” John 15:13.
Christ’s love for us, motivates us to please Him, to obey Him. Certainly our everlasting Father requires obedience of us His children. But as we come to understand and appreciate more fully His love for us, we love Him in return with an ever growing love. And we want to please Him. We desire to obey Him, knowing that obedience pleases Him. We come more and more then to delight in obedience as our privilege rather than to think of it as our duty and responsibility. We willingly even eagerly , choose to obey, not merely because it is required of us, but because it has been inspired IN us by His love.
This is how our Heavenly Father motivates us, fellow children of God. And this is how we must seek to motivate our children . Requiring obedience yes, but seeking to inspire obedience, by revealing to them a self-sacrificing love, that they might come to obey us, not because they have to so much as because they want to. Not because it’s required of them, but because our love inspires it in them. This alone can help them come to experience the true joy of obedience. And learning this basic principle is so vitally important for them in our home and in their relationship to us as their human authority figures. If they are going to rightly relate to our Heavenly Father, when they come to recognize His claims upon their lives. The highest and truest motivation for obedience is LOVE FOR OUR LORD. And it leads us to live no longer for ourselves, but for Him Who died for us, and rose again.
What are motives? Lets take a closer look at our subject of motivation, in this context. If we were to look up the word motive in the dictionary, we would find something like this. Some inner drive, impulse, intention, etc., that causes a person to do something, or act in a certain way, an incentive, a goal. Synonym – inducement, incentive. What are motives then? They are inner drives or impulses that causes a person to do something, or act in a certain way. That which motivates a child then, is that which appeals to these inner drives and desires, impulses. The degree to which they motivate the child, is the degree to which they appeal to these basic drives and desires, in the heart.
Now here is a vitally important point to grasp. Since our children are by nature selfish, to a greater or lesser degree, depending largely upon inheritance, what we passed on. Since our children are by nature selfish, the basic desires of their heart are for self-gratification, self-glorification. Are they not? Yes they are. Thus we must be very careful how we use motivational techniques. You see that, don’t you? We may if we are not careful be re-enforcing wrong tendencies and inclinations. Tendencies to self-gratification and self-glorification, selfish traits of character. This is an easy trap to fall into, because motivational techniques that appeal to the naturally selfish desires and impulses of the human heart, are apparently very successful.
You can get a child to get an awful lot done by promising him a piece of candy. But tell me, what are you appealing to? Self-gratification, selfishness. You may get him to behave, but are you developing his character thereby? You can get a dog to do all sorts of tricks by holding out a biscuit and that voracious appetite of his will get him to do just whatever you want him to do, so that he can inhale that biscuit, but are you developing character? No you’re not, now you’re not. Oh dear parent, we must beware then, how we use motivational techniques with our children.
The primary goal in child training is not just to bring them to comply to our behavioral expectations. The primary purpose and goal in child training is to DEVELOP CHARACTER. To develop character. How then can we properly motivate our children, so that we will develop and strengthen Christ-like character traits, rather than strengthening and developing selfish character traits? In this context, I think we need to remind ourselves, that the PRIMARY purpose, now please note the qualifying word there, PRIMARY purpose in using rewards or punishments in child training, is NOT to motivate. I want to repeat that. The primary purpose in using either rewards or punishments in child training, is NOT to motivate, though it may be initially be a factor, I grant that, but that must not be the primary purpose.
What must be the primary purpose, according to one of our preceding studies of using reward and punishment? It is to teach wisdom. To give wisdom. To teach cause/effect relationships. Right? Between the blessings inherent in obedience, and the suffering inherent in disobedience. That is the primary purpose for using reward and punishment, not motivation. To instruct in cause/effect relationships. This is an important lesson for our children to learn. However, it is not desirable to teach our children to obey, just so they will not get punished, and just so they will get rewarded. That moves into the motivation area. And we fall into a trap if we seek to motivate them to obey just so that they will save themselves from the punishment and win for themselves the reward. The primary purpose, again, of punishment and reward is to teach cause/effect relationships. The primary purpose of motivational techniques, is to bring our children to obey, because it pleases us, who they love. Because it pleases us, whom they love.
Yes Jesus, our everlasting Father, tells us, His children, if you want to enjoy blessings and avoid its suffering, “keep My commandments” (John 14:15) that aspect is there. But is that where He leaves us? Oh no, His most powerful appeal is, “If ye LOVE Me, keep My commandments”. “If ye love Me, keep My commandments”. So should it be dear parents, with us, as we seek to motivate our children. Use reward and punishment yes, primarily to teach cause/effect relationships, to give wisdom, but use Love, primarily, to motivate them to obey you.
My precious children, and oh how it warms this mans heart, when they come up to me and throw their arms around me and tell me, ‘I love you daddy’. Doesn’t that just do something to your heart? But do you know what I often do, when I hear those precious words? I say, I’m so glad, I love you too, but if you love me, if you really love daddy. What will you do? Do you know what they always respond? Cause they’ve been taught. ‘Obey daddy’. And what else will you do? Obey mommy. Why? Because daddy loves mommy, and the way you treat your mommy, is very important to daddy, because he loves her very very much.
We must constantly seek to motivate our children, to obey on the basis of love. Not on the basis of reward and punishment. In this context, lets consider that which motivates us a little more closely. Remember, that which motivates, is that which appeals to our basic inner drives, and desires. Now there are two sets of inner drives and desires, that are as different as day and night. As different as the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, as different as Christ and Satan. Two sets of motives, each of them have three basic desires and drives.
Lets consider first of all, and I want you to write on your paper, in two columns, parallel columns. The heading on one side is, impulses that motivate the carnal man. Parallel to that in the second column, as a heading, write, principles that motivate the spiritual man. Turn with me for the impulses that motivate the carnal man to 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world”, and here we have them listed. The three (3) basic impulses that motivate the carnal man. #1 “the lust of the flesh,” #2 “the lust of the eyes”, and #3 “the pride of life”. “The lust of the flesh” – that is sensualism. “the lust of the eyes” – that is typically materialism. “And the pride of life” – that is Egotism. Those are the three great religions of the world. The “isms” of the world. Sensualism, materialism, and egotism. These are the three basic fundamental desires and drives that motivate the carnal man. And the carnal man can be brought to do absolutely incredible things at the level of behavior, to fulfill these basic drives.
Now parallel to those three, under the heading, principles that motivate the spiritual man, what are they? There are three as well. They are found in 1 Cor 13:13 “And now abide” #1 – “faith” #2 “hope” and #3 “love” “these three, but the greatest of these is LOVE”. These are the principles that motivate the spiritual man. Now NONE of these are NATURAL to him, are they? They must be supernaturally created in his heart, and this is part of the re-birth experience. But it is to seek to develop these motives in our children that is the object of Christian parenting. And it is to seek to AVOID strengthening and encouraging the natural carnal motives, that is also the object of Christian parenting. We need to carefully ask ourselves then, what motivational techniques are we using, and what basic desires are they developing? Is it the impulses of the carnal man? Or is it the principles of the spiritual man?
You go back to your piece of candy. What on this list are you appealing to? The “lust of the flesh”, appetite. Oh you may get them to perform, but what are you strengthening and encouraging in them? A selfish tendency to self gratification. What about if you offer them a shiny new bicycle if for a whole month do something or another. What are you appealing to? The “lust of the eyes”, materialism. If you say, to motivate them now, mind you, I’m not talking about the use of inducements as reward to teach cause/effect relationships. Distinguish that with me. I’m talking about using inducements for motivation. That what we need to guard against.
What if we say to our children to motivate them, lets see who can get done first. Oh that one really works, doesn’t it? Because what does it appeal to? “Pride of life”, the desire for supremacy, the desire to be #1. To show everyone else up. Oh dear parent, do you see what we mean when we say that we must be very careful? Just because a motivational technique works at the behavioral level, doesn’t mean that we ought to be using it. Because it may well be strengthening and encouraging the very selfish tendencies that are theirs by nature. I wish we had the time, I would challenge you to consider how each of these Christian principles, particularly counteracts the carnal counter part. Give that some careful thought sometime. Ask yourself how faith counters the lust of the flesh. How hope counters the lust of the eyes. And the things of this earth grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and that glory which is to be revealed to us. Consider how love counters the pride of life, egotism. It’s a fascinating study to see how “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” are the Devils counterfeits for “faith, hope, and love”. The Devils counterfeits.
The essence of these carnal impulses is to gratify self, the object, the great object. The great object of the principles of the spiritual man is to glorify God. #1 column you can put that at the bottom of your list, to gratify self. “Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life”, to gratify self. #2 column put at the bottom of the list, “faith, hope, love” to what? To glorify God, to glorify God.
Brothers and sisters, we need to rightly use, motivational techniques and as soon as possible we need to teach our children the radical distinction between these two columns. And seek to lead them into the second. As soon as their young minds can comprehend, and their hearts receive the Spirit that alone can develop these principles within them. ED 190 “He” the student “should see how this controversy”, this is in reference to the great controversy between good and evil. “He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives;” Did you hear that? “how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives”.
What does Jesus say to us threw the lips of Joshua? “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). The impulses of the carnal man or the principles of the spiritual man. “Every act of life”, “reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives”. They are absolutely in opposition to one another, aren’t they? “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another”, Gal 5:17. They are totally incompatible, mutually exclusive. There is nothing in the books that you can do that will satisfy both the impulses of the carnal man and the principles of the spiritual man at the same time. There’s nothing. That’s why Jesus said, “you cannot serve two” what? “two masters”. You cannot. They are diametrically radically in opposition to each other. And it is the great controversy between good and evil that is at stake here. And we must lead our children, brothers and sisters, we must lead our children to be on the right side of this great controversy. To be motivated by the principles of faith hope and love, rather than governed by the impulses of the kingdom of darkness.
CG 201 “Every course of action has a twofold character and importance. It is virtuous or vicious, right or wrong, according to” what? “to the motive that prompts it”. Do you see how basic and fundamental motives are? They make all the differences in the world don’t they? “Every course of action has a two fold character and importance. It is virtuous or vicious, right or wrong, according to the motive which prompts it.”
AH 482 “sin lies in the motive which prompts to action”. Please recognize with me parents, that the same, one and the same action can be either right or wrong, acceptable to our Heavenly Father or repulsive to Him, depending entirely upon the motive that prompts it. The act of prayer, don’t we have the example of that between the publican and the sinner? The act of giving offerings those who dropped it in, for what motive, making lots of noise? What was their motive? Egotism. The pride of life. And the little widow that comes along quietly and gives all that she has. Same act, giving offering, but one was acceptable to God and the other was repulsive, why? Because of the motive behind it. One was in pride, the other was in self-sacrificing love. That makes all the difference in the world. And we must help our children come to recognize this difference.
God forbid that we should train up our children to do all the right things, for all the wrong reasons. This is the way that we diligently and carefully train up hypocrites. Is that not precisely what hypocrisy is? Doing all the right things, for all the wrong reasons. Why sure it is. What did Jesus say of the hypocrites, (Matt 23:27) “white washed sepulchres”. “Beautiful on the outside”. Oh they have their performance, their behavior down very finely tuned. “But inside full of” what? “dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” The motivation was carnal, corrupt. And though the performance was apparently beautiful on the outside, it was repulsive. It was repulsive.
Matt 7:22, 23, This has often caused me serious thought, and serious heart searching. “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not, prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who” what? “work iniquity”. Preaching, casting out demons, working wonders. Good things, aren’t they? What does Jesus call them? Works of “iniquity”. Why? Because of that which motivated it. Not love, but pride, it is repulsive to God.
God forbid that our children should discover that the good things that they do, are repulsive to God on THAT day. Lets help them recognize, as they’re growing up, that that which makes something beautiful and acceptable to us as parents, is the motive behind it. The motive behind it. We must require obedience, yes, but we must diligently seek to help our children to be motivated to obey by love. Not by the carnal impulses of their natural heart.
And as we have said, these motives, these spiritual principles, are only ours supernaturally, through re-birth. Through the activity of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” “A right spirit within me”. CG 515 “Teach the children that they must have a new heart; that new tastes must be created, new motives inspired. They must have help from Christ; they must become acquainted with the character of God as revealed in His Word.”
These motives that are desirable, are theirs only supernaturally, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We as parents, however, are Gods human agencies. And He uses us in the power of His Spirit, to help to prepare our children, to receive this new heart. And to come to appreciate and value the principles of “faith, hope and love”. Since motives make all the difference, I would recommend that we teach our children as soon as it is possible for them to learn how, to test and know their own motives. To test their own motives.
3T 507 “It is an important duty for all to become familiar with the tenor of their conduct from day to day and the MOTIVES which prompt their actions. They need to become acquainted with the particular motives which prompt particular actions. EVERY action of their lives is judged, NOT by the external appearance, but from the MOTIVE WHICH DICTATED THE ACTION.” Do you see brothers and sisters, fellow parents, how it’s so important for us to train our children to ask themselves, what motivated that action? As we do this we protect them from hypocrisy, from doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.
You see human nature, has a strong tendency to hypocrisy. Even when we are born again, we must constantly resist this tendency. And one of the best ways to keep ourselves from ignorantly , blindly, slipping back into hypocrisy, is to keep testing our motives. We need to help our children learn to do this when they are young. Examine their motives. Test their motives, let them know if they do the right things, for the wrong reasons. Though everyone else might be impressed, God isn’t. God isn’t. “God looks at the” what? “the heart”. Take them to 1 Samuel 16:7. Remember the story there. Samuel is looking for God’s anointed. All the handsome, tall, sons of Jesse come by, and God tells him no, I don’t look at outward appearance as man does, I look “at the heart”. I look “at the heart”.
Have them look upon their own hearts as well, and ask themselves these questions. Here are some suggested questions for testing motives. #1 – Would I act differently if no-one was watching? Challenge your child to honestly answer that question. You see how that can unveil to him, his motives behind his behavior. Or #2 – Would I still do this even if no-body ever noticed or appreciated me for doing it, or gave me anything as a reward. Would I still do it? Honest answers to these questions can be very revealing as to what is motivating us to do things.
COL 97, 98 “The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely–because he is required to do so–will NEVER enter into the JOY OF OBEDIENCE”. Isn’t that a remarkable statement? “The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation MERELY” there is a sense of obligation of course, but if it is merely, if that is all there is, because he is REQUIRED to do so, he will what? “will never enter into the joy of obedience.” Obedience is just drudgery and duty, it’s not the delight of his heart. I read on, “HE DOES NOT OBEY. Though his behavior might be in compliance, is that true obedience? No, “he does not obey”. “When the requirements of God are accounted a BURDEN because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a Christian life. TRUE OBEDIENCE IS THE OUTWORKING OF A PRINCIPLE WITHIN. It springs from the LOVE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, the LOVE of the LAW OF GOD. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to DO right, BECAUSE IT IS RIGHT –BECAUSE RIGHT-DOING IS PLEASING TO GOD.” There is your Christian motive. And that is what we must seek to develop in our children. To inspire them” to do right, because it IS right” and “because right-doing is pleasing to” mommy and daddy.
And by the way, brothers and sisters, if our children have not been inspired to love us, by our first loving them. Will it be motivational for us to suggest to them that obedience is pleasing to mommy and daddy? No, it won’t. Do you see how using Christian motives, requires as an absolute pre-requisite, a Christ-like love for our children? Do you see that? If there is no Christ-like love for our children, it will not elicit a love response from them and it will not be motivational to them to suggest that there obedience pleases mommy and daddy. So what, if they don’t love mommy and daddy.
I would suggest that the commandment to the child “Honor thy father and thy mother”, is just as much a commandment to the parents to be honorable, and to be worthy of that honor, and to inspire it. The “Joy of Obedience”, oh that we might lead our children into this experience. The joy of obedience develops as we come to realize not only our responsibility to obey, but as we come to recognize and experience a sense of privilege. Our PRIVILEGE to obey. As we grow from a sense of duty into a sense of delight. As we come to obey, not so much because of parental authority, but because of parental love. This is a growth process. And we must lead our children into it, as they grow to learn more and more fully, our love for them. They will be able to grow more and more fully into the joy of obedience. Because it pleases us.
It is this lesson that can enable them to enjoy life, not only in our home, but when we sent them out. CS 24, 25 “Seeking the good of others is the way in which true happiness can be found. Man does not work against his own interest by loving God and his fellow men. The more unselfish his spirit, the happier he is, because he is fulfilling God’s purpose for him. The breath of God is breathed through him, filling him with gladness. To him life is a sacred trust, precious in his sight because given by God to be spent in ministering to others.” “To him life is a” what? “a sacred trust, precious in his sight”. What is the number one cause of death among teenagers in our nation today? Is life a sacred trust, precious in their sight. Those who take it. What is the reason for that? They have not been helped to see the joy and the privilege they have of glorifying God, through serving Him in a self-sacrificing way.
You see, when life is spent on self, it is very unsatisfying. It does not bring true happiness. It may bring the pleasures of sin for a season, but there’s no fulfillment. Because those God-given desires that though sin has terribly damaged, are still there, and are not being fulfilled. Those desires to live for the glory of God. To live for the happiness of others. And as my grandfather used to tell me, ‘a man wrapped up in himself, makes a very small package’. And why not dispose of it, if it’s meaningless? But brothers and sisters, if we take off that wrapping, of being wrapped up in self, and come to experience the joy of giving we will discover that life indeed is precious. A sacred trust given us to glory God.
Christian motivation is not towards selfish rivalry, but in loving service to the glory of God. I read from ED 226 “Gods plan of life has a place for every human being. Each is to improve his talents to the utmost; and faithfulness in doing this, be the gifts few or many, entitles one to honor. In God’s plan there is no place for selfish rivalry. Those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12. Whatever we do is to be done “as of the ability which God giveth.” 1 Peter 4:11. It is to be done “heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23,24. Precious the service done and the education gained in carrying out these principles. But how widely different is much of the education now given! From the child’s earliest years it is an appeal to emulation and rivalry, it fosters SELFISHNESS, the ROOT OF ALL EVIL.” “Emulation and rivalry” , competition in other words.
Be very careful. Let’s see who can get done first, let’s see who can do the best. This is the surest way to set up a child, unless he happens to be very remarkably gifted, for utter discouragement in a sense of failure and no self-worth. If we motivate our children, through competition we destine them to be very very disappointed in themselves, unless they manage to get on top. And our children are gifted in different ways. We are not to compare ourselves, with ourselves. Did you hear that first line? “Gods plan of life has a place for EVERY HUMAN BEING. EACH is to improve his talents to the utmost; and faithfulness in doing this, be the gifts few or many, entitles one to honor.”
We must help our children realize, and nature is a good context, in which to do this, that as long as we are living up to the fullness of our God given ability to give glory to Him, THAT PLEASES GOD, and that pleases mommy and daddy. Take them out and show them a little tiny flower, and compare it to some beautiful big flamboyant flower and help them realize that God is just as pleased with this little tiny flower as He is with that one. Because this little tiny flower is doing all it can to give glory to God. And God doesn’t hold this little tiny flower for the capacities that He gave this big one. And as long as they’re doing their best with what they have, they are pleasing to mommy and daddy, and they are pleasing to God.
CG 54 “As the things of nature show their appreciation of the Master Worker by doing their best to beautify the earth and to represent God’s perfection, so human beings should strive in their sphere to represent God’s perfection,” And our sphere’s differ don’t they? Our sphere’s differ. That’s only determined by where we’re located but the size of that sphere is determined by the gifts that God has given us. And God doesn’t hold one of us responsible for what He holds another responsible for. But He does hold us responsible to use to the fullness of our ability by His enabling grace, the gifts that He has given us to give glory to His name. “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.” (Rev 14:7) And what does it mean to glorify God?
7BC 979 “To give glory to God, is to reveal His character in our own, and thus make Him known, and in whatever way we make known the Father or the Son, we glorify God” Do you see what we’ve done? We’ve come clear around, full circle. That’s what we started with. That, brothers and sisters, is the basic motivation that we as parents must have to seek to train up our children. To teach them to glorify God, to reflect His character in their own. And it is precisely this basic motivation that we must seek to instill in their hearts, that they too, might be challenged, motivated to glorify God in their lives. Help them to realize that God made them in His image, in every dimension of their being, they bear His likeness. The spiritual, the mental, even the physical. This is why they are told “to glorify God in their bodies, and in their spirits, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6:20). “Therefore, whether you eat or drink”, or whatever you do, dear son, dear daughter, “do ALL to the” what? “GLORY OF GOD”. “Do ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD.”
TE 19 (?) “That which enables us to give glory to God is the indwelling presence of His Spirit.” What is it that made the tabernacle, on the Sinai desert, glorious to the onlooker? It was the SHEKINAH. Which was the evidence of the indwelling presence of God. The Shekinah is a Christ-like character for our body temples. And that Shekinah, that glorious reflection of the character of God, can be ours only when the Spirit indwells us. But we must help our children recognize that the Spirit cannot indwell a defiled temple. And this is one of the most potent motivational tools to help them to care for their body temple, and to refuse to defile it.
TE 19 “The Spirit of God cannot come to our help and assist us in perfecting Christian character while we are indulging our appetites to the injury of health, and while the pride of life controls.” Do you see those carnal impulses, “lusts of the flesh, pride of life”? If those are in control, the Spirit cannot indwell, and we cannot fulfill our marvelous God-ordained destiny to give glory to God.
Parents, I submit that one of the most important concepts to teach our children, is that it is their divine destiny by creation, their blood-salvaged destiny through redemption to say beautiful and true things about what God is like. To reveal God in their lives. Challenge them then, in light of that marvelous privilege, to seek not for the lowest possible standard, but for the highest. Not to ask themselves, what’s wrong with, but rather WHAT’S THE BEST. What’s the best.
ED 296, 297 “Something better”, “Something better, is the watchword of education, the law of all true living. WHATEVER CHRIST ASKS US TO RENOUNCE, HE OFFERS IN ITS STEAD SOMETHING BETTER. Often the youth cherish objects, pursuits, and pleasures that may not appear to be evil, but that fall short of the highest good. They divert the life from its noblest aim…..To honor Christ, to become like Him, to work for Him, is the life’s highest ambition and its greatest joy.” Challenge them to set a high mark and then to press on, to press on, always pushing towards something better, the BEST. Challenge them to be everything they possibly can be, for their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
ED 18 “Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness–godlikeness–is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress.” “Something better“. Press on, press on towards the mark.
Oh parents, what a marvelous privilege God has given us, to raise children to His glory. May we seek every opportunity that affords us to encourage them to speak words of commendation when they are appropriate. Let us guard against sensor. Let us manifest our love to them, that it might inspire in them a desire to please us, and that they might transfer that love and that motive, to their Heavenly Father, when they come to recognize how much He loves them. Dear fellow parents, “Fear God and give glory to Him” in your parenting, “for the hour of His judgment is come”.
R&H Mar 18, 1902 “How terrible it will be in the last great day to find that those with whom we have been familiarly associated are separated from us forever; to see the members of our family, perhaps our own children, unsaved; …Then we shall ask ourselves the question, Was it because of my impatience, my unchrist-like disposition; was it because self was not under control, that the religion of Christ became distasteful to them?” Oh God forbid that we should have to ask ourselves such questions.
Parents, I challenge you, as we “lead on softly” with our children to the kingdom of God, lets follow the example of the children of Israel as they came back to the promised land, and what is it? Ezra 8:21 “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahave, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones,” I challenge you to proclaim a fast, to seek from God the right way for you and your little ones. And what will He do? Verse 23 “So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.” As we press on to our promised land, to the New Jerusalem, should we be any less earnest to know the right way? No. And will God be any less willing to answer our prayer? Oh, no. He will do so.
Parents, on THAT day, when we stand before the throne of God to account for His heritage, may God, by His enabling grace, enable us to say with Joy, UNSPEAKABLE JOY AND GRADITUDE, HERE AM I, AND THE CHILDREN WHOM THE LORD HAS GIVEN ME. Shall we pray.
Father in heaven, oh how awesome the responsibility, how tremendous the privilege of raising our children to Your glory. By Your Spirit, through obedience to the principles of Your Word, enable us to lead on softly to the kingdom. That we as parents, with our children, might cast our crowns to the feet of our Eternal Father, and say thank You Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.