Mutually Exclusive Exhortations from the Pulpit?
The Bible warns us to fix our eyes on Jesus. This puts those who look up to others in the faith - who might be just a bit further along the spiritual road - into a precarious position. Further confusing are seemingly mutually exclusive exhortations from the pulpit that alternatively warn Christians to not compare themselves to other Christians and instead consider more carefully how they measure up in the eyes of the Lord; but at the same time they encourage disciples to seek advice and input on everyday matters from other, more mature, Christians. What is the Christian parent to do?
It is highly unlikely that most Christian families dream of having a marginal faith and barely hanging on to their beliefs. Who does not want to be the parent of the next faithful minister, evangelist, women's ministry leader, youth pastor, or future faithful head of a Christian family? What parent would not delight in the idea of not only seeing their little ones grow up in the faith and marry a faithful Christian, but then also witness them raise children and grandchildren who will also be faithful to God?
Dig for Inspiration
Can you imagine what could happen if your family could mimic the miracles and faithful victories of other Christian families in your congregation? What if you had the chance, as a Christian parent, to pick the brains, observe the interactions, and have quiet times with one or more of those faithful Christian parents who have already baptized their children, saw them wedded to faithful Christian spouses, and maybe even saw their grandchildren baptized into Christ? Would you jump at the opportunity?
Do Not Let "Good" Sin Go to Waste
As Christian parents know from the Bible, Jesus was neither married nor did he have children. This makes it hard to glean proper parenting help for the toddler who hits, the preschooler who does not want to share, or the middle-schooler who has some problems with being responsible. Granted, there are some ways of finding help in scriptures for such problems, but would it not be more helpful to work directly with one of these faithful parents who - for the sake of argument -- are heads of a faithful family?
You may not have that opportunity, but you can reap the same benefits by taking the time to read books they penned. Study their ways of life before becoming Christians, learn about their sins, and also familiarize yourself with their faithful victories. Study any information that you can get your hands on pertaining to that family, its struggles, and also the means of overcoming challenges and dealing with common problems.
To reconstruct the faithful examples that you see in some of these other families, you have to study them and strive to be like them with respect to using faith to overcome challenges and to stand up when it would be so much more convenient to simply sit down and give up. Use them! Research the family life of a faithful family that is similar in makeup and size to your own. This is an effective way for developing your own course of action when charting a way out of a mediocre Christianity or so-so faithless family life. In business, this is a practice that is oftentimes referred to as "best practice benchmarking."
Staying True to Christ
One of the most important things to remember when you are doing this research is that you want a Christian family that is uniquely yours and completely in tune with the plan God has for you. Therefore, borrow the best practices of faithful families but at the same time incorporate them in the bigger picture that God is revealing to you on a daily basis as you pray and read the Bible. Only then can you harmonize the seemingly mutually exclusive messages you hear from the pulpit.
About Sylvia Cochran
Sylvia Cochran - Christian Parenting Corner and Common Sense Parenting and Parenting By the Book Christian Parenting Book Reviews
Sylvia is a seasoned writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years, and has for the last four years taught in small groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money. Sylvia also provides Free Online Courses at Suite 101. Sylvia's goal is to provide help and encouragement to raise the next generation of Christ-followers.
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