Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The God of Your Father... (The 40 Year Old... Pt. 2)

I painted the last post with broad strokes of what it meant to be a man. Actually, it focused more on what the man crisis in our church looked like and what our children don't learn as a result of man-boys that happen to some how receive this amazing blessing called a family - you can read it HERE. So, over the next few post I'll try to nail down a couple areas that I feel like God has challenged me on in the past. Over the last few years He's revealed these things to me about being a man.

Over the last year God has challenged me to pray this prayer over my boys, "God, I pray that my boys would know you. That they would come to know you, not as the God of their father, but as their God. I pray that your Holy Spirit would capture their heart and draw them to you and I pray Lord Jesus that they would know you intimately as THEIR savior." I've prayed it over them privately in my devotional time, in their room after they've fallen asleep and while praying with them. They know that my hope for them is that they would have a personal and intimate experience with the God that I lovingly serve. That's where being a man starts...at the feet of Christ (really that leads into submission...SPOILER ALERT - that's the next blog).

The way God prompted me to pray that prayer for my sons was through my devotionals. What? Does that mean God speaks to you through the Bible? Uh...YES! I started to realize that a lot of Israelites referred to God as the "God of Abraham" or the "God of our fathers".  As I read, I started to see that there were some very specific points at which the "God of Abraham" became Isaac's God and the "God of Isaac" became Jacob's God. In Genesis 26:3 God confirms He is with Isaac. Then in Genesis 28:13 God confirms He is with Jacob. Actually, I think the point at which God became Jacob's God was after he wrestled Him in Genesis 32, at which point his name was changed to Israel. Prior to that in Genesis 32:9 he prays, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac..." But later, in Genesis 33:20 "he built an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel" which means "God, God of Israel."

This happened with the Disciples in the New Testament too. During His ministry, Jesus was referred to by many different names and God was also still called the God of Abraham at times. But in John 20:28 after touching Jesus' wounds, Thomas exclaims, "My Lord and my God!" That was his intimate experience; that's when Jesus became HIS God.

So I started noticing that there were specific moments when God interacted with people on an individual level and became their God. That's what I want for my boys. However, I did not notice that without noticing that until He had that "moment" with them, each son still knew God. They knew God because they saw that their fathers knew God. They knew God's voice, what He was like, what He expected because they saw their fathers interact with God. They knew to follow God because they saw their fathers follow God.

Your kids watch what you do. Often times the faults we see in our kids are simply reflections of us. That doesn't mean that if you do everything perfect that your kid will grow up perfect. Even then, your kid will still make the decisions they're going to make and you can't stop that. But, what you reflect matters. Anger reflects anger, hate reflects hate, cynicism reflects cynicism and it's the same with love and patience and God.

As men in the church we should do everything possible to reflect Jesus to our children. It should be our goal to prepare our children for an intimate experience with God. We should teach them what His voice sounds like, what His character is like and what He expects from us. That way, when He calls them to Himself they know it's Him and can answer. Then He become their God.

Trying to be more like Jesus,
Bruce