God blesses His people with authority. But how well are we wielding it? One of my high school teachers was disciplining her children over a broken vase, not sure which one had broken it, she told them that God had been watching and knew which one of them had done it. The daughter told her mom that God hadn’t talked for a long time and she was counting on that to continue. What we think about authority makes a difference in our relationships.
1 Peter 2:12 says that we are being watched.Our actions often result in how others judge God. This is true, especially with children. Look at the human relationship metaphors God gives us in His word to help us wrap our minds around His authority. He compares Himself to sovereign King over submissive subject, master over servant, judge over convict, commander over soldier, mother over new born, father over son, and the list goes on. How we understand authority in our world affects how we view the authority of God in our lives.
As Christians, we have forgivness for sin through faith in Christ. Christ living through us makes it possible to live well in in relationship with God. God is so other than we broken sinful humans.Even with all the metaphors, we fail to grasp how His grace and mercy intermingle with His justice. While bent toward believing only what we can hear, touch, feel, taste and see, we are called into relationship with God, who, for the present, chooses to limit our ability to experience Him in this way. These human metaphors should not just bring us clarity about His authority but also remind us that man was made in His image so that in our authority we can be like Him.
Born into this world with a sinful nature, even babies have a natural bent on rebellion toward authority. Still, God has placed in children the ability to respond in amazing trust. God confirms this in Matthew 18:1-4 (NET Bible)
How many times will a toddler share their food or favorite toy with someone they trust? Do you think that is because they are hoping to gain favor with the authority in their life? No! They want to give food because they have been lovingly given food. They are mimicking what they have seen. They want to give a toy because a toy was given to them. We love God because He first loved us.
The most important relationship we develop in this world is with God, but we aren’t born seeking it. In His great wisdom, God places us, as Christian parents, front and center as one of the means of His grace. At first, we require little and most demands are met. However, at some point in life this all changes. How Christian adults wield authority over and make demands of a child will influence that child rightly or wrongly about God’s authority. How are we doing?
I highly recommend that every parent and teacher read Paul David Tripp’s newbook, Parenting, 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. Learning better how to wield our authority will revolutionize our homes and churches.
Dr. Tripp asserts, “Children come into the world as self-sovereigns, In the heart of each child is a natural rebellion to authority. When I act in a selfish, demeaning, hurtful, way in exercising my authority I am actually deepening their rebellion toward authority. “He goes on to say, “Your job is to make authority a beautiful thing, a gracious thing, a loving thing, a protecting thing, a wisdom giving thing, so this child will grow to be thankful that there is authority in their life. A teenager has to be groomed as a child if they are to come to be thankful for authority.” He closed with a prayer that we would surrender comforts, plans, sense of needs, our very selves to God so that in turn we can “be the look on His face, the tone of His voice, the touch of His hand in the lives of our children.” I am adding this to my daily prayer list. I hope you will too!