"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3
The most recent children's lesson covered the first of the Beatitudes found in Mathew. As we delved into what it means to be "poor in spirit" we also spent a great deal of time talking about how we are imperfect and must rely on Jesus for perfection- not ourselves.
I was really hit with the truth that our culture teaches our children a sweet lie that goes against God's word. Okay, our culture certainly teaches many lies against God's Word, but the one that tackled me today, is one that I am guilty of teaching to my own children.
This lie is one that sounds good. It is a sweet lie. It empowers and builds self esteem. What harm can it possibly do? We tell our children that they can be whatever they want, that if they try hard enough, they can do anything they put their mind to and that they can build a life where they can fully rely on themselves.
It sounds good right? I mean we want our children to have a good self-esteem, to achieve what they want and be independent. Yet, when we look at these ideas from a biblical perspective we find the opposite to be true. A bitter truth when compared to that sugary sweet feel good lie.
I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Gods word instructs us to rely on him, not on ourselves or our own understanding.That is the truth. A truth that might taste bitter if we are teaching our children that self reliance is to be sought after. How easy it is to miss the " through Christ who strengthens me" part of the verse when we apply it to our lives and our children lives.
Facing the truth compels me to make a conscious effort to teach my children that apart from God, they can not achieve the fullness of Gods perfect plan for them. Apart from God, they are seeped in sin and no amount of effort will make them perfect, blameless or sinless. I want them to understand that they are not in control. Not an easy thing accept for this adult, much less a child.
Now, I know this is going to sound wrong to some people- it even sounds a tiny bit wrong to me at first glance, but I don't want my children to be self sufficient. I want them to be God sufficient. I don't want them to strive for perfection. I want them to embrace that they are created in God's perfect image. I don't want them to believe that they can do anything. I want them to believe that God can do anything and he can use them to do amazing things. Oh, and I don't want my children to be whatever they want to be either. I want them to have a desire and thirst to be whatever God has called them to. I don't want them to see the truth as something bitter but as something that will set them free.