31-Day Parenting Devotion
THE PERFECT GOAL FOR YOUR CHILD
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
What do you hope your child will be after he grows up? Many Christians would say they hope their child loves God and others more than himself (Matthew 22:36-40). Those are two great goals, but what do they mean?
If you told your child that you wanted him to love God and others more than himself, what would he hear? Would he know what to do? Maybe the better question is, how are you training him to accomplish the “love God, love others” goal?
The way we implement the Matthew 22:36-40 plan into our children is to help them think practically about it. Our kids know they are supposed to love God and others more than themselves, but they don’t know what it practically means to live that kind of life.
Not practically living the two great commandments raises an important point: kids must learn more than Bible facts. Knowing the Bible and living the Bible are radically different things, though both pieces are needed to be mature.
Knowledge only was one of the rebukes Paul leveled on the Corinthians. You see it in 1 Corinthians 8:1-2. He acknowledged that they had Bible knowledge. Knowing theology was not the issue that Paul had with the Corinthians.
His rebuke was their inability (or lack of awareness) about applying the Bible to their lives. In fact, he taught how stand-alone-Bible-knowledge led to arrogance. He warned them about this when he said that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
He began teaching them how to apply the Bible, so their brothers would not trip up over the “meat eating conundrum” they had with the Jews who had just become Christians. He taught that mature Christians were not just Bible smart, but they were practically equipped.
Wisdom is the ability to apply the knowledge of the Bible in practical ways that make sense. A helpful equation is Knowledge + Application = Wisdom. If you have knowledge only, you will be tempted to be arrogant. If you have application without knowledge, you will stumble into subjective weirdness.
If you have a clear understanding of the Bible and can bring practical application of the Bible to your life and the lives of others, you’ll experience wisdom, which is biblical maturity.
There are a lot of smart Bible people walking around our world today. And there are a lot of biblically illiterate individuals who are subjectively applying the Bible in ways the biblical writers never intended.
What we need are students of the Word of God who know how to practically apply the Word of God to their lives and their culture. What the world needs are mature adults, and that is the goal for our children. To be more specific, we want them to be relationally mature Christians.
- We want them to have a relationally mature life with Christ.
- We want them to have a relationally mature life with others.
That is how we think about practicalizing Matthew 22:36-40 into their lives. Think about it with me. What are some of the bigger problems you see in yourself and others? If you could use a word, I think immaturity would be a good one.
- Immature people stay angry.
- Immature people are self-serving.
- Immature people are discontented.
- Immature people hide behind masks.
Time to Parent
Christian maturity provides an answer for all of these things, plus much more. How are you training your child in Bible knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge? If you sense you need supplemental help, I recommend going through this devotional series as many times as you need to, until you are practically living out the truths in the milieu of your life.