Whatever we think about God will have a great deal to do with how we parent our kids and how we deal with children in general.
God often refers to himself as our Father, and we are even encouraged to call him Daddy. We are called his children, and his actions toward us are those of a parent. It's no surprise, then, that we would look at this arrangement with God as an example of how we should parent our kids. We should mimic God.
But how? We can't be God! So how can we be expected to parent like he does?
God is love, so the answer to the question must have to do with loving our children. To parent like God means to love our kids. Do you love your kids?
Stupid question. Ask any parent - even the ones who don't do a good job of it - ask them if they love their kids. OF COURSE THEY DO. Every parent would answer YES to the question: Do you love your kids?
But the real issue is not whether we love them or not; it's how we do it.
There are lots of models out there for loving your kids and being good parents. Most of us don't really pick one model, but we learn by the seat of our pants as we go along. We try different things, we pray, we pick up tips and advice, we read a book, we listen to sermons, we put together a patchwork of good ideas and bad ideas and make up our own ideas about how we should raise our children.
But what if we did it God's way? What if our parenting mirrored God's parenting? What if we loved like God loves?
We love our kids. God loves us. But in both of those relationships, there needs to be a delivery system to translate that love into lives. An infant who is ready for solid food can't be told, "There's the fridge - just grab what you want, whenever you need it. And don't forget to shut the fridge door." No. There needs to be a delivery system.
The delivery system that translates the love of God into our lives is called GRACE. The delivery system that can put our love for our children to work in their lives is - GRACE.
Want to get practical? Here are three ways you can build secure grace into your kids - INTO ANY KIDS - starting right away:
* Accept them just as they are, as distinct persons.
* Connect them into an honoring and loving family.
* Give them consistent, abundant affection without conditions.
GRACE IS THE TRANSFER MECHANISM FOR GOD'S LOVE TO US.
GRACE IS THE TRANSFER MECHANISM FOR OUR LOVE TO OUR KIDS.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
Next week, we'll take a look at Jesus' life and ministry and discover the value he placed on children. And then we'll decide what to do about it.