September 14, 2007

A Biblical Model for Parenting

Genesis 3

God provided an amazing home for Adam and Eve.  He became their true Father.  He certainly knew the possibility for sin - after all, he had planted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden Himself.  He warned them of the consequences of sin in terms they could understand.  They certainly knew beyond a doubt that they had better not sin.

But then the Serpent finds his way into the garden.  He tricks Eve, she eats, and she shares the food with Adam.  Right away they know they have done wrong.  God doesn't overlook their sin, but He doesn't come running immediately either.  He certainly knew about their sin right away - He saw it happen, even though Adam and Eve may not have realized it.  He waits.  Maybe He is allowing them to come to the realization of what they have done and take steps to make it right.  Maybe He is so greatly grieved at their sin that He is not ready to confront them immediately about it.  Or maybe He is simply maintaining His routine in spite of the catastrophe which has taken place, waiting for the time when He is expected for their evening walk together, dealing with the situation then.

"Hey, Adam!  Where are you?"  How many times have my children sinned and then run away to hide?  We all got that from Adam and Eve.  But God calls to them, and Adam must know that He can't hide from God, for he answers readily.  He doesn't admit his sin, but makes an excuse.  Even when God asks him directly, he passes the blame to Eve, who then passes it on to the serpent.  Each one of them is guilty.  God is not fooled.  Each one must be punished.

How it must break God's heart to curse His most precious creations.  Interestingly, they do not all receive the same punishment.  But all 3 receive an appropriate punishment - one suited both to who they are and their part in the sin. 

Does God still love Adam and Eve?  Absolutely!  He continues to provide for their needs and reaffirm His love for them.  He makes clothing for them to cover the nakedness they feel.  He knows their makeshift fig leaf clothing won't last, especially outside the beautiful Garden, from which He will have to banish them.

God takes steps to avoid a repeated offense and make certain the necessary consequences are carried out.  There must be no way out of it for the guilty parties.  As much as it must have grieved God, He sends Adam and Eve away from the only home they have ever known. 

The way God dealt with the very first sin can be a model for disciplining my own children:

  1. Call my children at the appropriate time.
  2. Lead them to confess their sin.
  3. Mete out appropriate punishment to each party involved.
  4. Reassure them of my love.
  5. Take steps to prevent a repeat offense and ensure the punishment is carried out.

Love undergirds every one of these steps.  And I must follow them regardless of how heartbreaking it feels. 

Lord, help me!  I am so weak in the area of disciplining my children.  I overlook too many of their sins.  Help me to follow Your example and take appropriate steps in learning to discipline my kids.  Give me Your strength, Your wisdom, and Your creativity as I raise these precious children.  Amen.

Posted by jennbeck at 07:10 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2007

Triune Relationship with a Triune God

Today wrapped up the study of Genesis 1-2, and as I read my Bible Study Commentary, I was struck anew by the concept and reality of the trinity, and how it serves as a model in my own life.

                                               Father                   God
                                                 / \                         /    \
                                           Son---Spirit          Wife---Husband

                                          TRIUNE GOD           HUMANITY

As I thought about it and drew this rough sketch on my lesson, it made so much sense. God has always existed in a relationship of love and harmony within the trinity. My relationships should also exhibit love and harmony.

I considered how no one can be complete without God. We all need to have a relationship with Him - He created us to relate to Him! In the same way a husband and wife need each other. It is not good for us to be alone - we need human companionship, the intimacy of the husband-wife relationship (Genesis 2:18).

Our triune relationship is not perfect by any means. In my sin and fallenness, I fail to have the kind of relationships demonstrated in the trinity. But the trinity can serve as a model to spur me on to greater love and harmony in relationship with God and with my husband. It is perfected only as my husband and I both strive to know, love, and serve God more and know, love, and serve one another more.

Although the relationships within the trinity are significant, I cannot overlook the fact that since the dawn of time the Triune God has constantly been reaching out in creativity, love and compassion to the people He created. I must remember that the relationships I have with my Lord and my husband are the most important, the most significant relationships I could ever have. But they are not the only relationships. God wants me to reach out in love and service to family, church family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, etc. just as He is always reaching out to all the people of the world with His great love.

As I continue to draw near to Him, I will develop more of his heart of love and compassion for all the people of the world. As I draw nearer to my husband, we become a strong team, united in love, vision, and purpose. We help one another, as God created us to do, and we accomplish the work which God designed us to do.

Lord, help me to develop a stronger relationship with You and with my husband. Help us to have the same vision. Draw my husband near to You as well, that together we may develop and display Your love to everyone we meet. Amen.

Posted by jennbeck at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)