Serving God can easily make hypocrites out of Christians who are not focusing on Heart issues.
…Choose today whom you will serve….But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
I’ve seen this verse posted in many homes and quoted by many families who truly do want to raise their kids to “serve the Lord.”
But it’s one of those nice Christian cliques that sometimes loses potency because it’s over-used and under-analyzed. We like to quote it, but do we truly understand what “serving the Lord” means?
What Serving God is NOT
First, we must be careful that we do not define “serving the Lord” as a mere action:
- Going to church every Sunday
- Saying grace before dinner
- Giving money to charity
- Not swearing
And the list could go on.
I was raised in the 60s and 70s by parents who believed strongly in “outward appearances.” Fortunately, they didn’t neglect our inner health in the process, but I believe that many families do. Keeping up the appearance of being a “good Christian” just for the sake of looking good is to put it bluntly, hypocrital.
Jesus admonished religious leaders in his time for their fanaticism about outward appearances: What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Matthew 23:27
Choosing to serve the Lord in your home means you pay more attention to the insides of your kids because The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
Parents, this may mean that sometimes you should ignore outer things that really don’t deserve the attention. Hard to do, I know. Believe me, there were days when it took all the restraint I could muster to walk away from a messy room because I had bigger battles to face!
If we want to raise our kids to truly serve God, we must see it as a heart issue, not merely an action issue.
The heart will overflow into the behavior that it focuses on, but behavior can exist without having roots in the heart. In other words, your child can say and do all the right things and still not be serving the Lord, because it is not coming from a heart of love, but from a sense of duty or guilt.
Choose this day to focus on the health of your child’s Heart, not merely their adherence to all the rules. It is only then that you and your kids will understand that serving the Lord is more about who they are, than it is about what they do.
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