Generation Cedar

“I want us to grasp the importance of vision…knowing that our experiences as children mold us into adults, which affect our marriages and families, which define our society! It’s all a big snowball, and we have to go back to the crucial beginning.”

You may not know that I suffer from OATTMEC Syndrome (Over-analysis, Think-too-much, Everything’s Connected). So as I thought about yesterday’s post, “servanthood“, summed up in a word, thoughts of why this one, seemingly simple character trait, is so difficult for us. And I couldn’t go on with our marriage discussion until we hashed out a few points on this.

First of all, if we really understood the life-changing implications being a true servant has, we would be more devoted to becoming one. There’s a reason Jesus summed up the entire commandments in one: “Love the Lord with everything, and love your neighbor AS YOURSELF.”

Imagine what a different place the world would be if we really lived that! (“That’s OK, mister, you are welcome to pull out in front of me and then drive 30 mph…even though I’m running late for my appointment, I’m sure your destination is much more important, and I do want you to arrive safely!”) Well, you know what I mean.

And boy how it would change our families, our relationships, our entire perspective of life!

So, if the Lord commanded it as the most important thing, and we KNOW that it is true, why do we have such a hard time?

Of course, our sin nature is the reason. BUT, as I pondered this, I wanted to post today about how we are so indoctrinated by our culture to live opposite what the Bible commands. Our sin natures are nurtured, encouraged and indulged at every turn. Our world (who is the enemy of Christ) detests the servant’s mentality because it is the very foundation of our Christian life. It’s no wonder why the prince of this world has waged an all-out war to destroy it.

From birth to death, we have been told to indulge ourselves….to look our for #1. Parents, somewhere along the line, were convinced that their little ones deserve the world. Therefore, generation after generation has refused the additional blessings of children because “they can’t afford to give them all they deserve”. More toys, more programs, more activities, more clothes…they don’t need a bit of that to be healthy, thriving children. In fact, they are less healthy and even impaired for life because their parents have lied and told them that the world revolves around them and they can have virtually anything they want. That’s just the beginning…

Then they go to daycare or school. I know, I’m entering dangerously controversial territory…I’m aware. But contemplate this: I have been asked so many times, because we homeschool, “how are your children going to learn how to interact with others if they are at home? How are they going to learn to thrive in the real world if they don’t go to school?”

Do we as Christians really want them to learn how to thrive in the world’s classroom, or to be ready to face the world as disciples of Christ?

That is the most ridiculous question I’ve ever heard, the the questioner would do well to give some thought before he blurts out such absurdities.

When a child goes to school, it’s “every man for himself”. We’ve been conditioned to think that this is a positive climate, and even necessary for life. But it is absolutely contrary to what our Lord teaches! A child is thrust into a hostile environment when he gets on the school bus. I’m speaking from experience, and I can’t imagine how conditions have worsened.

He learns to defend himself mentally, emotionally and physically, or he suffers constant persecution. Is that an environment that will encourage him toward servanthood and selflessness? NO. Because he is still a child. He hasn’t the maturity to practice his “turn the other cheek” theology. He is in survival mode. And if you think that the over-worked teacher who has no blood-ties to these children is spending all her time character training…well, let me assure you she is not.

Children are like little tender plants who will bend this way and that with the wind and surrounding elements unless they are carefully staked and constantly nurtured toward growing straight. In their early years, they need a parent whose deep concern for their spiritual growth guides them. They were born with “me-first” mentalities. They need constant training toward servanthood, not a few minutes each day. They need someone standing their when they are snatching toys out of the other child’s hand, telling him (over and over) why it is wrong. They won’t thrive spending most of their days in a group of hostile, foolish children. They are not going to witness how the Lord commands us to handle conflict. They need a constant example before their eyes until one day it becomes a habit for them.

As I observe my children interacting with each other, and consider the enormous amount of character training I must do in a day, I’m dumbfounded thinking about the child that is just “left to himself”, when he is out from under that care of his parents. It’s no wonder kids are growing up to be self-absorbed, miserable, medicated adults!

I think about my own upbringing, and wonder how dramatically different my relationships now would be if I had been daily trained in a “servant’s mentality” instead of having my natural “me-first” nature nurtured and reinforced.

Then let’s consider the media. “You deserve it…get it now, pay later…it’s what you want…you, you, you”. You think commercials are harmless? It could be they are equally destructive as the junk in most programming.

We are so self-centered we can’t even see it sometimes! It can even be seen in our churches. I had a lady tell me once that she couldn’t believe anyone kept their little ones in the church service. “What if they distracted someone and prevented the Holy Spirit from speaking?” Isn’t this mindset what Jesus rebuked the disciples for? I’ve even heard of a mandatory nursery policy for church members. Do you know why? Because “I am here to receive something for myself, and if there are children around, they may hinder my experience, and then I would miss out.” Now we don’t say that out loud, but that’s the root of the practice.

No, let’s refresh ourselves about the whole purpose of church. It is a place we go to worship, to give of ourselves, to glorify God, and to offer him the sacrifice of praise. There is no ME in that. And if we deny our children the blessing of the true worship of a living God, we are hindering their spiritual growth. (More on this topic later 😉

See, I can’t stay on one subject because IT’S ALL CONNECTED! Sorry, but I hope you are able to follow me on this. I want us to grasp the importance of vision…knowing that our experiences as children mold us into adults, which affect our marriages and families, which define our society! It’s all a big snowball, and we have to go back to the crucial beginning.

I just want us to THINK. About everything. Does every area of our lives, every decision, every practice, every habit, accomplish the purposes of the Lord? Do we ever question what we’re doing, or do we just do what everyone else does and assume their is safety in numbers?

Unfortunately, we are left to wrestle with and beg for grace over our weakness that we brought into our marriages. But we can use them as motivation to give our children the blessing of a “head start”. Yes, they will still wrestle with their sin natures, but how much easier their battle if their minds, bodies and wills have been trained toward servanthood! I would suggest to you that if we are to raise children who grow up to be servants in their marriages and homes, we must train them to be servants now. Reject the world’s philosophy. It is not about ME. It’s about…

“If any man will save his life he must lose it.”

“If any man would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.”

“If someone asks for your cloak, give him your tunic also.”

“Think not every man on his own things, but also on the things of others.”

“He who desires to be first, must be last. If he would be master of all, he must become servant of all.”

Let’s critique all of our lives in the light of God’s Word. We are in serious warfare. We must be proactive. Our salvation through grace is just the beginning. After that, we must fight the good fight of faith. Servanthood is contrary to our nature. We must practice, strive, train and pray to be servants.

Your thoughts?

9 Responses

  1. I love it when church services are disturbed briefly by a noise or cry from a baby or young child (usually they are quickly taken to the “parent’s room” after that, which I think is fine–it’s behind the sanctuary, you can still see and the service is piped in). I think this is a testimony to life and to God who created those little ones.

    I agree with the “everything is all connected.” When people (as is common, but not universal, in my church) do not believe that Genesis is literal truth, it makes sense that they don’t think our bodies are perfectly created by God, and that they are less likely to take all other parts of scripture easily, for instance. Not to mention that the Genesis story is so different from the evolutionist version that if evolution is the way God created, he lied in Genesis. And if one believes God created through evolution, he created through pain, death, and suffering, and there was death before there was sin.

  2. You have a lot to say about child training, and giving of oneself, rather than taking. Thanks for the encouragement. It is important to raise children at home, as much as possible. For single moms with no available extended family, that is a matter of need and much prayer and compassion. For those of us who can and do keep our children at home, we can see the real benefit of aggressive training every day, and that is very rewarding. We also are able to cater to their individual needs, weaknesses, abilities, and interests, whereas public schools and most private ones are failing in this individualized training. From home-teaching, we obviously get faster and greater achievement from our children, if the care-takers do not slack.

    I hope that we in this country will be able to continue in this God-given privilege to raise our own children the way we desire. If you have access to Home School Legal Defense Court Report, the latest article, May/June issue, is perhaps a reckoning that things could change here as they are in Europe, and that parents could loose rights to be parents! Let’s be faithful to pray that our privileged situation now will continue for many years yet to come!

    –B.

  3. Young Christian Woman:

    I believe in the Genesis story of Creation and I also have seen evidence of “change over time” (which is all that the word evolution means).

    I disagree with evolution when it defies the established laws of physics, ie. thermodynamics. In other words, I don’t believe something can come from nothing or that order can spring from choas.

    However, there are aspects of evolution which do not defy or make God a liar.

    I’m curious if you’ve ever studied evolutionary theory, perhaps at the college level? It’s really interesting stuff and you might come to realize that creation and evolution are not as mutually exclusive as you make them out to be.

  4. Elizabeth: Evolution can indeed mean many different things, and I would agree with you that change does occur within kinds. Two of the most common meanings of evolution are small changes within one kind–microevolution–and the evolution of one kind of living thing into another–macroevolution. Scientific evidence supports the first but not the second. I would agree that there is a good chance that, like the great dane and the chihuahua, jackals, wolves, and even foxes are all related. That does not mean that dogs and cats are related, which is one of the tenets of evolution. The Genesis account says that he created each according to its kind. For God to create birds at the same time as water-creatures, before land-creatures, goes against evolutionary theory, which holds that everything else evolved from water-creatures. Evolutionary theory about the beginning of life and the universe is even more at odds with the bible, which tells us that God created day and night before the sun and moon, and plants before the sun, and the earth before the sun. If God created through evolution, the creatures he made were not perfect. Instead, God created creatures that could change because the world was imperfect after the Fall and even more so after the Flood. If God created through evolution, He created by making doomed, deformed, mutant creatures, like animals with limbs halfway between wings and legs. The Bible says that death came as a consequence of sin, and everyone believes in their hearts that death is wrong–but evolution requires many generations of death.

    Have you studied Creation Science?

  5. YCW:

    Great response, thank you!! I enjoyed reading your clarification on this matter and I agree with you wholly. Thank you for that!

    I have not studied Creation Science formally. I did attend several Creation Science lectures while in college.

  6. Elizabeth:

    I studied science on the college level, and each subject included the assumption that evolution from molecules to man is fact. Boy! What a mess they made of geomorphology! Believing in evolution leaves no room for the Biblical account for the Flood. What a big difference it makes to look at our world and nature around us, as evidence of our magnificent Creator, and to trust in His Word as the true and accurate history of our world!

    I was not a Christian until about five years after my college experience. I did not believe in the literal six day creation until after another two years. It was hard to come to grips with the possibility that all of my teachers in school and the textbooks were very wrong, but almost in a miraculous moment, it happened. Throwing evolutionary theory out my window has changed my perspective on science, and built up my love for God in ways that otherwise would not have been possible.

    I am thankful to God, first, for saving me, and for showing me the truth, which He did through many people, including my husband, and through Answers in Genesis.

    –B.

  7. Elizabeth: So good to hear we are in agreement! That made me smile. I also have not done any really formal study, but I have listened to or watched many materials from Kent Hovind and Answers in Genesis, as well as some material from the evollutionist viewpoint. It can be difficult to discern sometimes who is right, because both sides believe that they are right–but one side matches what God has told us. My husband has also studied this issue–more extensively than I have–and is very passionate about Creation.

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