Several days ago I tweeted “What’s best for our kids and what’s best for God’s kingdom generally aren’t mutually exclusive.”
I have thought about it every day since, in a variety of different situations other than the one that prompted my tweet. We want our kids to be safe, happy, and successful by American standards: well-educated, socially adept, able to earn a comfortable living. The problem is when we value those things above everything else, that’s what we impart to our children, as their beliefs are shaped by our actions more than our rhetoric. More and more American Christianity has turned to Moral Therapeutic Deism.
The fact that most Christian teens in the US believe the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself should be very sobering to the church. The good news isn’t that if you work hard, you will be successful and happy.
I’m not sure how this fleshes itself out in everyday life, but our children have to know that though they are loved and valued, their happiness, comfort and safety are not the top priority in the life of our family.
We are united to Christ in salvation, and so we share in the great work he is doing in redeeming the world. We share in his sufferings, so we can share in his glory. How can that define our family life? What difference does the gospel make in our choices for our children?