DAY 5 - SECOND PURPOSE: OUR TRANSFORMATION
1 John 2:5 “But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
Being transformed into Christ’s image is God’s plan and purpose for every believer. The word perfected translates “to make complete,” which indicates that something is in process. This process involves our responses to everyday experiences and situations, including the challenges of home life where we interact with spouses and children. We like to tell ourselves when we are angry, “Another made me act this way.” But can we find that in God’s Word? No! God says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34). That ungodliness is inside you and God is using a child to bring it out, yet you imply your innocence by not taking responsibility. It is vitally important that you and I understand as ministers that God is using the dynamics of our families to purge us and transform us into the likeness of Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Transformed is metamorphóō (Greek), from which we derive our English word metamorphosis: to change into something entirely different, as a caterpillar to a butterfly.
Here it represents the thorough change as a Christian gradually transforms into the likeness of Christ, and comes to desire God’s will in all things.
Write in the space below a commitment to accept His perfect way in revealing the lack of Christlikeness in you.
Read the following Scripture and write out what God promise to do in you?
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
In my own life, God particularly used my oldest son, Nicholas. In the beginning, because of my ignorance to God’s ways, I was so disturbed by Nicholas’ miss behaving that I took everything he did the wrong way, and very personal. God often used him to reveal anger and impatience within me.
When Nicholas was five years old, God finally got my attention. He said, “Craig, that’s Me. That’s not Nick. I’m just using him to bring about this transformation in you.” I have discovered, over the years, that God has used my son Nicholas, my little mule, as one of the most powerful tools to reveal those areas that needed to be transformed. In the same way God is using the mule He has blessed you with!
Isaiah 29:16 New Living Translation, says:
“How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and He is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, ‘The potter who made me is stupid’?”
Ouch! So many times in a heated moment, when God is trying to bring about transformation, we tell Him through our actions, “Take Your hand off of me, Lord! I don’t want to be shaped, I don’t want to be transformed. I’m not going to look at this child right now, whose head I want to take off, and believe that is You!” We must remember, however, that it is God who brings about, or permits, these circumstances, and that He uses them to reveal things in us that are ungodly and do not glorify Him.
God is not allowing these circumstances so He can find out what is within us, He already knows and sees all, and still loves us. Praise Him! He is doing it so that we will see ourselves, and seek His help for change.
Proverbs 17:3 says, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests the hearts.”
As God is testing your heart, what are some of the ungodly attitudes and actions being revealed to you through your child, or children?
Isaiah 48:10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”
Jeremiah 17:10 “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”
When we believe God is in control, it helps us to stop and think, “Oh! Wait a minute, how is God using this trial for me?” I don’t want to tell God to get Your hands off of me. Parenting can be difficult because of the overwhelming feeling that we give, give, give and get very little appreciation in return. In fact, it feels like children take, take, take and we are often the enemy when giving them our best. But look at Jesus - people rarely walked up to Him and said, “Thanks Jesus! I’m so glad you’re here.” Consider the trials of Moses. No matter how God provided for the Israelites, they complained to Moses and rebelled. Ministry is oftentimes a selfless task, with delayed or little thanks.
We need to understand that God has a purpose in the trials that He brings through our children. It will be impossible to embrace these trials as lessons, and transformation will not occur, if our eyes are not fixed on the goal of becoming more like Christ. When our hope is not in Christ and these circumstances come about, we react from our flesh and exhibit such sins as anger, pride, self-pity and more. People tend to interpret their sinful attitudes and responses in relation to external causes, such as a difficult child. But listen for the voice from God, saying, “No, that’s your sin, own it!”
Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Notice that Jesus endured the pain of the cross because of the joyous result, the salvation of our souls. What joy do you see that makes the pain of transformation worthwhile? Name at least two areas: “God is revealing within you that He wants to change such things as anger, impatience…
The verse also says to “look unto Jesus.” Write out a prayer of commitment to look to Him when a challenging parenting issue comes up in your home?
THIRD PURPOSE: TO LOVE THEM
Certainly a primary purpose of parents is to love our children. Remember that we are being transformed into the image of Christ, and that the Bible tells us that “God is love.” Our attitudes should be guided by the example of Jesus, who acted with love and forgiveness. Remember, even as adults we are considered by God to be His “children”. How do we want to be treated by God? As parents we must view our children through God’s Word first, not according to their personalities, stages of life, or their failures. God has determined the value of our children, and He dictates how we must treat them.
Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (NAS)
Reward – a great precious value.
How should we treat a valuable gift from God?
(We will study this topic in Weeks 3, 4 and 5.)
FOURTH PURPOSE: TO TRAIN THEM
Finally, our fourth and most obvious purpose is to train our children. “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). To “bring them up” is to raise our children to maturity, to educate them. Sometimes during this process, parents are more concerned about the opinions of strangers than they are about the impression they make within the walls of home. This type of pride comes off as hypocrisy and can be the cause, especially during the teen years, of your children becoming rebellious and walking away from the Lord. When they see us at home doing things that are contrary to what we teach, or expect of them, they become confused and disillusioned. We must be concerned with glorifying God at all times, especially to those within our home! Even those who are serving in ministry as a career must remember that their first ministry is family.
(We will study this topic in Weeks 6 - 9)
The principles and promises covered in this material apply to every parenting situation – single parent, blended family, perhaps grandparents – whoever is in charge. God’s Word applies equally to all. And He understands that raising children, especially for those who are single, is one of the most difficult challenges in this world.
Divorce has devastated many families, causing children to be hurt and confused which complicats an already daunting responsibility. But God promises: “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation” (Ps. 68:5). The Bible refers to the fatherless forty-one times, and mentions the widow seventy-four times. This shows us that God’s heart is upon the single-parent family!
We think the word widow means a wife who has lost her husband by death, but in Christ’s day it meant much more than that. The Greek word chera, translated “widow,” is derived from the word casma, meaning the deficiency or vacancy of somebody. A widow was a woman who was simply minus a husband.
We also tend to think of single-parenting as a rather recent problem. This is not true - in Christ’s day, all it took to put away a wife was a certificate bearing the signature of a priest. It was a big problem then, as it is now, and God knows and cares. James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
Again, if you are a single parent or in a blended family, all of the instructions and principles contained in this book apply to you. Thankfully, God’s Word promises that He will help you apply each of these principles to your unique situation.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
Psalm 10:14 “. . . The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless”
As a single parent take a moment and meditate on the passages above. Find God’s promises, write them down, and then prayerfully thank Him for what He has done, and will continue to do for you.