Unlocking the Power of God’s Grace

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Unlocking the Power of God’s Grace

  I love Grace!   Grace provides the atmosphere for God’s Word to take root in a person’s life under the careful gardening of the Holy Spirit.  It also provides the proper balance between two extremes of life: license and legalism.  As parents, we must always remember that we do not want to teach our children less than what the Bible says (license) and we also do not want to teach our children more than what the Bible says (legalism).  When we allow God’s Word to stand on its own, we not only present God’s truth to our children, we allow the proper atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to unlock its power in their life.   My wife and I just finished leading a trip to Israel.  As we opened up God’s Word and studied it in some of the original settings, it was truly life changing for many on our trip.  It was also interesting to interact and learn from our Jewish guide.  He did a wonderful job, but he would often refer to a rabbi and their interpretation of various passages in God’s Word.  It brought to my mind why people were so attracted to Jesus.  Jesus taught with authority (Luke 4:32).  In other words, he did not refer to a rabbi’s interpretation back in His day.  He spoke directly from God’s Word and He taught it within the context of Grace.  After all, He wrote the book and new exactly what it said.  There was no need to appeal to another source and He certainly did not want to add layer upon layer of additional traditions that were so prevalent within the Jewish community.  Many of those “traditions” are still practiced today.  They are not found in God’s Word, but often made equivalent to God’s Word.  In other words, it is legalism.   Now let me caution you.  Before you start to judge our Jewish friends, we as followers of Jesus often do the same thing.  We add “principles” to live by on top of God’s Word and often present them, perhaps unknowingly, as God’s Word.  That is legalism.  Yes, it can show up in Christian homes and churches today which will do nothing more than increase someone’s pride and never deal with the real issues of the heart.  If you really want to address the issues in your child’s heart, then it is through the atmosphere of Grace that will allow the power of God’s Word to transform their character.  Let God’s Word speak for itself.  Is it wrong to have additional “principles” or “rules” that help a family function or even apply general commands found in God’s Word?  No.  But we must be careful to always point people and especially our children back to what the Bible teaches because then we can be assured that the Holy Spirit will unlock it’s power in a person’s heart.   Let me make a few suggestions that may help foster Grace and keep your family focus on God’s Word.  First, clearly delineate between a biblical principle and a “household” or “family” principle.  In Luke 11:37 and 38, Jesus was invited for lunch at a religious official’s house.  Jesus purposefully avoided washing His hands.  Parents, if your kids try to use this one on you as a biblical principle to not wash their hands before dinner, beware!  Jesus avoided washing his hands in this case not because he could care less about hygiene, but because they equating their personal “to do list” with God’s Word!  If you didn’t follow their elaborate hand washing ceremony, you were sinning.  The religious official who put this lunch on his business expense account was teaching oral traditions as if they were God’s Word.  As a result, he and his friends made the religious life a set of “does and don’ts” which never brought about a relationship with God, it only fueled their pride.  Legalism always causes pride.  God’s Word through the atmosphere of Grace removes pride.   Second, suggest a reading plan for your child so that they can begin to discover the truth of God’s Word.  We told our kids that we would pay them a certain amount of money if they read through the entire Bible.  No, I am not usually into bribing my kids!  However, it demonstrated to them what I value.  After all, Jesus says in Luke 12:32, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (NASB).”  Where I place my money indicates what I value.  I value God’s Word and know that the Holy Spirit will change my kids from the inside out if they are reading God’s Word.  Now, if your child can’t read or is in the early stages of learning to read, read the stories to them.  Some of my warmest memories are sitting on my child’s bed and reading Bible stories.  Nothing brings a family closer!  Now that they are older we have times where we will read a passage together as a family, re-tell the facts of the story orally, and then talk about how it apples to our life.  There is no growth apart from God’s Word.   Third, ask your kids about what they are reading.  Let them tell you what God is saying through His Word in their own words.  If they can repeat the story, then the Holy Spirit will take that content in their minds and begin His powerful work at cultivating their character.   Fourth, have your children begin to memorize God’s Word.  As they hide God’s Word in their hearts, the Holy Spirit will take the seed of God’s Word and bring fourth fruit.  Each of these verses will come back to them through the seasons of life to offer wisdom, guidance and direction through the counsel of the Holy Spirit.   One final word of caution: don’t rush the timing of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, provide the atmosphere of Grace, the seed of God’s Word, and then let the Holy Spirit begin to work in your child’s life according to His timing and His ways.  Give your children the freedom of grace to learn, make mistakes and always be assured of your love.  When you do, the Holy Spirit will unlock the power of God’s Word in your child’s heart so they will become more like Jesus every day.    

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