Monday, September 16, 2013

"Work Out Your Own Salvation, With Fear and Trembling" Philippians 2:12

For people who do not know me, my husband and I have 4 children.  We did our best to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  At various ages, they all came to make Jesus their Lord and Savior.  As I look back on the years of their youth and all the things we taught them about God, I realize that I didn't give them the room to "Work out their own salvation." 

One of the things that has bothered me about some Christians, is that they are constantly trying to prove why their Christianity is the correct Christianity. I have been one of those Christians.  Not only did I spend a good 8 years or so trying to push my Christianity on other adults, I spent the better part of my parenthood pushing it on my children also.   After that I spent a lot of years letting others push their Christianity on our family.

My job as a parent was to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Then, at some point I needed to release them to work out their own salvation.  Judging from my experiences with my children, probably around the age of 15 would have been a good time to start letting them work out their walks with God. Instead of gradually letting them make some judgements on their own, I kept telling them, with scripture, why they were wrong.  What I did was "exasperate" them as Ephesians 6:4 tells us not to. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."  

Notice that Ephesians 6:4 does not say to force your children to believe all that you believe.  It says to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. They then need to work out their own salvation with the Lord.  Once I had fully instructed them, it was between them and the Lord as to how their salvation is worked out.  

My husband and I walked the walk and talked the talk, but we focused too much on the rules!!  Rules and regulations.  Just follow this stuff and all would be fine.  I didn't show them the true heart of Jesus so they would want to follow Him and what He says in his Word. When each of them fell into the snares that 
some youth fall into, I was devastated.  What did I do wrong? What I did, was to not show them the patience and compassion of the Lord.

My children have had many demons to fight.  I don't blame myself for those demons, as we all choose the paths we take, but maybe if I had had half the compassion and patience I have now, maybe their scenic pathways to God could be shortened.  Their walks with God vary greatly.  They all profess to be Christians, but some of them ignore God totally right now.

One thing I do know is that no amount of preaching is going to make them wake up and do what is right. I have chosen to try to be more like Christ in my life, and to let them see the light of Christ in me.  Maybe, that light will shine into their hearts and bring their love for Jesus back.  Maybe now they will truly want to work out their own salvation with the Lord, when they see all he has changed in me.

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