When I became a parent, I spent a lot of time thinking about my goal as a parent. What would cause me to say that I was successful as a parent? Many people rate their success based on academics, athletics, or the arts. 3 John provides a different perspective on this question. What the video or scroll down to read a transcript.
When I became a parent, I spent a lot of time thinking about my goal as a parent. What was I trying to accomplish? What would cause me to say that I was successful as a parent?
As we look around our society, different people answer that question different ways. Some people think that if their children go to an Ivy League school such as Harvard or Yale, then they’ve been successful and their children are successful. Other people think that if their child becomes a world famous athlete, then that makes them successful. Other people think they’re successful as a parent if their children go to college, get a good paying job, and become wealthy. Or maybe success is when their children become an entrepreneur, a philanthropist or a researcher who cures cancer or some other disease. Throughout our culture, there are many different ideas on what constitutes success as a parent.
3 John 4 gives us a different perspective on this question. 3 John is a letter written from the elder to Gaius. Before the elder got into the main point of his letter, he mentioned some other things to Gaius. One of the things he wrote was he praised Gaius for walking in truth. Then the elder wrote the following to Gaius.
3 John 4 I have no greater joy than this, that I hear my children are walking in truth.
Notice the word joy. The elder indicated his greatest joy was hearing that his children were walking in truth. It didn’t have anything to do with education, wealth or anything like that. He understood that joy as a parent comes when children walk in truth.
Keep this in mind. When the elder mentioned children, he was probably talking about spiritual children. So when the elder talked about his children walking in truth and the joy that brings, he was probably talking about spiritual children. However, I think the same concept also applies to our physical children.
As parents, hopefully, our greatest joy is to see our physical children walking in truth. If we have children who are well educated, wealthy, or successful according to the world, but they don’t walk in truth, then I don’t believe we’re going to have much joy as a parent. I don’t believe we’re going to feel successful as a parent. As parents we need to make sure that first and foremost we are raising our children in a way that they grow up and are walking in truth.
Even if the elder was talking about his spiritual children, this still applies because our physical children should also be our spiritual children. As a believer, if we lead people to Christ, then we should disciple them. We should want to see them walk in truth. Likewise as we raise our physical children, we should disciple them. Our goal should be to see them walking in truth.
Here are three reasons to focus on raising children who walk in truth. One, it gives us direction as parents. As we go through life raising our children, there are all sorts of things competing for attention. There are many things competing to be the priority in our lives. However, if we as Christian parents understand that our first priority is to raise children who are walking in truth, then that helps us to sort through all the noise and make sure we’re making the right choices and the right decisions.
Two, if our children grow up and walk in truth, then that prevents a lot of heartache and pain. If we go through life and raise children who don’t follow the Lord, that’s going to cause a lot more heartache and pain than any wealth or worldly success is going to overcome.
Three, if we raise children who walk in truth, that means we as parents will have accomplished something that has eternal value. It’s nice to have children who are successful according to the world. It’s nice to have children who are educated, financially well off, and very successful in their career. Those things are good and they can be beneficial to society. However, ultimately, those things don’t have eternal value. What does have eternal value is raising children who are walking in truth.
Here is a question for you to think about. As you raise your children, do you put as much time and effort into their spiritual training as you put into their academic, artistic, and athletic training? If not, why not? If not, let me suggest that maybe you should look at your priorities and make sure you’re putting more effort into their spiritual training than you are their academic, artistic, or athletic endeavors.
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