A new year is upon us and—no surprise—our world is in upheaval. As an example, look at the speed at which our society has turned away from a biblical understanding of gender and marriage. No matter how much we as parents and a church community try to “absorb” the societal conflicts on behalf of our children, there is no way to completely shield them from the realities in which we now live. Nor, should merely “shielding” our children be our top priority. Rather, let us strive to equip our children. We must equip them to live in a fallen world with a strong and sure hope and defense: the Gospel of Jesus. How can parents, teachers, and the church work toward this end in the coming year? Here are a few New Year resolutions to consider:
By God’s grace, and through His power, we will…
- Emphasize the absolute, objective, and unchanging truths of Scripture.
- Make a serious commitment to teach children a God-centered view of all of life.
- Develop an intentional plan to present our children with the whole counsel of God.
- Proclaim to our children the whole Gospel, in all its scope, depth, power, and beauty.
- Live out the timeless truths of the Gospel so that our children see that Jesus is a treasure more precious than anything this world has to offer.
- Impress upon them what it means to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus.
- Model true Christian humility that grieves for the lost, desiring their salvation.
- Remind them of and rejoice in the global mission of God to save people from every tribe and tongue.
- Pray, pray, and then pray more.
- Depend increasingly upon the One who is faithful.
And one more resolve that is becoming more and more crucial…
- Demonstrate boldness and courage to speak the truth in love, regardless of the cost.
Why the need for boldness and courage? Consider these words from John Piper:
Christian courage is the willingness to say and do the right thing regardless of the earthly cost, because God promises to help you and save you on account of Christ. An act takes courage if it will likely be painful. The pain may be physical, as in war and rescue operations. Or the pain may be mental as in confrontation and controversy.
Courage is indispensable for both spreading and preserving the truth of Christ. Jesus promised that spreading the gospel would meet resistance: “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name” (Matthew 24:9). And Paul warned that, even in the church, faithfulness to the truth would be embattled: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30; see also 2 Timothy 4:3-4).
(Excerpt from “Christian Courage,” by John Piper, ©2013 Desiring God Foundation, website: desiringGod.org)
Thanking God for His faithfulness this past year, and depending on His new mercies this coming year!
(Note: We will be back to blogging again on January 6 .)
(Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net).