John begins his gospel with two striking descriptions of
Jesus. John says Jesus is the word and then he says Jesus is the light of men. This
interwoven imagery describing Christ as Word and Light permeates the Bible. This
imagery of Word and Light is unique to the Bible. Moses says over and over to
the Israelites that the Word of God is life itself. The psalms frequently refer
to the Word as light ("Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my
path," Psalm 119:105). In Psalm 19:8, the Holy Spirit was not just
employing nice sounding metaphors:
"The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the
eyes." He was anticipating the
person of Jesus Christ. Yes, the law of God itself is precious, but remember
that the Holy Spirit had already chosen the words of John when he had David pen
the words in Psalm 19. The wonder of this Psalm would be fully known only
through Jesus Christ, the Word and the Light. All the Scriptures speak of
This same dependence upon Jesus through his Word must
characterize you as a parent. Anyone can communicate a set of principles and
moral values, but only a Christian parent can bring the true power of Scripture
to bear in daily conversations. And his commands are not burdensome; the daily
repetition of biblical truth should not be a boring, grating irritation to our
children. Like a sunny spring day that
renews your spirit—only much more so—the commands of God bring joy to your
heart and light to your eyes.
In the last two posts, I have asked you to think carefully
about what the word of God means to you. Considering Psalm 19:8 and John 1
together, we see the uniqueness of the Bible. These words not only speak about
God, but the words bring the life of God to his children. That is why Hebrews
4:12 says the word of God is living and active.
Parenting is a draining, demanding responsibility. If you
use Scripture for the purpose of controlling your children’s behavior, you will
miss the point. Scripture used in this way will only leave you feeling more
drained. Confrontation with Scripture is a confrontation with God. So, even in
discipline, the joy and light of the Bible should dominate your thoughts and
attitudes. You are bringing the person of Jesus Christ into the lives of your
children. As it brought joy to shepherds to bring their sheep back to the
flocks, it should be a joy to you to call your children to Christ as you give
them his word. Here is an example of what I mean.
Joshua, you know the Bible says
in Philippians 2 that you must not complain about doing what Mommy asks you to
do. Now, stop your complaining and get to work. Remember, children should obey their
parents. I don’t want to hear any more complaining. Is that clear?
Now, has this mother used the Bible to instruct her son? Yes
and no. She has used things taught in the Bible, but she has used these truths
in the rote fashion that Isaiah 29:13 warns against. She is right to address
Joshua’s complaining spirit. But her goal should be to see the life changing
truths of Scripture bring joy to Joshua. By obeying God, Joshua can know the
joy of doing what Jesus did, the joy of bringing honor to his heavenly Father.
By obeying his mom from his heart, he is doing something of great significance.
He has the opportunity to participate in the kingdom business of Jesus Christ.
You see, this is about much more than having Joshua doing his work in a way
that is annoying his mother. That is what Philippians 2:14-16 is really
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be
blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a
crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding
fast to the word of life, ….
There is much more to this passage than just stopping
grumbling. The apostle Paul says that by having an eager spirit of obedience,
rather than a complaining, questioning spirit, you can shine as light in a
dark, perverse world. Wow! In contrast, Joshua’s mom was just trying to stop an
unpleasant attitude. So she responded with negative direction. Yes, she
referenced Scripture. But she was not embracing its power, which brings light
to the eyes and joy to the heart. Parents, you have a wonderful calling – to
bring the Word of life to your children.
We will talk more about this in upcoming posts. In the
meantime, let me know your thoughts.