The Root Cause

2 Jan

Christians disgruntled, marriages failing, relationships turning sour, children breaking their parent’s hearts – sadly, these are common happenings in our day. Are we surprised anymore? I don’t think so. Are we saddened? Do our hearts still break? Do we wonder why? Are we looking for answers? Yes.

Too often, I see parents agonizing over the blow of rejection when their child leaves home in rebellion to God and their authority. They weep till there are no more tears to cry. They kneel in prayer on behalf of their flesh and blood until their knees are numb and hurting. They seek prayer from others. They relive moments in history wondering where they went wrong.  And too often, they inwardly beat themselves up thinking that somehow someway it’s all their fault that their child has gone astray.

Why is this the all too common story?

Truthfully, there is nothing that can be said or done that will guarantee a change and stop this epidemic that is spreading across our nation. There are, however, certain truths that cannot be ignored.

All sinful habits, thoughts, actions, words, and attitudes stem from selfishness. Whether it’s pride, lust, greed, rebellion, or fear, they all come from a heart that is focused on pleasing “me” (the flesh). “Me” wants to be gratified. “Me” wants to be happy. “Me” wants freedom. “Me” doesn’t want to have to die to its affections and desires.

A heart abounding in selfishness is a heart that is NOT in love with Jesus. It’s as simple as that. There are no rules or regulations, convictions or standards that can keep a child walking the straight and narrow way apart from having a heart that is in love with its Saviour.

The Scriptures gives instruction to the child that they ought to “bear the yoke of their youth”. Why? Everyone is under authority, whether they think they are or not. This has been established by our Creator since the beginning of time. Everyone is accountable to someone. All through life, we will continually encounter times that will require submission. As a youth, this time is used as the school room of teaching – preparing for times ahead. They will encounter situations that will require ultimate submission to God and they won’t be able to hide behind their parent’s coattails but will have to stand on their own two feet and take personal responsibility for their actions. Children must and should obey and honor their parent’s wishes and desires. They need discipline; they need guidance and instruction; they need boundaries.

God is most pleased when parents “train up a child in the way he should go.”  However, despite all the teaching and rearing parents may do throughout the course of 18+ years, there is absolutely no guarantee that their children will ‘stick with the stuff’. I don’t mean to come off as cold and harsh but it’s the truth. Every single person has been given a choice. A choice to love God or a choice to reject God. A choice to submit to authority or a choice to break free in rebellion. Every single individual is responsible before God and will one day stand before God and give an account for every thought, word, and action.

So, is there hope? Do we just give up since there is no guarantee? Absolutely not! After all, we are responsible to walk in the light that God has shown us to be true. If He has directed you, as a parent, in certain convictions and standards then teach them to your children. If you don’t, it would be a severe sin between you and God.

The pressing matter though is our influence on those around us whether we are parents, siblings, or friends. Is our love for Jesus so impacting that it changes the lives of those we are in contact with? Are we so passionately desirous of our Lord and His ways that our love and joy for Him is contagious and causes others to want that same passion that dwells so deeply within us? Is our heart abounding in real agape fervent love or do we just play the part masking our hypocrisy, ingratitude, and even disgust we have towards our lives and its outcomes? We often don’t realize how much of an impact we can make in a person’s life without even saying a single word.

This is not to say that because a child goes astray, we lacked a fervency for God. What I am trying to relate, though, is the importance of being so in love with Jesus that the joy, peace, contentment, gentleness, gratitude, and goodness that gush from within us compel those around us to search for and find those same things. Does our love point their hearts to seek after God because they see something so special that they can’t help but seek after it too? Do they see us full of joy that they would do anything to experience that same joy? Do they see us remain at peace during difficult and trying times and know that our faith stems from a confidence in God? Do they know that the convictions we hold so dear stem from a heart that wants to please its Master alone?

Honestly, I don’t think I can say that my family and friends always see this in me. I readily confess that I do love Jesus and I seek to love Him with all of my heart; but yet, I’m still lacking. There are times I walk away from conversations grieved that I said something I shouldn’t have. There are times when I grieve over attitudes that I expressed wrongfully. I fail miserably time and time again. However, my heart desires to know and love God more than anything in this world. So with all boldness and fervency I believe that God will still work His will through me and use me in a way that will glorify and honor Him. I may not see people’s lives being changed now in the immediate present but I can rest in the thought that if my heart is aflame in a burning consuming passionate love for Jesus, my testimony will be used for God’s ultimate purpose.

I cannot force someone to love Jesus with all of their heart and neither can you. However, this one thing I do know and that is I can live my life passionate about the One who saved me, ardent to know the mind of God, zealous for the teachings of His Word, and completely devoted to His cause so that others will be desperately compelled to join me in my pursuit after Christ. After all, a life devoted to the Author of true Love is a life full of unspeakable joy and blessing. It can’t hold a stick to a life in the world with it’s fading pleasures and minute-gratifying thrills. It may be exciting and seemingly fulfilling for the moment but it passes leaving behind regret, guilt, and shame.

And even if our life doesn’t touch the ones that we love the way that we think it should, we can rest assuredly that God is well pleased and will honor a heart surrendered to and consumed in Him. We were created for His honor and glory. We were created to have fellowship with Him; and a heart that is fervently and passionately in love with its Maker will certainly experience intimate fellowship like no other. Honestly, it’s a win-win situation!

I desire to be able to leave every conversation and situation in my life amongst my family, friends, and acquaintances knowing that when we go our separate ways, they’ll love Jesus more just from being around me. Not for my own sake but for Jesus’ sake. I want them to know Jesus more just from the way I talk and act. I want them to want to please Jesus with their lives. I want them to desire to love Jesus as much as I do and even more.

Just think about it – if every Christian youth became zealously affected with Christ’s love, we wouldn’t be seeing homes falling apart, parents grieving, siblings hurting, and the name of Christ being shamed. Instead we would find ourselves rejoicing that the youth of this generation are making such an impact in today’s world that they would be changing history and igniting fires of holiness in our churches and homes.

So I leave you with this question: Do YOU love Jesus? If so, do you love Jesus with ALL of your heart?

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9 Responses to “The Root Cause”

  1. Blake Myers January 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    That’s a great article! I love the bottom line of are you in love with Jesus? Could also be put,” Do you really love Jesus?” God’s already used it in my life to help me grow closer to Him. Praise the Lord!

  2. Nate Paine January 2, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Sara, this is really challenging…wow…thanks for posting 🙂

  3. Crystal Litfin January 2, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Thank you for posting this Sara! It was a great reminder for me~

  4. April January 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Wow Sara, what a great article, and a great challange!
    Now as to your new blog look, I LOVE IT!!!! It is soooo cool! Its so funny, I was on earlier this evening and now a total new look!!! Happy New Year!

  5. Robin January 2, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    GREAT article Sara! You articulate so well what I have been thinking and feeling. And I love the new look! 😉

  6. Tricia January 3, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Sara, What a great article! So many lines in the article spoke truth to me. This one says it all: “And even if our life doesn’t touch the ones that we love the way that we think it should, we can rest assuredly that God is well pleased and will honor a heart surrendered to and consumed in Him.”
    May our Lord, Jesus Christ, richly bless you for the time, thought, attention and writing of this piece.
    The new look is great!!!
    Love you!

  7. Jacqueline Bittner January 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    What an encouraging post Sara! Thank-you for sharing what the Lord has been laying on your heart. I know too well the heartaches of parents who have done everything they thought possible in directing their children toward the ways of the Lord and still watch in horror as one of them slips into the ways and pleasures of the sin of the world. It is such a sad phenomenon but I enjoyed how you tied in thought provoking questions that make us look inside ourselves and examine just what kind of an impact we are making on the lives of those around us.

    Great post~!

  8. Jennifer Parry January 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    Sara I love you so much. God is using you in amazing ways that show others His love. I encourage you in your ministry to God. Your words are from a heart filled with God’s hope and faith. I pray for the desires of God’s heart to be given to you, for they are better than anything you could ask of Him.

  9. Beth January 23, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    “I see parents agonizing over the blow of rejection when their child leaves home in rebellion to God and their authority”

    I’m curious as to what prompted this post, if I may be so intrusive.

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