November 18, 2004
Encouragement for Today

My Most Precious Treasure
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Speaker Team Member

Key Verse:

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.  Acts 26:18 (NKJ).


Devotion:

Not long after I married, I had a deep desire to be a mother. I wanted nothing more.  My desire drove me to pray daily for a baby. Soon, God answered my prayers and blessed me with a beautiful baby boy. I dedicated him to the Lord and raised him in a godly home. Over the years, my child has been my joy and delight as I've watched him grow. He is so gifted and talented that I can't help but dream big dreams for him.

Recently, those dreams were smashed. At eighteen, my son has chosen to live life his way. He has rebelled against our authority and God's. In doing so, he has become a prodigal. I dreamt about him becoming a doctor or lawyer, but never a prodigal. How could this happen? Where did I go wrong? This is the cry of my broken heart.

My first reaction to his behavior was grief. I blamed myself and felt guilty for having failed him. I cried out to God and I demanded to know, "Why haven't You kept Your promise?" I had raised my son "in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6). I couldn't imagine why God wasn't holding up His end of the promise. For the first time, as I read that verse again and again, I realized that it wasn't a promise but rather a requirement for Christian parenting. Then, God spoke to my heart. "You have not failed. Your son has not yet chosen."

Suddenly, my sorrow turned to anger. I was furious that my son had rejected our faith. More so, he had rejected God. These feelings led me to do what every parent of a prodigal does - panic. I began to condemn him for his choices. I confronted every attitude and action that didn't line up with my faith with disapproval. I was determined to make him choose. He only got angrier and more rebellious.

Again, I ran to my heavenly Father for comfort and guidance. He spoke to my heart. "I, too, am grieved when my children reject me. While there are consequences I must administer for their rebellion, I never stop loving them and wooing them to Myself."

The truth is we were all once prodigals. We have all broken God's heart like my son has crushed mine. However, while we were far off, living life our own way, Christ died for us. That's when it dawned on me. If I become discouraged and give up, then the enemy wins. Yet, if I stand in the gap for my son and continue to love him even though he is rebelling, we all win. Christ's sacrifice does provide the way home, but the choice to come is ours. Everyone has the right to choose; even those who are raised in Christian homes. My son's choice to run after the world is only the evidence that he needs a Savior - not my nagging. This is spiritual warfare. The battle is still raging for my son. My job is not to panic and make him doubt further the Christian faith, but to respond with Christ-like character. I can't make my son choose, but I can show him the way.

By putting this principle into action, his dad and I haven't supported his bad decisions or paid his way with an easy ride, although we have chosen to love him unconditionally. As hard as that is at times, our son needs our love and for us to maintain a relationship with him. Personally, I'm learning to meet him where he is and wait for those moments when I can continue to share Christ with him. Failing to share truth with my son would be failing in my God-given role as his mother, no matter which lifestyle he may choose.

How do I know my actions are right? I know because Jesus was the friend of sinners. God's Word tells me to go and do likewise. Therefore, from Christ's example, you and I can keep a relationship with our disobedient children and love them unconditionally without accepting their sinful behavior. Arguing with our children will not draw them to the Savior. Provoking our beloved ones to anger will not lead them to Christ and neither will condemning their behavior will not direct them to the Lord either. God never called us to do any of that. Conviction is His job. The Lord commanded us to love our children and to lead them "in the way they should go". How can we do that if we cut them off entirely from our lives? We can't.

On the other hand, some teens and young adults may need to be removed from the home if they simply won't comply with your authority. However, that doesn't mean you can't meet them for lunch, have regular dates, and show them in a loving and gentle way that you are for them while you are not for their lifestyle. Focusing on your child instead of his/her behavior will empower you to love them completely and enable you to remain connected. Keeping the relationship, while not condoning their behavior, is a key part of leading your child to maturity in Christ.

I don't know what the future holds for my child, but I know who holds the future. So, I hope. I hope as I reveal Christ's character to my child with love and concern, not for what he does but for who he is, that my most precious treasure will one day choose Christ. 


My Prayer for Today:

Lord Jesus, I pray that you will guide me with all wisdom concerning my child. Help me to love him/her with your love while not supporting their lifestyle. Open my child's eyes and turn them from darkness to light, so that his/her sins may be forgiven and eternal life received. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Amen.


Application Steps:

Maintain your relationship; plan a date with your child. Talk about subjects that interest him or her so that you can relate godly principles, when given the opportunity, to what they already know. Convey above all else that you love them and that you are for them.


Reflection Points:

Has your anger or broken heart kept you from loving your child unconditionally?

Have you considered the love and forgiveness of God lately?

In what ways can you help your child get back on the right path?

Is it best for your child to stay in your home, find an alternative, get them counseling or enroll them in a treatment center appropriate to their need?

What do you need to stop doing that may be contributing to your child's lifestyle?


Power Verses:

Through I walk in the midst of trouble, thou will revive me; thou shall stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of min enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. Philippians 4:6-8, (NKJ)

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2, (NJK)

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, (NKJ)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19, (NJK)

Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10, (NJK)


Additional Resources:

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Tape set, by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/badthingsset.html

Being a Great Mom; Raising Great Kids, Book, by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/greatmom.html

Coming Out of The Dark, book, by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/outofdark.html

Don't Make Me Count to Three, book, by Ginger Plowman
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/count.html