Seeing isn’t believing – at least, not as the overused expression says it is. Pollyanna faith sort of seems like living in a fantasy dreamland, ignoring problems and pretending everything is always and already as it should be. That bubble bursts almost immediately, when real life steps in.
Still, isn’t there something to be said for looking forward to the way things ought to be? Isn’t a large part of faith simply knowing that our sovereign, all-powerful God will bring His good will to pass in His timing?
Today’s verse is often quoted as a paradigm of good attitude, contentment, and positive thinking. But maybe thinking isn’t enough.
When we look at this lovely list and think on these things, can we even imagine how God desires to build these traits into the lives of the next generation?
When my kids were little, I heard a teaching about positivity in parenting. The gist of it was that a parent should offset each criticism given to a child with 12 compliments. I’m not sure how that math works, but I like the general idea of encouraging youngsters, as long as the upbeat comments are genuine. Empty fluff doesn’t last – or have any impact. It just sort of flies around and then vanishes.
God’s Word is altogether different. It’s powerful and purposeful and positive in a way that works. Maybe that’s why I like this verse so much. These lines direct us to God’s standards, rather than our own. They make us think about His goals for growing our kids and us, not appearances or temporary achievements.
Parents absolutely have to deal with the day-to-day stuff. And God surely cares about backtalk, broken curfews, failed quizzes, fender benders, lost jobs, messy bedrooms, missing homework, driving tickets, undone chores, and other childhood slips. But He cares even more about character. How might this emphasis reshape how we pray for our kids?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8, NIV)
Righteous One, we crave Your holiness in our own lives and in the lives of our children. We ask You to step into their lives in tangible and unseen ways, making them true and noble, and right and pure and lovely and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy … as reflections of You, working in their hearts. Guide us to think about these things, as You spur us to pray ever more faithfully for those you have placed in our care.
We ask in faith and in the name of our wonderful Lord, Your Son Jesus Christ.
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