Walking the Walk – Living Like Christ – Faithful Father Series

Walking the Walk

You talk the talk but are you walking the walk? It is an age old idiom and as we continue the Faithful Father series we need to move beyond simply talking about God and the work Jesus did to acting upon those words. Our children learn so much from us at home because they spend so much time with us. Eli has picked up on some of our behaviors and Ella articulates herself like an adult because that is how we speak with her at home. To be a good father we have to capitalize on those sponges in their head while they are young. The best advice on how to do that comes from Paul in his  first epistle to the Corinthians where he urges the church in Corinth to be imitators of him for he is an imitator of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.

It is not the only piece of sage wisdom Paul gives the Corinthian church, in fact there are all kinds of phrases in 1 Corinthians that we all quote and reference from time to time. Paul was nothing short of prolific in his walk with God. He didn’t get there easily though and walking the walk of a Christian father is not something you segue in to, pretend to be good at and then get an awesome participatory trophy.

Christians, we are prone to give platitudes because we believe we are “showering people with love” but are we really? Where is our heart in those words? Where is our heart in our actions following those words? I have to wonder how often we say things but don’t follow up when it comes to God. If we do not fulfill the words, “I’ll pray for you.” we are quite frankly, shunning God’s love. I’ve been guilty of it, I would find it hard to believe that anyone I’ve met who is a Christian is not guilty of it too.

You can thank the world for that. There are so many distractions that those promises are easily forgotten. Forgetting about God seems almost impossible I mean, He is everything! We do not truly forget about God but the devil is really good at distracting us. Out of sight, out of mind is a bit on the nose but it is exactly how we treat the words we speak to others and then fail to follow through. Our children see that, they hear it, they see our inaction and think it is the way they should act.

Walking the Walk

So how do we fix it? You solve inaction by action. I can share with you a story of how I personally turned my inaction and platitudes in to a chance to teach my children action and why it is important to walk the faith and not simply regurgitate things we learn in Bible school.

A few weeks ago we were picking up some things from Michael’s craft store. We left the parking lot and everyone got in, buckled and all that good stuff. When we turned the corner of a median in my rear view mirror my wife and I saw a pair of ladies walking and one fell as she stepped off the curb. She didn’t get up. I swung my car around and pulled in to a parking spot right there. My wife and I got out and the kids stayed in the car.

When we got near we could see the woman was an older lady who had been wearing sandals. She had tripped up and fallen. The reason she was not moving is because her left arm, which she was laying on, was in pain and very likely broken. We blocked traffic coming both ways while an ambulance was called. My wife is a nurse so I stepped back and let her do her thing (which she is awesome at btw) and checked on the kids.

They were in the car and only knew something had happened. They needed to be assured that everything was alright. We talked, I told them the woman’s name and what happened to her. Ella was worried for her and I told her I know, I was too but it was time for us to pray. My kids like praying to God. I try to teach them not to rush their prayer because God deserves our time, all of it. They are kids of course and prone to all things done quickly because two minutes is an hour in their world. They closed their eyes, we prayed for her quick healing and safe journey home.

It was a sweet moment where God happened even in a time when someone a few feet away was in pain. I never told the woman we prayed for her. I don’t think we need to tell people that all the time, we simply do it. If someone is on your mind, pray for them. If you hear about someone who is facing a trial, pray for them. You do not need to go back and tell them you did, it takes away from the focus of placing your love in God’s hands and shines a light on you instead.

The whole point of that story I think is that the solution to our problem of speaking it but not doing it, is to do it then and there. Hug them, show them real love and pray for them, pray with them. Right then. Not later at home when you’re going to struggle to remember. When you’ve barely survived putting the kids to bed or running ragged all day. Include your children if possible so they see what you are doing. They’ll learn and it will have the potential to make them some of the most prayerful people one day and that is not a bad thing at all.

The Son Can Do Nothing

Jesus tells us directly in John 5:19-23 how the parental relationship involving action vs. inaction works. He was speaking of Himself at the time of His words. He had healed on the Sabbath and the Jews were angry with Jesus. He told them that the son can do nothing on his own but that the son does as he witnesses the father doing. The Jews were riled up because Jesus claimed to be the son of God and His words placed Him on the same level as God.

Take a step back one day and observe your child(ren) and see how they act. Is it like your spouse? Is it like you? It can be eye opening and also a scary thing. They are going to pick up on your habits both good and bad. Their behavior and actions are on your level. That is why walking the walk is an important cornerstone of being a faithful father.

We repeat what we learn just as I emphasized in the last part of this series where we went over teaching our children the truth of Jesus. Now we must show them how to act like Jesus. Lip service may win over the heart of someone temporarily but loving God-filled action is a matter of the heart and not the mind. If we teach them to do all things from their heart and not their emotion we get rewarded with Godly children serving a world full of pain in ways that pleases the Son and the Father. Walking the walk and showing God’s love is a powerful thing that we cannot mistreat.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Scott Dunn

Teaching Truth – Faithful Father Series

Teaching Truth

In the introduction of this series I discussed just a piece of where this was headed. God has given man a defining set of characteristics that a father should not only be aware of but strive to be. A father who teaches is the most defining role we play in our children’s lives. It gives us the chance to really put our love for Christ in to practice and teach the next generation. As a father you need to be an educator. That education comes in many forms such as first words from your toddler, primary school and hopefully your child’s married life. We do that by teaching truth to our children and that truth starts with the greatest commandment.

It is not that God has developed an inability to speak but His stubborn children have employed selective hearing.

In Deuteronomy 6:4-5 God has given Israel their greatest commandment. It was to love God with all our heart and soul and might. It is a command to place God first above all things. It is also a reminder to Israel that the nation has often turned from that behavior and done it’s own thing. It’s why they ended up in Egypt after all, men forgot to continue teaching truth or they simply did not care.

This commandment is more than just a reminder, it is a way of life. Two verses define how we should live as Christians. Those verses are called the shema by Jewish practitioners. The word shema means ‘hear’ in Hebrew and makes complete sense. When we fail to abide by God’s greatest commandment we can no longer hear Him.

I’ll highlight my recent hearing issues so that I can give an idea of what I mean. I don’t ever want someone to come across this and think ‘that guy is on a high white horse,’ and I am not, this site allows me to share my struggles hoping men like me learn and grow just as I do. My kids have found out that as brother and sister they want to be as caustic as possible some days. It is a weary battle that has stressed Bethany and I to the point some days where I want to lay waste to their hopes of ever getting in to the swimming pool my brother and I constructed for them this summer. There have been times where I’ve told them unkindly to be quiet and jumped to conclusions on who should be reprimanded for some behavior or another.

In every one of those instances I chose to ignore how patient God is with us and emulate that with my children. That is what teaching about God is all about, unwrapping his nature and showing children why they should try to live like Jesus lived. The truth is that God is benevolent when we do not deserve it. That does not mean that you allow your children to run roughshod over you and become a doormat. It means teaching them better behavior through other activities that do not always result in a spanking. It means putting God first in your actions and letting them know that what they are doing or have done is not honoring Your wishes for them and by proxy their disobedience is displeasing God.

Life is not idyllic and the pretty picture above of the dad reading the Bible to his children is clearly a stock photo but what it represents matters. You have a father who is taking time out of his day, spending it meaningfully with his children and teaching them about God. He is teaching truth to his children. He is doing it, not the church. The church is mans partner is a partner to the endeavor to teach our children about God. They should not be the only source and if they are, we are failing as parents.

The world provides us a wonderful amount of distraction that we intentionally dive in to every day. Most of that attention is a diversion of things we ought to be doing. No child comes out of the womb wishing they had an absentee father. They grow up  believing that behavior is normal because that is their experience. Absenteeism is not restricted to a father who leaves. In fact I would like to submit that a father who stays but shows little interest in the rearing of his children causes more damage than the one who ghosted his family.

Teaching Truth

Proverbs 4: 1-4 calls for our children to be attentive listeners but it is something they learn through us. Their desire to listen to what we say is derived directly from how we address teaching them. Children need their mind flexed and not just fed information. You overcome that by asking them questions and engaging them. I wholeheartedly believe we do a disservice to them by reading them Bible ‘stories’ that take a dive headfirst in to prosperity. God doesn’t promise us protection from harm or even physical death. His promise is the reward of Heaven through Christ’s death in place of our own damnation.

Stay in the word with them every day. Memorize important verses. Pray. Be kind and understanding to your wife. Show them how much you love your wife so they have a good understanding of what husband and wife should be and not what society expects them to be. All of these activities are teaching. They watch, they emulate, they learn to repeat your behaviors.

The Gospel Coalition goes over missteps we all make in more detail. Check it out!

What we learn, we repeat. Are you happy with where you are in your children’s lives? Can you do better? I can, I believe every one of us father’s can. It starts with teaching the greatest commandment. Put God first by teaching truth to your kids.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Scott Dunn

Faithful Father Series: Introduction

Faithful Father

There are no more terrifying roles in a man’s life than those of husband and father. I mean let’s be honest, we can really make life difficult for the ones closest to us if we do not guard ourselves against the enemy. In fact, we can make their life suck by not being a faithful father and devoted husband. As a step-parent I am constantly guessing myself on how I am raising my children. It is not because I feel that I am a bad parent or that my heart is not in the right spot. It is a huge responsibility to raise children while dealing with my own issues of being a “step” parent.

I will be honest, I have no love for that term and it stems from overhearing people say things like, “Well that isn’t his dad anyway, he’s just a step-parent.” or any other derivative that attempts to sabotage the place a man has in his family. God put him there, not you. God is you father, and let’s be clear, He adopted us as Paul clearly tells us in Ephesians 1:5 “He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ.”

God has been good to me, I have not had to hear that towards me personally and pray I never do. I was raised calling my step-father “Dad” and not anything else. My kids call me “Scott” or “Scotty” and I hope one day that it gets replaced with “Dad” because I am that for them. I get it here and there when they are in bouts of excitement and it makes my heart swell.

Small rant aside, my heart is not to say that biological father’s are not to be given their due because they should. The purpose of this series is to empower Christian fathers to be faithful to the duties God has spoken of, for them to strive for. This series addresses the fact that it doesn’t matter if you came from a split home, an abusive father, a father you don’t even know, or a well-meaning Christian father who may have failed at God’s will for that position in his life; all of those circumstances shaped you today but they are not who you have to be. You can build your family legacy apart from that and be the faithful father God has called you to be.

It takes work, lots of hard, self-less, prayerful, self-sacrificing work but at the end the legacy you can leave is a family full of God and love.

Characteristics of a Faithful Father

So what does it take to be that man God calls you to be for your children? Over the next seven weeks we will discuss the characteristics of a faithful father highlighting each one. A preview of what God wants from a father figure is;

All of those things combined is a tall order but God wants his children to not only love him but to love others and to spread His message. That cannot be done without all of these things together. We like to use the phrase “Great Risk for Great Rewards” and I cannot think of a greater reward than being a faithful father who has raised God loving children who have a desire to seek Him and spread His work to the world.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Scott Dunn

I Wish You Were Dead; Powerful Words From a Child

Angry young girl

“I Wish You Were Dead.” – Ella

It is one of those things you never expect your children to say. In fact, it is something they should never say at all. The wishing of the death of someone can be a tragic statement simply because it is an explicit evacuation of love. Imagine for a moment if that is how God felt towards us? The difference between our ability to wish someone dead simply by words and God’s ability is that He could do it. Instead, God gave His son up for sacrifice in lieu of the complete devastation of His creation. That is where God is a perfect father that we can only aspire to be.

Yesterday we stopped at a little place for dinner called Roma Pizza. We grabbed a booth and Eli sat next to me and Ella sat next to Bethany. They take turns on who sits next to momma, no one is ever stoked about sitting next to me. Such is life.

We have to combat the typical behaviors that parents who take their children out to eat must deal with. There is climbing on the booth, peeking over the booth at other people, trying to crawl under the booth. Anything that is not sitting still basically. Eli has this habit of taking his shoes off despite our multiple commands to keep them on and once again he did this. I told him get his shoes off the floor and get them back on.

His cheerful “Okey dokey!” before disappearing under the table gets him out of a lot of trouble. A few moments after he went to put his shoes on, this awful howl of pain came from beneath the table as Ella had kicked him in the knee. Normally this would not be a huge deal and we’d just tell her to apologize and keep her hands (or in this case feet) off of him. The problem is that the knee she kicked him in had a large crusty scab on it from a fall he had taken a week or so ago. His skin split the scab and the wound weeped a bit of blood which threw him in to a new squall of hysterics.

I’m far from a perfect parent  and I’m not going to pretend to be. Ella received the ninja-eyed gaze of an angry daddy because she had already been in trouble before we had entered the restaurant for talking back in a disrespectful manner. So when she kicked his knee I assumed (yeah I know the age old adage) that she had done it to be spiteful. I could have been wrong there, she’s kicked him while he was under the table before, he’s kicked her too, like I said, not a perfect papa.

Regardless of that, she got upset and angry and then uttered words that really break my heart, “I wish you were dead.”

So you take a breath, let it roll off your back even though you may want to breakdown or become angry. Your knee-jerk reaction to that really can be an indicator for how you parent under duress. She put her head down and Bethany rubbed her back. I did not say a word because I know those things were said in anger and she may have felt like she meant them but really she did not. It is an unresolved issue that we will discuss tonight when I get home but I want to use that as a tool to teach her.

I’ve told her before that hate is a very strong emotion and one that was a part of the reasons Jesus was killed. He was challenging the status quo and basically telling the Pharisees, “Guys, you got this all wrong.”

The Pharisees responded with anger, fear and hate. They wished Jesus was dead. The Son of God dead because their pretensions of superior sanctification was more important to them than the word of God. It’s dangerous to pretend that we do not fail or that our skills as parents are so amazing we never have problems at home. It’s dangerous to think we are perfect leaders as men. It’s the same danger the Pharisees refused to see when God walked among them in flesh.

How short is a child’s anger? A minute can pass and they forget what angered them. When it was bedtime Ella hugged me tighter than I think she ever has. That speaks volumes more than her sharp-tongued words ever could. It’s also an example of what Jesus gave us that we so sorely forget, forgiveness. Ella and I will talk about what happened, we will talk about God, we will talk about Jesus and we will talk about His gift.

My wish is that I would rather her understand that gift and how to use it and how to emulate it more than my pains of heartbreak over vapid words said in a moment of difficulty.

Wish Daddy's Girl

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Scott Dunn

Praying In Public Unashamedly | Public Prayer

Praying In Public

Why do we not see more praying in public? I don’t mean when we are in the house of the Lord or in the presence of faithful family and friends. I see families out for dinner and lunch all the time and I never see them praying. This is something that crossed my mind when my family and I were out at Cracker Barrel a few days ago. I am not saying we need to stand on a chair and do the whole “Y’all bow so we can go before the Lord y’hear?” type of thing but a simple bowing of heads, hands held with family or clasped together in absolute submission before God.

I am in no way tooting my own horn for good parenting but instead I want to lift up the joy that my children happily say grace in public. While their prayer may be formulaic it still allows them to express their thanks to God and they do so unashamedly. They do not whisper it either, they sing it from the top of their lungs sometimes and I have to resist the urge to laugh a bit because it makes my heart swell with so much joy.

Praying in Public is Biblical

Our savior Jesus prayed in public often (Mark 8:6-7) and we can safely assume that whenever He gave parables there were prayers. Ezra prayed in public (Ezra 10:1) when he could no longer bear the knowledge that Israel had forsaken the worship of God. Solomon prayed before the entire nation of Israel in a plea not only for himself but for his people (1 Kings 8:22-23).

You will never make saints through force, saints are made from conviction and through salvation.

There are plenty of examples in the Bible where praying in public was acceptable, done and enjoyed. That isn’t what we see anymore, in America anyway.

Praying in Public is Controversial

Praying in public is also highly controversial and we see that in the Bible. Daniel an administrator in King Darius’ kingdom was tossed in to the den of lions because he prayed in public when Darius’ was convinced by jealous individuals that praying to their Gods was a problem. Daniel ignored the law, prayed publicly and was punished (Daniel 6:1-16). His desire to please God was more important than what other people thought. Courageous.

We see that in modern times as well. Christians are beaten, drowned and slain for praying in public. Muslims are beaten, drowned and slain in public for praying. I make a point to mention another faith because persecution happens in all religions and we should never be so short-sighted to think we are the only victims. I am absolutely certain of where I will be when I die and I have a genuine concern for the souls of others but violence against someone because their faith is different or non-existent does not show Christ.

Prayer in School

I see people complain that prayer was taken out of schools and get so upset about that. Why are we so concerned about forcing children who may not be Christian to pray? We should be teaching our children to pray unashamedly and to respect the will of others. There is a time for Evangelism but forcing children at a public school to be stuffed in to a box that they do not understand is wrong. You will never make saints through force, saints are made from conviction and through salvation. Our negligence to encourage our children to pray so bravely is what has led to the cry that law has ‘taken’ God out of schools. It hasn’t, He is everywhere we should acknowledge that by encouraging our kids to pray instead of point fingers.

Prayer From the Heart

Pointing out the issues and triumphs of prayer in public leads me to my point really. We should pray in public regardless of the consequence. Whether it is out of practice over meals or because you’ve got that weight pressing down that calls for you to kneel, do it. It’s not illegal and God loves hearing from His children. Jesus warned us about praying in public when our intentions are not focused on the purpose of praying to God but instead we do so to try and raise our status with others (Matthew 6:5-6). It is sinful plain and simple. Anytime you place your wants, desires and needs above the sovereignty of God you are trying to undermine Him.

Pray from your heart men, get your family praying from theirs. Show them that praying publicly is not only okay but encouraged. How? By doing it. Just hold fast to your faith and the desire to please Him. When you let go of that need to improve your stature among other men you gain the courage of God’s love.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Scott Dunn

The Big I Do

I Do

I’ll preface this by saying that I am no authority on the role that I am about to take, but this is about my hopes, my dreams, my prayers to be what I discuss. After October 15th at 3:00 PM (I just checked the time of the wedding. No seriously, I did.) I will not be just Scott; I will be Scott, the husband. Legally it’s a small change with profound repercussions. I do not wish to discuss what the law says I am because that is simple and far easier than explaining what God commands of that position. It is quite terrifying frankly.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Scott Dunn

A Family Loves One Another

Family Loves

You are also members of His household. – Ephesians 2:19

What is home to you? Maybe it is whatever building all your stuff is in. Maybe it’s your place to get away from the world. It could be filled with the laughter of children and sometimes it is filled with harsh words better left unsaid but slip out when we fail to remember what takes prominence in our lives. It’s more ‘who’ than ‘what’ but the ‘who’ gives us an idea of ‘what’ should matter. Christ should take prominence in our lives, not just publicly but at home too. Home is where our family is and family loves us unconditionally.

The people we love the most, the ones we keep the closest have seen the very best of us. They’ve also seen the very worst. Family protects us against the world. My family has had and likely will have some terrible arguments and we will say terrible things in the passion of the moment. Yet all of that will disappear if someone is hurt or is spoken to harshly and we do not like it. It is that ‘I can mess with my family but you can not mentality’ and it’s been part of my family since I can remember.

Who else has seen you that way? Well, God has. He knows you like none other. He sees what even your family doesn’t. He sees both good and bad things. His love knows no boundaries. We are all part of God’s household and that is home for the soul. That is one of a multitude of reasons we call fellow Christians brother and sister. They are spiritually bound to us because we are all children of God. They will help protect us against the attacks of the enemy.

Your Spiritual Family Loves You!

And that is why you should love them back. Intercede for them, support them and love them unconditionally. Someone will stray, maybe it will be you or maybe it will be me. God’s the one that knows that and how we react to that is what sets the bar for how much we value our spiritual brethren. If they stray love on them. Walk them back to God and if it is a crawl back to God then get on your hands and knees and do that with them. Jesus loved us so much He came here and gave up everything to live as man did and yet He loved on people like so few men did or would. Our spiritual family loves us as Christ loved, pay it forward because the healing of one family member through the power of Jesus makes it all worth it. We are members of God’s household and that makes us a family that needs to love everyone and not just someone in good times.

Be There For One Another

Help One Another

Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, “Be strong!” – Isaiah 41:6

A few weeks ago my pastor was speaking about church, about diversity in the church when he was addressing the issues we face today in the world. Mostly in America because that is where we live but abroad also. It’s painful to think that you must be of a certain demographic to worship somewhere. We were called to love one another. To be there for one another not because it is nice, not because we feel bad but because it is what Christ did. Even in times when He could have justly torn someone down such as Peters’ denial or Judas’ betrayal.

Christ understood hard times like no man has before or will again. Yet He still found strength to comfort others. He looked outside of His own interests and in to what was best for all of us (Philippians 2:1-7).  I don’t think any church has reached that. Even my own. We want it, I pray we do. We are people though and that means we often become judgmental or whispering about things. Sometimes that humanity makes us choose not to be there for one another when we should.

Tragedies have a way of uniting people in ways they never considered possible, it’s in those times we realize how true 1 Corinthians 12:26 is because we suffer with others even if the tragedy is afar. Yet we forget to rejoice with those same people. When we get tired or are hidden from public view our real feelings tend to surface. Sometimes they are ugly, I’m guilty of it and I ask God to give me a change of heart to always be encouraging.

That does not mean we cannot reprimand those we love or with. In fact we should (Ephesians 5:11) because we are looking out for them. It’s something that must be done with care. We are stewards of God’s grace and with that comes the responsibility to hold ourselves and others accountable without condemning them and to reprimand them when they stray without ostracizing them.

When we walk a mile in someone else’s shoes we get a better picture of why we should be there for one another. We experience their experience. Putting ourselves in that mindset mentally is great as long as we use it to prepare ourselves to actually serve them if we can. When I get home I want my family because that is what soothes me from work. I have that shoulder to lean on. Sometimes that is all someone needs. If we can love others and learn to see things from their perspective that is when we are being there for one another. You don’t have to go to a foreign country to be a missionary, do it in your own back yard. Make a step towards creating diversity in your life and invite those people to where you worship. That is how we put the diversity back in the church. It’s simple, effective and it glorifies Christ.

Love Each Other

Love One Another Cross

This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – Philippians 1:9

Paul’s Epistle to the church in Philippi has some long-term foundation starting information to it even though it is only 4 chapters. He sets forth the beginning of Christology which one day I pray God gives em the knowledge to share but what I want to focus on is his reiteration of what Christ commands us. The greatest commandment was found in Matthew 22:37-39, love the Lord our God and then the second was to love others as we would ourselves. Jesus tells us this time and again because His ministry is founded on the love God has for Him and by proxy for us.

Whole Lotta’ Love

This one aspect does so many things for us both in the here and now and in our standing with Christ in Heaven. Jesus let’s us know that to be a disciple we must express out affections to one another just as he expressed His for us (John 13:34-35). It is by this countenance we are proclaiming our discipleship for Him. If we acted in hate what message does that convey? Especially to the broken and fragile of soul. Someone could be a hairs breadth from dropping to their knees and proclaiming Jesus as his redeemer and Lord but the hate they see from those claiming to be His people could instead make them run. I tend to not call out people that I believe are wrong in their faith because I have no authority to pass judgment because I am not without sin myself but groups like Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) certainly do and on the daily deny the very commandment that the son of God had given.

Jesus loved us so much that He willingly put Himself between God’s wrath and us. He laid down his life and fulfilled the law that God set forth (Romans 12:8). If the law is broken a debt must be paid to fulfill it and God did so with His son, with Himself. We are commanded to love like Christ died (John 15:12-13) and that includes sacrificing yourself for others. It doesn’t say go out and be a super hero but it does say we should be willing to die for others. I can think of no lesser example than a man putting himself between another person to protect his family and loved ones.  It shouldn’t even be a thought of “Should I?” because we will without consideration of our continual existence in this life.

A Trinity of Affection

Last night at Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory we went over the deity of Christ. The topic was about how Jesus is God and how He showed it through his words, works, witness and the worship man lauded upon Him. A question came up about the prayer Christ gives for the apostles that they be one as Jesus is one with God (John 17:11) . It was good food for thought because at the center of the trinity is God and each separate part as affection for man. Jesus has proclaimed His love for us by his death. The Holy Spirit shows affection for us by filling us with the light of salvation, it’s that warm heart-busting feeling you get when you are on fire for the Lord and God the Father showed His affection for man by giving us Jesus as the sacrifice for His wrath.

Final Thoughts

What that all means to me is what Jesus told us. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

I am no scholar but in as plain as terms I can express Jesus was praying that the Apostles and ultimately all Christians be united as one person (body) just as the trinity is one. We do not commune directly with God because He cannot look upon our Sin. We commune with Jesus directly because He filters our sin so that God can enjoy our presence as much as we enjoy His. That is how it works until we die or until the fulfillment of Revelation occurs.

We’ve failed in that haven’t we? Being united. Look at some of the turf wars churches have had. The hate that false teachers spread.

If you follow the command that Christ has given your love will grow beyond what you thought possible. You’ll love everyone and forgive them. You’ll bear with them and support them. You will find that if the trinity is present in your life that love will be a force that you can use to fight off so many things. You will seek fellowship so that you can express that love. Our salvation rests on the fact that God loves us enough to give His son who loves us enough to lay down his life so that the Holy Spirit can imbue that love in us. Treat everyone like Christ treated people. Don’t treat people like they treated the Son.

Our Conflicting Nature

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26

This is one of my favorite parts of scripture because it sets apart man from beast. The way that God created man is different than how he created everything else. In Genesis 1:11-25 while God is creating the flora and fauna, the birds and fish, and all of the land creatures He is doing so with His will and creating them in “their likeness” which is important. God created man and woman differently as we can see immediately in our reference verse. Man was created in God’s image, in His likeness, in His nature. That doesn’t mean we are god’s or have the power that God wields, it is about character.

Man’s creation was not simply the will of God. When He created man He touched the dust that was the Earth and formed man with His hands and then He did something that was not done with any other creation. He breathed life in to man. God gave a portion of Himself, his nature, for our life (Genesis 2:7). Man’s creation was serious and done with great care and solemnity. Man was created to intentionally be the ruler over all that God had created on Earth. God imbued in us His character. We were created pure because God tells us He cannot commune with sinful beings (Habakkuk 1:13) but before the Fall man communed with God. We were, for a time, everything that God expected of us. Even though He was aware of what we would do.

Our Nature

It is any parents dream, at least in my thoughts, that their children be wise, good and as sinless as possible. God did not even give us knowledge of sin at our creation. That knowledge was given to us through the Fall when man ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The one thing we could not touch or have, one fruit. Yet we could not stop ourselves. Adam stood by while Eve was deceived and then he partook willingly of the fruit. We certainly have a curious and independent nature.

Adam and Eve then did just like my kids do when I ask them that terrible question, “Who did it?” Adam blamed Eve who in turn blamed the serpent. From this one choice, Man did all the things we try to do when we are sinning. They hid from God like we think we can hide our sin. They blamed someone else for their iniquity when they realize that God would find them wherever they go.

God who is always just, did exactly that. He punished the serpent and cursed it, He punished Eve and cursed her and finally He punished Adam and cursed him. I cannot tell you how many times my own father did this when something happened and no one would fess up. In fact, “I don’t know” was a troublesome person in my home as a child. Our nature since the Fall seeks sin because it is gratuitous and immediately rewarding just as eating the fruit was to Adam and Eve.

Final Thoughts

God’s intention was for man to commune with Him always but as a Father we must allow our children to make their own choices. Even if we know they are sinning they must make the choice not to. What is important is that as a parent we are there to teach them the ways of the Lord and not the ways of the world. We are all born in to sin but that doesn’t mean we are hopeless. Jesus gave us a clear path to God so we must guide our kids to make the right choices. We hope that their knowledge and love of God will dictate how they live their life. What we put in to their education of God will reflect what they get out of it. Praying every day and explaining why something they have done is a sin and why God does not love sin. These things reinforce the Christ-like embodiment we strive for. Our nature is to seek God because that is what we were created for but because of our desire to do our own thing, we fall.  We get up and learn that God was right. He welcomes us back and loves us. We have a conflicting nature in that we do want to pursue God but we stumble often. He will forgive us of that if we accept the Gospel and then take meaningful steps towards living a God-centered life.

Scroll to top