To give my daughter some respite, her boys spent the night with us. I awoke about 2 am with my grandson standing near our bed. When I asked him what he needed he said “I can’t sleep.” He had developed this habit the last several nights. It had come from an unhealthy root that needed to be addressed—but not at that time of the night! His dad had suddenly died 4 years ago leaving him feeling unsecure. I supported him as I would my son and eventually ended up taking him back to where he was sleeping with his younger brother and fell asleep there with them.
I sensed I needed to try to imprint his young mind with a picture of how good and big God is compared to his unconscious fears that plagued him at night. But how?? My ability with words is not dynamic enough to make that kind of an imprint.
Two mornings later in my time with God He brought to my mind a verse I had read many times, studied and no doubt preached on in my past. However, for whatever reason I never connected the dots in this verse with those like that of my 10-year-old grandson. In the previous verses Jesus was speaking to the multitude and his disciples telling them not to do what the hypocritical, religious leaders were telling them to do but not doing themselves! Imagine teaching people in your community not to do what the pastors in the other churches were telling them to do! That would go over like a lead balloon. No wonder these dudes hated Jesus!!
Speaking of them Jesus said Matthew 23:9 (NLT) And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. The context of what He was teaching was to not compare the religious leaders or anyone to God—not even their fathers! Wow! Most all of our earthly fathers have influenced the picture we have painted in our minds of what God is like. My grandson had inadvertently taken one sad experience with his earthly father and painted it into the picture in his mind of God. We can fault him but that was all he knew to do!!! And that is all those we lead know to do unless we can clearly teach them otherwise.
I am very sobered when I read James 3:1 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. We are the only example of God they see and hear—unless we clearly and carefully teach them to develop a habit of meditating on the Word and hearing His whispers themselves. I realize my son-in-law wasn’t able to teach his 6-year-old son to do that so that is left for me to teach him. I must step to the plate and with the Holy Spirit’s help say as Paul wrote, 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. That means I must allow him see my victories along with my failures and how to say from my heart to God and man, “I’m very sorry!”. How else can they learn to see my humanity along with my anointing and how to repent when my humanity is less than righteous? Just a couple days ago I had to say to this grandson I was very sorry from my heart. How have you been doing with the many eyes that are watching and following you? With God’s help in 2018 we will become more like our Lord and others will follow our example of humbly following Him.