How good is the good news to your kids? This is a question intentional parents do well to ask.
When I helped my daughter move into her apartment in PA four years ago, she wanted a new bed. IKEA (2 hours away) had the perfect bed at an incredibly low price. So, I drove to IKEA, bought it, brought it to her apartment, and with the help of my son who came with me, we spent two more hours putting it together only to discover that there was a very important piece missing. I immediately called IKEA and was told, “Sorry. That was a piece you should have picked up. We can’t send it to you. You have to come back to the store.” Since the store was closing in 30 minutes, we had to spend the night (something we were not planning to do) and went the next morning. After a bad night of toss and turn on the floor, we drove to IKEA and back with the missing piece. What seemed like a great deal at the beginning ended up being not so great.
The Most Expensive Cheap Flight
Perhaps you’ve been hoodwinked by one of those cheap airlines who advertise ridiculously low airfares, like $29 from Virginia to Florida. But you soon learn that fare requires you to take a 5 am flight and pay $60 for your carry-on bag. You also have to board last (which raises the likelihood that there’s no overhead space for your bag and worse that you will be in a middle seat in the back of the plane between two people, one with bad flatulence, and the other with a raging cold. (For an extra $150 you could have an aisle seat near the front of the plane.) Once onboard the bottle of water costs $ 7 (pretzels cost $ 4). That’s a lot of inconvenience, and added cost to get that cheap $ 29 flight! What looked awesome ended up being a hassle.
We all have stories like these where we’re given what seems on the surface to be good news that ends up not being all that good after all.
God’s Good News IS Good News
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “The good news!” But I wonder if our children see it as the truly good news it really is? “The good news” often talked about does not wash with the struggles we and our kids have trying to live the Christian life.
For years, I was in doubt over whether I was really a Christian because I knew my life did not measure up to the perfect appearance and rhetoric of church and school leaders.
Yea, I’m going to heaven when I die but God sure is disappointed with how I’m living my life right now. He’ll never bless me. Will I ever change and experience “the joy” of the Christian life? Maybe I’m really not a Christian?
More Than What We’ve Probably Heard
We and our children need the truly good news found in Romans 6 that tells us that we as Christians are indeed already different. If you have faith in Jesus, a change has definitely already occurred. Here are some phrases from Romans 6:
“How can we who died…”
“Our old self was crucified with him… ”
“So, you must consider yourselves dead to sin to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
“…you are not under law but under grace.”
“…you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness… ”
“For when you were slaves of sin… “
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God…”
A change has occurred that means everything to how we live for Jesus each day.
Truly Good News is That We Are Already New; Fundamental (Although Not Complete) Change Has Already Happened
The good news is that there has already been a clear change in us who have faith in Jesus Christ. A break has been made from the past. We are no longer God’s enemies. We are his adopted children and he delights in us.
For sure, we are not perfect now nor will we be until we reach heaven. We still battle sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. But those powerful sinful thoughts, words, and deeds do not have the power to force us to do them. They do not define us. They are not who we really are.
Who we are in Jesus defines us and provides the power to continue changing. We are becoming in our thoughts, words and deeds, who we already are—in Christ. God deals with us on this basis. THIS is great news that does not disappoint.
Upgrade to First Class
This is like arriving at the airport and being told that you were upgraded to first class; you board first, the flight attendant places your carryon in the bin directly over your seat, the drinks are free, and a nice juicy steak (again, free) awaits you when you have reached a comfortable cruising altitude.
We must battle the flesh but we do so from a completely different position: grace. This is good news. Our failures do not result in a downgrade to the middle seat in coach. And, what’s more, his grace frees us to confess and repent and keep walking faithfully.
Is the Good News, Good News to Us Parents?
Is this the gospel we are mesmerized by as parents? Is this the gospel we are regularly presenting to our children, like when we read the Bible together as a family? God’s love, grace, and mercy for his people is replete from Genesis to Revelation. It is impossible to miss, but we often do because we are distracted with things like seeing what we should do but struggle to do or don’t do at all that have us in an identity crisis.
Every time we read the Bible with our children, we have the opportunity to remind them of the good news that really is good because it gives us joy and power NOW because of what God has already done. It doesn’t wait for us to do. It empowers us through the Holy Spirit to change our lives to be more like Jesus. Now THAT is good news that endures! Do our children know it as such?
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