|photo credit: Tampa Band Photos via photopin cc|
Recently, rap mogul Jay Z expressed his own trepidation at becoming a father having never been exposed to what a father should be. But he’s not alone, every parent has fears.
At the root of most of those fears is inadequacy or simply not doing it right. That is going to look different in different contexts.
My experiences certainly aren’t Jay Z, so my fears do not look like his, but they are no less haunting and emotional. My fear has kept me awake at night and forced me to my knees in tears. What is my greatest fear as a parent?
I am terrified of raising good little Pharisees. What makes me even more scared? That is precisely my greatest temptation as a parent. I’m terrified of what I’m most tempted to do.
Am I the only one that finds it so easy to focus on the external? I want to see good behavior from my children. For them to obey their parents. Have good manners. Read their Bible. Say their prayers. Do all the things that make them look good to outsiders.
Does anyone else feel a twinge of pride when their child does something nice in public and a stranger or someone makes a comment praising your child and by extension you and your parenting? It can become like a drug to be craved.
We want good behavior because we want a good reputation and we want people to think we have it all figured out. It feels good to be the parent of the kid who opens the door for someone else or has all the right answers in Sunday School.
But in the back of your mind … that fear creeps and gnaws. Those things are all well and good, but they are external actions, not necessarily fueled by inward change.
What if they grow up and their entire Christian walk is one of going through the motions? Am I modeling a vibrant, passionate love of Jesus or am I giving them a dull, selfish version more suited in pious, well-to-do robes of a Pharisee than the sandals of serving Savior.
What serves as the corrective to both the fear and the temptation? The gospel.
The gospel reminds me that Christ is more powerful than my failings. That even goes for those as a parent. He is able to take my stumbling steps and use them to develop the children which He has entrusted to my wife and I.
The gospel can overcome my parenting mistakes, just as it overcame all my other sins and death itself.
I do not have to fear my children turning into Pharisees because I can trust that God desires so much more for them. I only serve as a steward of them for the One who loves them even more than I do.
I do not have to be tempted by a desire to see them become good because I know that only One is truly good. There is no room for pride when I realize every thing good in them is from God and everything good in me, including anything I’ve done right as a parent, is from Him as well.
As I parent, this is my verse (Colossians 1:29)
I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.
I work hard to be the parent God created me to be to raise my children to be the men and woman God created them to be, but I work knowing that the strength comes from Him and the results are His responsibility as well.
My greatest fear and temptation as a parent is still no match for the power of the gospel.