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January 31, 2019

GOD FIRST: When God is at the Center

“For the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; He will guide them to springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 (HCSB)

We usually experience our greatest joys and deepest wounds within our family. Putting God first in our lives simplifies those relationships and can turn bitter waters into springs of living waters!  It’s a matter of choice.  We’ve looked at the first two simple choices to make that can declutter our relationships and change dysfunctional family dynamics:

  • Choose to celebrate the season you’re in.
  • Choose to tune into their world.

The Bible offers two more insights that promise to simplify our relationships with our spouse and kids and deepen our connections.

Choose to be consistent with boundaries.

Inconsistent parents produce insecure children.  You only need to be a parent to know that kids will push against the boundaries you set.  Parents that are too concerned with being friends instead of parents will cave.  Setting boundaries should be done with grace and truth.  Grace is about being real, admitting your own mistakes, and being willing to ask forgiveness when you’re wrong.  Truth establishes absolutes and consequences to actions that would be harmful.  Jesus was described by John as one full of grace and truth.  Those characteristics attracted people to Him!  It made them feel secure in the Father’s love. 

When we choose to be consistent with boundaries, we are choosing to love our kids, not just be liked by them.  The Bible challenges us to speak the truth in love. Sometimes, that is painful for a parent or a spouse to do.  If we will be willing to risk the pain, it will pay off by deepening our connection with one another. 

The best way to reinforce boundaries is by modeling them in your own life.  Values are more caught than taught.  In Ephesians 6:4, the Bible says,

“Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.”

In other words, don’t frustrate your kids by being unpleasable or inconsistent.  Model for them the kind of life you want them to lead.  Leading them in the way of the Master will challenge you to stay connected to Christ. That leads me to a final choice to make to simplify our homes:

Choose to put God at the center of your family.

If you’ll take a moment to just think about it, your family already has something at the center of it – career? Sports? Leisure? School? What is at the center of your family?  A relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important gift you can give your kids.  It will outlive you.  Choose to put God at the center of your family. We need to be connected to Christ and to a church family to make that happen.  In Joshua 24:15, Joshua and his family stood before their nation and made this declaration and challenge:

“Choose today whom you will serve … But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”

Have you made that choice?  The kind of parents you had is not as important as the kind of parents your kids have right now.  You have a chance today to make a choice.  Put God at the center of your family. 

Prayer:

God, Thank You that You are full of grace and truth!  Please give me Your wisdom to be consistent with boundaries in my life and relationships.  Help me to constantly choose to place You at the center of my family.