I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. ESV 3 John 1:4
Throughout their lives, we celebrate birthdays, graduations, sports achievements and music recitals. We celebrate first steps, first days of school, first sleepover. We celebrate good report cards, finishing chores, and making the team. These are all good things to celebrate and make part of the parenting experience. However, perhaps the greatest thing we should celebrate, the thing that should bring us the most joy, is the knowledge our children are walking in the truth. Do you celebrate these things?
My three oldest are just starting their attempts at daily time in God’s Word. They are also beginning to pray themselves when scared rather than first coming to me for prayer. These baby steps indicate God’s Spirit is drawing them into His truth. As much as I celebrate their ongoing academic, sports, and social development, I can’t help but be most thrilled that God appears to be grabbing their hearts. Since their birth, this has been my continual prayer. Not for success or health or popularity, or even to “turn out well” (whatever that means). Rather, each night, I beg God to grab their hearts, to keep them in His way, to guide them into His truth. As such, I’m slowly learning to resonate with John and acknowledge I truly have no other joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth. Sometimes this means they come to me convicted of sin. Other times it means they take new steps toward the Lord Jesus. Regardless, walking in the truth is the best measure of success in our children.
If you have young children, I encourage you to consider this measure of parenting. Ask yourself where you get your joy. Are you obsessed with your child’s grades? His social skills? Her athletic performance? Even worse, are you obsessed with their morality (that they stay off drugs, away from sex, and away from the bad crowd). Remember, the law only exposes our sin. The goal is not to raise “good kids” but rather to take our bad kids and introduce them to the truth that’s found in Jesus. Only He can change their hearts, convict them when they sin, and lead them into His truth and righteousness. Make that your prayer and your measure of success–then rejoice!