John begins his gospel with two striking descriptions of Jesus. John says Jesus is the word and then he says Jesus is the light of men. This interwoven imagery describing Christ as Word and Light permeates the Bible. This imagery of Word and Light is unique to the Bible. Moses says over and over to the Israelites that the Word of God is life itself. The psalms frequently refer to the Word as light ("Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path," Psalm 119:105). In Psalm 19:8, the Holy Spirit was not just employing nice sounding metaphors: "The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes." He was anticipating the person of Jesus Christ. Yes, the law of God itself is precious, but remember that the Holy Spirit had already chosen the words of John when he had David pen the words in Psalm 19. The wonder of this Psalm would be fully known only through Jesus Christ, the Word and the Light. All the Scriptures speak of Christ.
This same dependence upon Jesus through his Word must characterize you as a parent. Anyone can communicate a set of principles and moral values, but only a Christian parent can bring the true power of Scripture to bear in daily conversations. And his commands are not burdensome; the daily repetition of biblical truth should not be a boring, grating irritation to our children. Like a sunny spring day that renews your spirit—only much more so—the commands of God bring joy to your heart and light to your eyes.
In the last two posts, I have asked you to think carefully about what the word of God means to you. Considering Psalm 19:8 and John 1 together, we see the uniqueness of the Bible. These words not only speak about God, but the words bring the life of God to his children. That is why Hebrews 4:12 says the word of God is living and active.
Parenting is a draining, demanding responsibility. If you use Scripture for the purpose of controlling your children’s behavior, you will miss the point. Scripture used in this way will only leave you feeling more drained. Confrontation with Scripture is a confrontation with God. So, even in discipline, the joy and light of the Bible should dominate your thoughts and attitudes. You are bringing the person of Jesus Christ into the lives of your children. As it brought joy to shepherds to bring their sheep back to the flocks, it should be a joy to you to call your children to Christ as you give them his word. Here is an example of what I mean.
Joshua, you know the Bible says in Philippians 2 that you must not complain about doing what Mommy asks you to do. Now, stop your complaining and get to work. Remember, children should obey their parents. I don’t want to hear any more complaining. Is that clear?
Now, has this mother used the Bible to instruct her son? Yes and no. She has used things taught in the Bible, but she has used these truths in the rote fashion that Isaiah 29:13 warns against. She is right to address Joshua’s complaining spirit. But her goal should be to see the life changing truths of Scripture bring joy to Joshua. By obeying God, Joshua can know the joy of doing what Jesus did, the joy of bringing honor to his heavenly Father. By obeying his mom from his heart, he is doing something of great significance. He has the opportunity to participate in the kingdom business of Jesus Christ. You see, this is about much more than having Joshua doing his work in a way that is annoying his mother. That is what Philippians 2:14-16 is really teaching.
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, ….
There is much more to this passage than just stopping grumbling. The apostle Paul says that by having an eager spirit of obedience, rather than a complaining, questioning spirit, you can shine as light in a dark, perverse world. Wow! In contrast, Joshua’s mom was just trying to stop an unpleasant attitude. So she responded with negative direction. Yes, she referenced Scripture. But she was not embracing its power, which brings light to the eyes and joy to the heart. Parents, you have a wonderful calling – to bring the Word of life to your children.
We will talk more about this in upcoming posts. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts.