I believe that parenting is one of the greatest opportunities in this life to be like Jesus. Good parenting requires a level of sacrifice that is impossible without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
I have found that in my own life, in the hard reality of the day to day, it can be easy to lose sight of the value of the sacrifice and the truth that our sacrifice is a form of worship. And so, my hope is to encourage a paradigm shift—that rather than being a hardship, we are able to embrace parenting as a privilege and recognize that it provides constant opportunities to be like Jesus and to offer worship, like incense, to the Father.
John 15:13 (ESV) tells us that “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
I think too often we can hear this verse and connect it to Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross, without also remembering that there is another way to lay down our lives. This second way, Jesus also modeled for us; it is a life laid down in small, seemingly insignificant ways. It is a life that serves, a life that seeks to care for and provide for the needs of others above ourselves. And to be honest, most of us will not have the opportunity to actually die for someone, but we do have the opportunity every day to lay down our lives for those around us, in particular, our children.
Romans 12:1 (ESV) says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
This passage connects sacrifice to worship. I love this, because it reminds us that the very act of laying down our lives releases worship unto the Lord. So, our day-to-day lives can be a constant aroma rising before the throne of God. What an incredible honor and privilege that is.
This is affirmed in Ephesians 5:2 (ESV): “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Here are a few places in my parenting where I am finding a paradigm shift is so very important:
And finally, let us remember that everything we do for our children is done as unto the Lord.
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40 ESV)